Plants that Thrive in Heat

by Ken Lain, the mountain gardener

Yes, cactus and succulents do beat the heat, and very welcome are the many new varieties of these garden work horses.  But there are many heat-tolerant plants that don’t look like they’ve been cultivated in a desert!  That’s the case for this list of mountain plants that thrive as well as cacti in blistering heat and low-water situations.

Planting these beauties in your garden will make your gardening tasks less demanding and as a result your summer will be much more enjoyable.  These plants love the heat so much that they prefer a summer planting; so now is a good time to dress up a dull garden.

Beat the Heat with These Ornamental Plants




Coral bells aka Heuchera
Yarrow aka Achillea
Red Hot Poker aka I
Dusty Miller aka Senecio ceneraria
Coneflower aka Echinacea
Bearded Iris
Rosemary herbal
Pincushion aka Leucospermum
Butterfly bush aka Buddleia
Cotoneaster both tall and ground cover varietiesApache Plume aka FallugiaAgaveYucca


Autumn Sage aka Salvia

Crape Myrtle aka Lagerstroemia

Rose of Sharon aka Hibiscus

Silver Berry aka Elaeagnus

Junipers aka Juniperus

Red bark Manzanita aka Arctostaphylos







Redbud tree aka Cercis occidentalis

Desert Willow  aka Chilopsis

Raywood Ash  aka Fraxinus

Purple Robe Locust aka Robinia

Chitalpa aka Russian orchid tree

Prescott Courthouse Elm aka Princeton Elm


Purple Fountain Grass aka Pennisetum
Feather Grass aka Stipa
Side Oats aka Chasmanthium
Reed grass aka Calamagrostis
Blue fescue aka Festuca
Silver grass aka Miscanthus

Tips for planting and establishing a heat-loving garden:

Ensure your plants perform their very best by choosing a hot location and adding plenty of Watters’ Premium Mulch to the garden soil to increase the drainage essential to these heat lovers.

Water as needed while your new plants are establishing – but don’t overwater. Plants that are establishing with less frequent but deeper irrigation develop stronger root systems more capable of finding water when the supply is low.

Top dress with a 2-3″ layer of additional mulch to keep plant roots cool, to shade the ground from sunburn, to prevent weeds, and to retain moisture longer.  Watters’ Premium Mulch is a sure game changer for your summer plants.

Stop by and let us help you get started. We can help you to handpick from our favorite heat-lovers and to determine the perfect spot to plant them in your landscape. Also, the next time you are in Watters we welcome you asking for our  Free Planting and Water Guides.


July 8 Gardening Class – 9:30 to 10:30 am – ‘Containers that Bloom like Crazy!’ After the first 15 minutes of this class, you’ll have learned what it takes to design great container gardens that thrive in the afternoon heat. Learn about proper watering, the best fertilizers, companion plants, and more. After this class everyone is going to comment on your eye-catching containers.

Entire Summer Class series here.


Until next week, I’ll be helping gardeners with heat loving plants here at Watters Garden Center.

Ken Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his web site at or .