The recent droughts in Oklahoma has meant homeowners are concerned about water conservation. One way to save water is to landscape with native drought-resistant plants, or plants that are bred for the Oklahoma weather.

As anyone who has lived through an Oklahoma summer knows, the afternoon sun can turn a green garden into a burned-out brown weed plot. Summer shade can have a huge effect on your planting. Think of your house as having four micro-climates: East, West, North, and South. A plant that does well on the north side of your home may not fare so well when planted to the south. Shade from trees can also be a major factor in your landscaping plans.

NORTH

The north side of your house tends to be shadier and cooler than the rest of the yard, and more exposed to winter’s cold fronts. Hence, you will want to put in plants that require more shade.

Trees:

  • Redbuds – Are typically found growing under the canopy of an Oklahoma forest, so they can handle quite a bit of shade. The spring blooms can really make your home POP.
  • Amur Maple – Tough tree with lovely fall color.
  • Possumhaw Holly – This is a tough native plant that grows as an understory tree in the wild. Starts out shrub-sized but can easily attain 10-15 feet in height.

Shrubs:

  • Oregon Grape Holly
  • Leatherleaf Mahonia
  • Acuba
  • Nandina
  • Viburnums (there are many kinds: Rusty, Blackhaw, Arrowwood, Burkwood)
  • Japanese Holly

Groundcover:

  • Monkey Grass
  • Liriope / Lily-Turf
  • English Ivy
  • Persian Ivy
  • Autumn Fern

Perennials:

  • Ajuga – Could also be used for ground cover Blooms in the spring and a little off-and-on after that. Spreads easily.
  • Royal Fern
  • Sweet Woodruf

Annuals

  • Wax Begonias
  • Caladium
  • Coleus
  • Impatiens – Careful, these guzzle a lot of water!

EAST

For the east side of your house, which likely gets morning sun and is shadier in the afternoon, or is at least more sheltered from the western sun than the west & south sides of your house. For the most part you can plant the ones already listed for the north side of the house, plus:

Trees:

  • Caddo Sugar Maple – These would likely do fine in full sun, but would like some afternoon shade better.
  • Southern Magnolia – These get HUGE so don’t plant too close to your house
  • Saucer Magnolia – Also gets quite large.
  • Leyland Cypress
  • Atlas Cedar

Shrubs:

  • Abelia Grandiflora
  • Boxwood
  • Oakleaf Hydrangea
  • Hollies – Burford Holly, Dwarf Burford Holly, Yaupon Holly, Dwarf Yaupon Holly, Foster’s Holly, Nellie Stevens Holly

Groundcover:

  • Purple wintercreeper
  • Liriope/Lily Turf
  • Monkey Grass
  • Bishop’s Weed

Perennials:

  • Coral Bells
  • Sweet Woodruff
  • Four O’Clocks
  • Plumbago
  • Iris Hybrids
  • Sweet Violet

Annuals:

  • Lobelia
  • Sweet Alyssum
  • Flowering Tobacco
  • Geraniums
  • Petunias
  • Wishbone Flower

SOUTH & WEST

Any plants on the south and west sides of your home will need to be able to handle lots of sun and the drying south winds (unless you have huge, old established shade trees).

Trees:

  • Shumard Oak
  • Chinkapin Oak
  • Live Oak
  • Sawtooth Oak
  • Desert Willow
  • Leyland Cypress
  • Kentucky Coffee
  • Chinese Pistache
  • Bur Oak
  • Cedar Elm
  • Lacebark
  • Chaste Tree

Shrubs:

  • Any junipers
  • Any nandina
  • Any barberry
  • Rose of Sharon
  • Any Burford or Yaupon Holly
  • Crape Myrtle

Groundcover / Climbing Vines:

  • American Crossvine
  • Boston Ivy
  • Trumpetcreeper
  • Virginia creeper
  • Climbing roses
  • Stonecropper
  • Junipers
  • Hardy Ice Plants
  • Asian Jasmine

Perennials:

  • Autumn Sage
  • Cannas
  • Coneflowers
  • Coreopsis
  • Gaillardia – aka: Blanket Flower
  • Gaura

Annuals:

  • Cockscombs
  • Cosmos
  • Copper plant
  • Gazania daisy
  • Globe Amaranth
  • Ornamental Sweet Potato
  • Periwinkle
  • Summer Snapdragon
  • Zinnia
  • Mexican Petunia
  • Russian Sage
  • Wormwood
  • Verbeba