Fast growing drought tolerant plants


Growing Zone 8 Plants In Dry Gardens – Drought Tolerant Plants For Zone 8

All plants require a fair amount of water until their roots are safely established, but at that point, drought-tolerant plants are those that can get by with very little moisture. Plants that tolerate drought are available for every plant hardiness zone, and low water plants for zone 8 gardens are no exception. If you’re interested in zone 8 drought-tolerant plants, read on for a few suggestions to get you started on your quest.

Drought-Tolerant Plants for Zone 8

Growing zone 8 plants in dry gardens is easy when you know the best types to choose. Below you will find some of the more commonly grown zone 8 drought tolerant plants.


Black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia spp.) – Bright, golden-yellow blooms with black centers contrast with deep green foliage.

Yarrow (Achillea spp.) – Showy native plant with fern-like leaves and clusters of tightly-packed blooms in a huge range of intense colors.

Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha) – Intense blue or white blooms attract hordes of butterflies, bees and hummingbirds all summer.

Daylily (Hemerocallis spp.) – Easy to grow perennial available in a diverse variety of colors and forms.

Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) – Super-tough prairie plant available with pinkish-purple, rosy-red or white flowers.

Coreopsis/tickseed (Coreopsis spp.) – Long-blooming, sun-loving plant with bright yellow, daisy-like flowers on tall stems

Globe thistle (Echinops) – Large, grayish-green leaves and huge globes of steely blue flowers.


Cosmos (Cosmos spp.) – Tall plant with big, delicate-looking blooms in a wide range of colors.

Gazania/treasure flower (Gazania spp.) – Vibrant, daisy-like flowers of yellow and orange appear all summer.

Purslane/moss rose (Portulaca spp.) – Low-growing plant with small, vibrant blooms and succulent foliage.

Globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa) – Sun-loving, non-stop summer bloomer with fuzzy leaves and pom-pom flowers of pink, white or red.

Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia) – Super-tall, velvety-leaved plant produces orange blooms in summer and autumn.

Vines and Groundcovers

Cast-iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) – Extremely tough, zone 8 drought-tolerant plant thrives in partial or full shade.

Creeping phlox (Phlox subulata) – Fast spreader creates a colorful carpet of purple, white, red, lavender or rose blooms.

Creeping juniper (Juniperus horizontatalis) – Shrubby, low-growing evergreen in shades of bright green or blue-green.

Yellow Lady Banks rose (Rosa banksias) – Vigorous climbing rose produces masses of small, double yellow roses.

Shade Plant Recommendations for the Pacific Northwest

Saxifraga ‘Primuloides’

Light patterns—Generally, landscapers categorize plants into several categories of light exposure: Full sun, partial sun, partial shade, and full shade.
Full sun: Needs at least six hours of sunlight per day.
Partial sun: Requires three to six hours of sun per day.
Partial shade: Also needs three to six hours of sun per day, ideally direct morning sun with shade in the afternoon.
Full shade: Needs less than three hours of sun per day.
Oftentimes, plants’ coloring reflects their shade preferences. White or cream-colored flora does well in shade; gold or purple foliage will need sun.
Hardiness Zone. A shady plant that’s not listed for your hardiness zone will not thrive. Portland generally falls into USDA hardiness zone 8b, with low temperatures between 15 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit, on average. Some areas—such as inner Portland—are in zone 9a, as the average lows they see are from 20 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit. However, geography affects temperatures and hardiness zones significantly, so you should also consider where you live. A valley will see different temperature patterns than a hilltop, for instance. Each plant tag should list a hardiness zone to help you make smart landscaping choices.

Soil composition. In general, shade gardening requires richer soil, so that plants can get all of the nutrients they require. Consider a shady forest floor: It has inches of accumulated leaves, pine needles, and other detritus to feed plants. Similarly, a successful yard shade garden will have rich, quick-draining soil. With that said, each shade plant has its own soil preferences, so research species on an individual basis and amend soil accordingly.

Seasonal shade. Some species, such as maple and oak, are free of leaves from November through April, creating a winter sunny zone where summer shade once dominated. Pay attention to how the light changes on your property throughout the year, and plant with these patterns in mind.

