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Plants for Dry Banks 

Plants for dry areas and plants for dry banks, in the garden will become increasingly popular once the cost of water rises higher.

A meter is required if a sprinkler is used in most areas. Dry areas and dry banks can be colourful and maintenance free -with the right choice of plants!


Once established, there is no reason why your bank should not look like any other part of your garden - many flowers atop lush foliage. But, it does need the correct choice of plants

I have turned many 'problem' banks into 'waterfalls' of colourful plants - or at least provided a carpet that prevents erosion and is no longer an eyesore.

There is no plant that will prevent soil erosion in this situation, better then grass. We talk not of lawns here, but of the ornamental grasses which are suited to this problem 

Planting on dry banks need not be a problem.  There are many plants that can grow in dry situations once they get established. They will need added attention; i.e. watering for maybe a year or so. You could also install a drip/seep line to help in the short term. Plants which will be happy include Lavenders, the low growing Cotoneasters or Hypericum calycinum ( if you want a single plant regime.) Rosemary and the herb Salvias (sages) will also thrive. Some taller plants will include the Berberis family. If the bank is sunny, then try varieties of Cistus (rock rose).

Many Summer Bedding Plants such as Petunias thrive in dry areas.

There are also many alpine or rockery plants which will suit - particularly the sedum group. Erigeron is also a good plant for this situation. Dianthus (Pinks) will do well, as will the colourful Osteospermum and many of the campanulas. Senecio (Brachyglottis), is good, but cut back after flowering each year.

Planting and Care.

Establishment of the young or transplanted shrubs and perennials is important. You cannot simply plant young plants in a dry area such as a garden bank, and not expect to have to care for them for at least the first season.

Dry banks rarely have good fertility - either because of the nutrients washing easily from the bank, or because the bank has been made up over several years with unwanted garden soil and the like.

At planting time, include some peat or other moisture retentive organic matter into the planting hole. Water retentive gel is also a good idea. Its addition really will hold whatever moisture that is available next to the plant root zone. Addition of a good long last fertiliser will also be beneficial. Osmocote will be suitable for this, and get the plant off to a good start after planting.

After planting on your dry bank, help the plants to get established with watering when necessary - always bearing in mind that the bank is dry mainly because rain water washes off easily. The rest of the garden might be moist for a few days after rain fall, but the same is rarely true of bank areas.

When laying out the plants in their planting positions, don't forget that many will need a bit of pruning in most cases. Try to plant them in 'sectors' with space between to allow for access - both for weeding and pruning.


Most of the Campanulas are suitable for dry banks and any other dry areas in the garden - Sunny or shaded.

There is a tendency to plant ow growing shrubs or perennials on banks, but there is much to be gained from planting a few items that have height. Campanula lactiflora suits this idea, but simply might need a little support through the summer months.




Brachyglottis (Senecio) greyii 'Sunshine' will do well in any dry and preferably sunny area. It will  give years of service - especially if cut back quite hard after flowering in mid-summer.




 Bank planted up with various Lavandula angustifolia - The English Lavender.

Lavenders fare best in dry sunny positions once settled after transplanting. They are an invaluable group of shrubs for such ground cover situations. Simply trim back the old flower growths as soon as you can after fading.


Silver Foliage Plants

Most of the perennials and shrubs that have silver foliage will grow on dry banks.

Other plants which will survive with little additional watering include....

  • Achillea millefolium
  • Aurinia - Alyysum saxatilis
  • Buddleja somewhere in the middle for a feature really will brighten up- this type of area in mid summer.
  • Ceanothus repens types
  • Cotoneasters are superb for this. Plant Cotoneaster repens near the top of your bank and allow it to cascade down.
  • Eryngium - the Sea Holly
  • Euphorbias - especaillay the E charachias types such as E. c. 'Lambrook Gold'
  • Miscanthus ornamental grasses will do well on dry banks and also add a bit of height to the planting scheme.
  • Helianthemum - the rock rose
  • Heliotrichton - the Blue Oat Grass
  • Knifophia - Red Hot Pokers are happy in this situation.
  • Genistas - such as Genista Lydia will flourish on  a dry bank, and creat a golden waterfall of flower if planted near the top.
  • Juniper horizontalis will tummble down any dry bank, whilst Juniper sabina Tamariscifolia wit 'layer' itself down over the bank and look very effective. Allow space for both to develop.
  • Lavendulas - all of them
  • Rosemary. Rosemarinus prostratus will love to tumble down over your bank
  • Perovskia
  • Phlomis fruiticosa
  • Santolina
  • Verbascum
  • Yucca.

 Other Areas of specific interest | Plants for Shaded Areas | Plants for Damp Soil Plants with Yellow Flowers | Plants with Pink Flowers | Plants for Wildlife |


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