Gardening in a hot climate presents many challenges, and the best choice is to use native plants of the area that are most well adapted to the weather. Drought-tolerant plants do very well in hot climates because they have the capacity to store water and have extensive root systems that seek out water for sustenance. Many of these plants have foliage with waxy coatings or fine hair that reflect heat and keep the plant cool.
Bougainvillea is a vine-like shrub and thrives in hot regions with warm winters. The plant blooms with brilliant bracts in a variety of shades of reds, pinks, oranges and gold. Bougainvillea has very low water requirements once it is established. The plant is easy to cultivate from 4-inch to 6-inch cuttings, and quickly establishes strong roots in warm soil and mist. Bougainvillea needs very bright light and thrives in full sun. It is a heavy feeder, and requires constant feeding with a 20-20-20 fertiliser.
Cat's claw (Macfadyena unguis-cati) is a fast-growing vine that thrives in hot weather. The vine is self-attaching, and has no problem growing even on very hot walls. Cat's claw has delicate green foliage and vines, and blooms with yellow flowers for a short period during spring. Cat's claw is a Central American native and is highly drought tolerant.
Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundiflora) is a warm-season annual plant, and has a gangly growth habit. The plant reaches a mature height of 5 feet to 6 feet, with a 3-foot to 4-foot spread. Mexican sunflower tolerates heat well, and its stems and leaves are covered with a down-like fuzz that keeps the plant insulated against intense heat. The plant blooms with bright red-orange, 3-inch-wide, daisy-like flowers. Mexican sunflower is a native of Central America and Mexico, and needs a well-drained soil and sunny site to grow best. Mexican sunflower has low tolerance of cold and frost.
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