Water conditions. Oftentimes, plants that adapted to shady conditions have shallow roots, which allow them to absorb nutrients from the surface leaf litter. These plants also suck up surface water before it trickles down to the deep taproots of canopy plants. Overall, shade plants often need less water than their full-sun counterparts. However, there are some shade species that prefer dry soil, while others like it wet. Again, it’s best to talk to an expert or do your research to see what specific plants need.

Mature plant height. Research each plant’s mature size prior to purchase. Is there room for the mature plant in your intended spot?

Maintenance. Will you be able to maintain the shade plant when it is fully grown? What pruning will be required? Also consider any leaves or fallen blossoms that require extensive clean up.

As you can see, plant selection is no easy task, regardless of the degree of shade. Thorough research is needed for every new planting. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some shady plants that will do well in specific circumstances.

Shady Plants for Specific Purposes

Sarcococca hook. var. humilis

Shade Loving Shrubs:
• Sarcococca hook. var. humilis – Known familiarly as Sweet Box, Sarcococca can grow to five feet in height and six feet in width. It produces white, tubular flowers in the spring and shiny black fruits in the summer.
• Hydrangeas. Enjoy pink, purple, or blue balls of blossoms, depending on your soil’s acidity.
• Full- or Partial-Shade Rhododendrons. If you love spectacular blossoms in the spring and glossy green leaves in the winter, rhododendrons are an excellent shrub choice. Most rhododendrons do best with filtered sunlight; some light is needed to help them produce strong buds.
• Snowberry. This native plant produces striking white berries.

Tall Plants for Shady Areas:
• Hydrangeas. Their lush foliage and lovely ball-shaped blossoms come back year after year.
• Solomon’s Seals can provide height at the rear of a shady garden bed.

Adding Color to Shady Areas:

Polygonatum odoratum Variegatum

Are you looking for year-round color? There are two approaches to take: 1. Create a brighter palette of flowers, often annuals that require seasonal replacement, or 2. Choose less vibrant plantings that can continue growing all year long. For ease of maintenance, we recommend creating a range of colors by selecting plants with striking leaf tones. For instance, pink frost changes its colors in winter. Evergreen ferns add texture, height, and dark green tones to the garden, 365 days a year. Columbines and impatiens will add color pops to the shade garden as well.

Directly Under Trees:
Trees with numerous small roots near the soil surface may be difficult to garden beneath without harming the tree. Birches, beeches, willows, and locusts are a few species that fall into this category. Douglas fir and western red cedar provide a different problem: blocked winter rainfall. Finally, some native trees, such as madrones and white oaks, suffer when watered in the summer, so water-hungry plants should not be placed within their drip line. (Otherwise, you may harm the tree when attempting to water plants beneath it.) For these areas, we recommend drought-tolerant species such as bishop’s hat (Epimedium), sword fern, and hardy cyclamen. Aside from these examples, the dappled sunlight beneath most trees generally creates a wonderful growing environment for shade plants.

Hosta fortunei ‘Aureomarginata’

Some of our favorite shady species are…

  • Saxifraga ‘Primuloides’ — An excellent ground cover for deep shade.
  • Brunnera marcrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ – A classic perennial for shade zones; enjoy its frosted appearance and airy blue spring blossoms resembling forget-me-nots.
  • Hosta fortunei ‘Aureomarginata’ – This hosta will do well in all soil conditions. Its leaves are olive green in the center, and yellow on the edges. It offers stalks of lavender flowers in the spring.
  • Polystichum polyblepharum – Known commonly as Tassel Fern, this species brings an elegant look to shady zones.
  • Polygonatum odoratum Variegatum – This variegated Solomon’s Seal has eye-catching white streaks on its leaves. We love the white flowers this variety produces, as well as its black autumn fruit and yellowing autumn leaves.
  • Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’ – The common name, Gold Dust Plant, says it all. Its glossy green leaves are spattered with yellow. We love that it takes well to pruning, and that it can be planted near tree roots.

