The USDA categorizes climates in the United States into hardiness zones according to the area's lowest average temperatures. Plants can likewise be rated according to their hardiness, allowing gardeners to choose plants that can withstand their region's winters. Gardeners who live in a Zone 6 area and want to conserve water should choose a hardy plant that can withstand the winters while being drought resistant.
Zone 6 Growing Environments
A Zone 6 region can experience a minimum low temperature of -10 to 0 degrees F (-23.3 to -17.8 C). This is a general rating; some areas within a Zone 6 region may have a microclimate that has lower or higher minimum temperatures. Consult a nursery or an agricultural expert at a community university to find if your microclimate gives you more flexibility in plant choices.
The Faasen's catmint (Nepeta faasenii) plant is an aromatic perennial with a mintlike scent. It has gray foliage with lavender-colored flowers and reaches a height of up to 3 feet. This plant thrives in hot and dry soil. The bloody cranesbill (Geranium sanguineum) doesn't like completely arid conditions but can tolerate periodic dry seasons. It has dark green leaves and bright pink flowers. It is typically used as a ground cover. The moonshine yarrow (Achillea filipendula) grows quickly and can be used to fill a dry field due to its tolerance not just of drought, but also of poor soil conditions. It produces bright yellow flowers throughout the entire summer season.
The blue avena grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens) is a tall, clumping grass that can reach a height of 2 to 3 feet and a width of up to 2 feet. Silver seed heads form during the summer and can be saved for dried flower arrangements. The grass does well with weekly watering. The Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) grows much taller, to a height of up to 6 feet. The plant thrives in arid conditions and is popular for xeriscaping. It does so well in dry conditions that it can become a weed if not managed properly.
The candytuft (Iberis sempervirens) is an evergreen xeriscaping shrub that spreads low and wide if pruned regularly. The leaves are glossy and dark in color, and the shrub produces white blossoms once a year in the spring. The blue chip juniper (Juniperus horizontalis) is likewise evergreen. Its silvery-blue leaves can add color to your garden against the white contrast of snow.