Drought Tolerant Plants, Wyoming Style

You can’t have lived in Wyoming for very long without hearing about “drought tolerant” plants. There’s a good reason for that. In central Wyoming, our annual precipitation hovers somewhere around 12-15 inches per year.

Even in the “wetter” parts of Wyoming, such as the mountain foothils the annual precip is somewhere around 20  inches.  The high mountain areas of course get more precipitation in the form of snow, but the majority of us reside in the lower elevations.

The low amount of moisture is exacerbated by the WAY we get our precipitation. Most of it comes in late winter in the form of wet snow- not during the growing season. If you grew up in some other part of the US, this can be a shock, and it may take some time before you really understand the impact on your gardening and landscaping efforts.

Sporadic, infrequent rain showers are coupled with hot, dry winds in central Wyoming summers. It’s not uncommon to have 30mph winds all day, blowing in at 90 degrees F, and don’t forget the intense solar radiation at mile high elevations. All these factors create a unique challenge for plants trying to maintain enough water in their cells.

So even if some plant tag touts a plant as using “low” water, it might not thrive here. “Low” water in Indiana means 30 inches of precip per year. It takes some study and trial and error to find plants that will thrive in Wyoming gardens. That’s one of the main reasons I started this blog. I’ll be sharing what I have learned, what plants have shown themselves to be suited to Wyoming yards and gardens, and resources for learning more. I’ll share my dismal failures, too, in hopes I can save someone else time, money and tears.

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