Classic Flowering Portland Shade Plants include…

  • Hostas. They are a perennial that will come back year after year to create a lush feel in your yard. They are kind to tree roots because they don’t require frequent dividing.
  • Astilbes. With their long, feathery flowers that dry out during the fall, astilbes provide yearlong visual interest. Bonus: They make excellent cut flowers.
  • Hellebores. Many Portland green thumbs select hellebores for winter color. Hellebores begin blooming sometime between December and February, and they retain their flowers through spring.
  • Heucheras (AKA Coral Bells). We love their wide array of leaf tones, from lime green (in the “Electric Lime” heuchera) to caramel red (the “Southern Comfort” coral bell variety).
  • Cyclamen. They are one of the few flowering plants that will grow in dry shade.

Selecting Shade Plants for Hillsboro Homes

If you live in Hillsboro or the Willamette Valley, shade plants that work in the Cascades or the Coast range may not grow in your yard. Here are a few shade plants that typically grow well in the Hillsboro area:

  • Variegated Winter Daphne (Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’). Enjoy this evergreen shrub’s fragrant blossoms in the winter and early spring. Does well in dappled shade near a deck or patio, where you’ll have a chance to enjoy its delightful aroma.
  • Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus ‘Dwarf Form’). Also known as “Tutankhamun” or “Nanus,” this smaller version of papyrus grass grows 2-3 feet tall and is shade tolerant.
  • Red Huckleberry (Vaccinium parvifolium) is a large, deciduous native shrub that produces creamy bell-shaped flowers in the spring and summer, and red berries to feed wildlife.
  • Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina) is a native, deciduous fern that is perfect for shady rain gardens.

Polystichum polyblepharum

Before Planting: Talk to an Expert. Why waste money on plants that will only die in the wrong environment? We recommend speaking with a professional green thumb before planting your shade garden. Here at Landscape East & West, we offer free estimates and innovative solutions to your toughest garden zones.

If you are averse to spending your weekends on maintenance, call us for landscaping services. Hillsboro to Happy Valley, we can provide turnkey landscaping, including design, planting, and ongoing maintenance. Trouble spots in your yard are no trouble for us—we can recommend replacing a perpetually soggy lawn with water-loving ground covers. Or, depending on your goals, we might suggest trading out a failing shade garden with hardscaping. The bottom line is that your shady zones will be attractive and well cared for with Landscape East & West on your side.

About the Author: Steve Stewart is the Owner/President of Landscape East & West, award-winning Portland landscaping professionals. He oversees the day-to-day operations of the company. Landscape East & West is a leader in the Portland Metropolitan area in creating unique landscape designs and executing expert construction and maintenance with care and pride.

Looking for drought-tolerant plants for your ornamental garden or arid landscape? Look no further because you might find what you’re looking for on this roundup. These are gorgeous drought-tolerant plants you won’t believe thrive with little to no watering. If you’re particular with water conservation, then heat and drought-tolerant plants are your new best friends. Here’s an extensive list of drought-tolerant plants you’ll fall in love with!

Drought-Tolerant Plants: Make Your Dry Garden An Eden

Turn heads with these interesting perennials in your front yard landscape. Wait till it flowers and you’ll have more curious onlookers–which is in some 10 to 20 years to be exact!

2. African Daisy “Gerbera”

African daisies will wither on a dry spell, so what got them into this list of drought-tolerant plants? They’re hard to kill once they’re established and they don’t really wither and die. They only go dormant or go into survival mode.

3. Beardtongues Or Penstemon

Don’t be fooled by these lovely and dainty blooms. Penstemons thrive on neglect. They will only feel at home in your waterless garden.

4. Black-eyed Susans

If you want a cottage flower garden in your arid landscape, black-eyed Susans are your go-to plants for a flower garden running riot in your dehydrated garden.

5. Blazing Stars “Ajuga”

It’s amazing how these flowers can thrive on both ends of the weather spectrum. From a dry spell to a bitter winter, blazing stars will bloom in your garden.

6. Bougainvillea

Spanish villas and a Mediterranean landscape are never without these lovely blooms. Bougainvillea is proof of how you can maintain a lovely flower garden in a dry landscape.

7. Bugleweed ‘Ajuga’

Some former growers may pass up on this drought-tolerant plant. Bugleweed or carpet bugle can be invasive but in a parched landscape, you can tame them.

8. Butterfly Weed “Asclepias Tuberosa”

Invite butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden with dainty butterfly weeds. These beautiful flowers thrive in a dry landscape. They are also a favorite to the Monarch butterfly.

9. Cleome

An English cottage flower garden is possible in arid landscapes with drought-tolerant flowers like cleome which adds character to any flower garden. Not only is it lovely in pastel, it has an interesting wispy form.

10. Cactus Plants

What could be more drought-resistant than cactus? They do thrive in a waterless environment. You’ll love even their thorns which help quench their thirst. With hundreds of variety–it will always be interesting.

11. Cardinal Climbers

This annual climbing plant with small yet gorgeous red flowers is perfect in a trellis, fence, or arbor. That is if you have a small garden and a clematis won’t do.

12. Coneflowers “Echinacea”

Large flower heads and showy blooms are perfect backdrops for your dry landscape. Coneflowers, being a member of the daisy family, are dependable even with an inferior and dry soil.

13. Coral Vine or Mexican Creeper

You’ll also love this flowering vine with dainty pink or white flowers for your trellis or arbor. You can grow them from seeds but the tubers will grow back even with frost damage.

14. Cosmos Plants

Another beautiful flowering annual plant which thrives even in neglect. Growing cosmos in a fertile soil will only produce verdant foliage and fewer flowers. This isn’t exactly what you are looking for in your flower garden.

15. Daylily “Hemerocallis”

One of my favorite perennials, daylilies aren’t considered ‘the perfect perennial’ for nothing. What lovely blooms and brilliant colors for a variety which is both drought and frost tolerant!

16. Desert Rose “Adenium Obesum”

One of the most familiar flowers in a desert or arid landscape is the Adenium obesum. Its common name, desert rose couldn’t be any perfect. It may shed its foliage in a cold or dry spell but the blooms will flourish to your adoration.

17. “Euphorbia Milii” or Crown Of Thorns

The thorns may intimidate you but the flowers will definitely win you over. One of the most interesting drought-tolerant plants is the crown of thorns. They will interest you more with the variety of colors, sizes, and forms.

18. Indian Blanket Flowers “Gaillardia”

Blanket flowers or Sundance are best appreciated in the wild. But you can grow a few in your sandy well-drained soil. With a high tolerance for drought, they do best in a hot climate in full sun.

19. Kaiser’s Crown Or Crown Imperial

Did our list just get even more interesting with this amazing entry? A bulb can cost a few dollars, but you can boost your dry landscape with this beautiful oddity.

20. Lantana Camara

Lantana is common in the tropics and is even classified as invasive. But with trimming and care, you can grow it to your preference. With a profusion of different colors, you can grow a cottage flower garden in a dry landscape.

21. Lavender “Lavandula”

One of our favorites, lavender is simply extraordinary. Valued for more than just its looks, it is both an ornamental and essential herb. It is also a plant that can withstand both a dry spell and a frost.

22. Marigold

One of the most familiar summer plants growing in dry conditions is the marigold. To make your vegetable garden colorful, grow marigold among your veggies. They will also help drive away pests.

23. Romneya “Matilija Poppies”

Featured in 1998’s The Mask Of Zorro, Romneyas, are indeed, native to California and Northern Mexico. A white flashy flower head with an intense yellow center deserves a spot in your arid garden landscape.

24. Oleander “Nerium Oleander”

Oleander is native to the Mediterranean region to the Arabian peninsula. It is also found in tropical regions around the world. Take care though. This beautiful drought-resistant plant is one of the most poisonous ornamental plants.

25. Primula

Primula, as a drought-tolerant plant, is due to its ability to thrive in inferior soil. You can find them in arid to dry landscape from the rocky Himalayas to boggy meadows.

26. Purslane “Portulaca”

Some varieties of purslane belong to the weed class. Its hard to kill and spreads fast. Use this to your advantage and grow an Alpine meadow-like landscape. Yes, even in your waterless garden.

27. Red Salvia Or Scarlet Sage

Grow scarlet sage with the drought-resistant purple wild sage. You will get a cottage flower garden-like landscape. A flower garden with an explosion of colors is possible even in a dry, sandy, and rocky landscape.

28. Stonecrops “Sedum”

If you’re looking to do a xeriscape for your dry landscape, stonecrops or ‘sedum’ would be great. It is a leaf succulent flowering plant which does well in a rocky landscape.

29. Succulent Plants

Succulents are all the rage these days with different varieties and interesting colors and forms. Besides that, its resistance to drought probably made it an endearing garden and indoor plant.

30. Sunflowers “Helianthus”

If not totally drought-tolerant, sunflowers are definitely summer flowering plants. Not only are they great for your landscape, both the seeds and the young flower heads are edible too.

31. Torch Tithonia

Torch tithonia or Mexican sunflower will light up any flower garden indeed. Its bright red-orange flowers will turn heads even when grown with other drought-tolerant plants.

32. Verbena Or Vervain

Some species of Verbena wear the colors of the stars and stripes. This makes them great for your summer garden in planters or hanging pots, not just for the Fourth of July, but for a patriotic look all summer long.

33. Vinca Or Periwinkle

You can trust these lovely blooming flowers to thrive in your garden with little care. On hot and dry summer days just sit back and relax and these flowers will flourish all on their own.

34. Whiteweed “Ageratum”

For a plant called Whiteweed, the flowers are commonly blue, which is great for your dry garden. For a flower color which can be hard to grow, ‘ageratum’ is a great choice for your arid landscape.

35. Wild Sage

Like most variety from the sage and salvia family, the wild sage sure is drought-resistant. Grow a drought-tolerant landscape with wild sage as an addition.

36. Yarrow “Achillea Millefolium”

You would do well to include yarrow in your dry garden landscape with its beneficial herb properties. It has long been used as food, to make tea, dried as a cooking herb, and was once a popular vegetable.

37. Yellow Alyssum Or Stone Herb

You have a bonus in this low-lying dry-resistant plant which thrives in rocky terrain. It has a sweet smelling scent which earned it the nickname of sweet alyssum plus it has dainty yellow flowers in clumps.

38. Yucca

One of the mainstays in a desert to semi-desert landscape is the interesting yucca. It is similar to agave, only reserved or smaller in form and has conventional flowers which bloom in shorter time than agave.

39. Zinnia

Zinnias look a lot like Mexican sunflowers though they have a wide color variety. From red, yellow, orange, and pink, you can grow a rainbow flower garden even in a dry landscape.

Learn how to pick drought-tolerant plants for your arid or dry landscape in this video:

There you go, homesteaders! Drought-tolerant plants perfect for your dry or arid landscape. A dry spell wouldn’t be much of a concern now with these trusty plants to choose from!

Which drought tolerant plant will you be adding to your homestead? Let us know in the comments section below!

Up Next: Beat-the-Heat Summer Plants For Your Garden

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on August 9, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

Drought Resistant Perennials – Waterwise

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  • Achillea filipendulina Gold Plate
  • Forestiera neomexicana
  • Gaillardia Arizona Apricot
  • Hirpicium armerioides v. armerioides
  • Mahonia repens
  • Penstemon cobaea v. purpurea
  • Phlox subulata Drummond’s Pink
  • Sedum Matrona
  • Salvia pachyphylla
  • Aster oblongifolius October Skies
  • Eryngium Big Blue
  • Rudbeckia Henry Eilers
  • Frosty Blue Century Plant (Agave)
  • Arenaria alfacarensis
  • Cytisus x praecox x Paulette
  • Geranium dalmaticum
  • Iris germanica City Lights
  • Iris germanica Edith Wolford
  • Iris germanica Invitation
  • Jurassic Park Bearded Iris
  • Iris germanica Teamwork
  • Iris pallida Variegata Silver
  • Salvia officinalis Minimus
  • Sedum Autumn Joy
  • Papaver atlanticum Flore Pleno
  • Amelanchier utahensis
  • Cercis occidentalis
  • Helianthus maximiliana Lemon Yellow
  • Salvia Red Velvet
  • Scutellaria resinosa Smoky Hills
  • Clematis scottii
  • Perovskia Little Spires
  • Rosmarinus officinalis Irene
  • Osteospermum Avalanche
  • Festuca mairei
  • Achillea serbica
  • Agave havardiana
  • Gaura lindheimeri Trader Joe’s
  • Penstemon pinifolius Nearly Red
  • Salvia pachyphylla Mulberry Flambe
  • Sempervivum Silverine
  • Sempervivum Sunset
  • Sporobolus heterolipis Tara
  • Hardy Hummingbird Trumpet (Zauschneria)
  • Annie’s Perennial Verbena
  • Llano Indian Grass
  • Purple Emperor Sedum
  • West Texas Grass Salvia
  • Summer Skies Texas Grass Salvia
  • Sensation Rose Dwarf Pink Salvia
  • Gwen’s Buffalo Clove-Scented Currant (Ribes)
  • Lemhi Purple Creeping Phlox
  • Kashmir False Sage (Phlomis)
  • Blue Mist Penstemon
  • Tall Orange Pineleaf Penstemon Mix
  • Husker Red Penstemon
  • Elfin Pink Penstemon
  • Northwind Upright Switchgrass
  • Yellow Honeysuckle Vine
  • Alcalde Cold Hardy Rosemary
  • Rockstar Reblooming Bearded Iris
  • Western Sundancer Daisy (Hymenoxys)
  • Mesa Wine Rock Rose (Helianthemum)
  • Hantamberg Orange Gazania
  • Butterscotch Baby Gazania
  • Lion’s Spore (Euphorbia)
  • Prolific Sulphur Buckwheat
  • Hula Dancer Echinacea
  • Orange Live Forever (Dudleya)
  • Kew Broom (Cytisus)
  • Jethro Tull Coreopsis
  • Dwarf Sundrops (Calylophus)
  • Spring Blooming Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
  • Blue False Indigo (Baptisia)
  • Dwarf Rock Cress (Aubrieta)
  • Jones’ Bluestar (Amsonia)
  • Blue Twister Corkscrew Allium
  • Purple Haze Agastache
  • Acapulco® Orange Agastache
  • Autumn Magic Pollinator Collection
  • Fragrant Blooms Collection
  • Cold Hardy Succulent Collection
  • Salvia Collection II
  • Made For Shade Collection
  • Native Wildscape Collection
  • Millennium Sunrise Bearded Iris
  • Recurring Delight Bearded Iris
  • Social Event Bearded Iris
  • Paul Black Bearded Iris
  • Gold Variegated Sweet Iris
  • Merchant Marine Bearded Iris
  • Mango Entree Bearded Iris
  • Imperial Reign Bearded Iris
  • Amarillo Frills Bearded Iris
  • Dance the Night Away Bearded Iris
  • Tumalo Sunset Bearded Iris
  • Ziggy Reblooming Bearded Iris
  • Immortality Reblooming Bearded Iris
  • Dynamite Bearded Iris
  • Pure As Gold Reblooming Bearded Iris
  • Sheer Ecstasy Bearded Iris
  • Stellar Lights Reblooming Bearded Iris
  • Ragtop Day Reblooming Bearded Iris
  • Final Episode Reblooming Bearded Iris
  • Sugar Blues Reblooming Bearded Iris
  • Batik Bearded Iris
  • Savanna Sunset Bearded Iris
  • Beargrass (Nolina)
  • Pineleaf Penstemon
  • Firecracker Penstemon
  • Cleopatra Oregano
  • Gentle Giant Sulphur Buckwheat
  • White Prairie Clover (Dalea)
  • Solid Gold Salvia
  • Purple Chip Salvia
  • Uvatung Broadleaf Penstemon
  • Rosyjane Gaura
  • Anouk Spanish Lavender
  • Munstead English Lavender
  • Peach Springs Century Plant (Agave)
  • Fringed Poppy Mallow (Callirhoe) – 5″ Pot
  • Cobweb Spiderwort (Tradescantia)
  • Common Sotol (Dasylirion)
  • Engelmann’s Daisy (Engelmannia)
  • Early Sunrise Coreopsis
  • Provence French Lavender
  • Large Flowered Stonecress (Aethionema)
  • Silver Frost Lavender
  • Snow Flurry Hardy Verbena
  • Dwarf Golden Turkish Sage (Phlomis)
  • Glenn Cold Hardy Mesemb (Rabiea)
  • Pink Cold Hardy Mesemb (Aloinanthus)
  • Hardy Living Stone (Aloinopsis)
  • Acapulco® Salmon & Pink Agastache
  • Dwarf Culinary Oregano
  • Pink Rock Rose (Helianthemum)
  • Blue Globe Daisy (Globularia)
  • Takilma Gold Oregon Sunshine (Eriophyllum)
  • Red Buckwheat
  • Lemon Max Maximilian’s Sunflower (Helianthus)
  • Lauren’s Cold Hardy Giant Feather Grass
  • Karley Rose Fountain Grass
  • Regal Mist® Pink Muhly Grass
  • Red Riding Hood Penstemon
  • Sonoma Coast Yarrow
  • Artemisia filifolia
  • Profuse Pink False Pennyroyal (Hedeoma)
  • Cobweb Hens and Chicks
  • Blue Rocket False Indigo (Baptisia)
  • Gold Ball Basket Of Gold (Alyssum)
  • Globe Ice Plant (Ruschia)
  • Yellow Cold Hardy Mesemb (Aloinopsis)
  • 25th Anniversary Cacti Collection
  • Pine Scented Rose
  • Canby’s Mountain Lover (Paxistima)
  • Superb Coral Penstemon
  • Fred Boutin Hedge Lavender
  • Mountain Mist Grass
  • Lutsko’s Dwarf Spanish Lavender
  • Giant Feather Grass
  • Engelmann’s Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus)
  • Dwarf White Lace Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus)
  • Acapulco® Deluxe Peach Agastache
  • Acapulco® Deluxe Yellow Agastache
  • Texas Spiny Star Cactus (Escobaria)
  • Schott’s Yucca
  • Bushy Bulbine
  • Lace Aloe
  • Red Hedgehog Agave
  • Endless Love Salvia
  • Portuguese Giant Spanish Lavender
  • Poncha Pass Red Sulphur Buckwheat
  • Utah Fleabane (Erigeron)
  • Blue Boy Dwarf Rosemary
  • Los Lunas Blues Little Bluestem Grass
  • Pink Texas Yucca (Hesperaloe)
  • Dallas Blues Blue Switchgrass
  • Alpine Blue Mint Bush (Zizophora)
  • Arizona Honeysuckle Vine
  • Brown Leaf Ice Plant (Nananthus)
  • Golden Flowered Century Plant (Agave)
  • Sutherland Night Blooming Ice Plant (Stomatium)
  • Apache Sunset Agastache
  • Psychedelic Mesemb (Aloinopsis)
  • Western Gold Butterfly Weed Mix
  • Tequila Sunrise Coreopsis
  • Zagreb Coreopsis
  • Mesa Verde® Ice Plant
  • Texas Red Yucca (Hesperaloe)
  • Dwarf Silver Evening Primrose
  • Carpeting Pincushion Flower (Pterocephalus)
  • Robust Gray Great Basin Salvia
  • Pink Germander (Teucrium)
  • Blue Yonder Veronica
  • Woolly Turkish Veronica
  • Jumping Jack Perennial Viola
  • Compact Banana Yucca
  • Plains Yucca
  • Blue Doll House Yucca
  • Ben Nevis Rock Rose (Helianthemum)
  • Texas Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus)
  • Chumby Silky Rock Jasmine (Androsace)
  • Murray’s Scarlet Penstemon
  • Ocotillo (Fouquieria)
  • Carole Ann Beach Strawberry (Fragaria)
  • Pretty Woman Yarrow
  • Summer’s Swan Song Ironweed (Vernonia)
  • Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus
  • Purple Mountain® Sun Daisy
  • Cheyenne® Mock Orange

We’re big fans of succulents here in central Texas. From early summer to late summer, it is extremely hot. There’s a chance if you’re living in Texas you’re probably under a heat advisory now. With little water coming in during this time of the year, many of us are looking for drought tolerant plants.

Succulents and cacti are popular choices for low maintenance plants here in the south. Of course growing flowers that need full sun isn’t the issue, what becomes the problem is the lack of rain. If you’re looking for drought resistant plants, here’s some seeds with great customer reviews. With so many options, surely you’ll find some favorite drought resistant plants for a colorful garden year around.

1. Agave


Thank God for agave. Especially blue agave, because that’s the base of tequila. Just like our bodies after a few shots of tequila, agave uses stored water to survive. Not only are we fans of agave, but so are hummingbirds. They do well in dry conditions and well-drained soil.

2. Echinacea


Purple coneflowers like full sun! If you’re in a dry area, these drought tolerant perennials will do well during droughts. These beauties don’t need Mediterranean climate to thrive. The purple flowers can reach 2-3 feet in flowerbeds and flower pots.

3. Sedum


If you’re looking for a drought tolerant ground cover, sedum plants are it.

4. Russian sage


Plant these perennial seeds in late spring and watch them bloom!

5. Black-eyed Susan


Black-eyed Susans can bloom from early summer to early fall. These yellow flowers love the sun as well. A major perk of Black-eyed Susans is that they can reseed themselves. Be sure not to plant these seeds in poor soil. Well-draining soil is key. Water your plants when needed. Since these flowers can survive on less water, stick to a strict watering schedule.

6. Yucca


Yuccas produce beautiful white flowers perfect for spring, summer, and winter aesthetics.

7. Lantana


Part of the verbena family, this shrub can cover much ground for your garden. Save gardening time with a shrub that will last over hot summers. If you love bright flowers, this plant will keep your garden looking vibrant and cheerful.

8. Yarrow


Yarrows also provide an opportunity to have a bright garden during drought periods. Nothing screams sunny and California like yellow flowers. Never again will you have a garden that suffers from dry climate.

9. Gaillardia


“You give me butterflies.” (Kacey Musgraves voice.) This blanket flower attracts butterflies and can survive low water conditions. That’s enough for me to plant some Gaillardia seeds!

10. Catmint


These purple and blue flowers need full sun. If you live somewhere sunny and dry, these are perfect for you. You should go this route if you think yellow and orange is too flashy for your garden.

Most drought resistant plants just need enough watering in their first few weeks. After that, you may only need to water them once a week. An advantage of planting drought tolerant plants is that you can vacation without worrying about watering your plants. Caring for plants that can survive without rain and daily watering are convenient and easy to keep up with, plus they are gorgeous! Also, you never know when you might have to conserve water.

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Drought-tolerant plants to grow

In our unpredictable summers, it pays to include some drought-tolerant plants in our borders and pots – even if we don’t have a drought, they mean that you’ll have to do less watering.


Find out how to save water in the garden so that you can cope with a drought or hosepipe ban – or save water if you have a water meter.

Drought-resistant plants are naturally adapted for dry conditions, but it’s very important to water plants in well initially, to help them establish a good root system. Be sure not to over fertilise them.

Drainage is very important, so if you have heavy clay soil, consider building a raised bed in order to give plants the right conditions – it only needs to be 15cm (6in) high. They’re generally sun-loving plants – if planted in shade, they may flower less or lose their silver leaves.

Here are some beautiful drought-tolerant plants you can grow, spotted at a recent RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The violet blue flowers of catmint (Nepeta) are much loved by bees. 1

Agapanthus ‘Silver Baby’

This compact agapanthus reaches about 60cm tall, so is ideal for the front of the border or a pot. It has white flowers that have just a hint of blue and combines well with ornamental grasses such as Nassella tenuissima. It’s a hardy, deciduous variety.

Blue-tinged, white flowers of agapanthus ‘Silver Baby’ 2

Anchusa azurea

A short-lived perennial, Anchusa azurea has bright, true blue flowers from late spring to early summer. Cut back after flowering for a second flush of smaller blooms. It loves a well-drained but moisture-retentive soil in full sun.

Small blue flowers of Anchusa azurea 3

Cotyledon orbiculata

A stunning, unusual succulent, Cotyledon orbiculata has large, fleshy leaves and spikes of bell-shaped flowers. It’s best grown in a pot as it will need winter protection in colder parts of the UK. Take care not to touch the leaves as they will lose their powdery bloom.

Bell-shaped, orange flowers of Cotyledon orbiculata 4


Geums are hardy perennials that flower from May to August – cut them back after flowering and they should reward you with another flush later in the season. Geums look especially good with blue flowers and lime greens. Grow in sun or part shade.

A bright orange Geum ‘Prinses Juliana’ bloom 5

Hardy geraniums

Hardy geraniums (cranesbills) are low-maintenance, long-flowering perennials that can flower for months from spring, and need very little care. They thrive in sun or partial shade and are good for the front of the border. Cut back after flowering to encourage a second flush.

Mauve Geranium ‘Stephanie’ flowers 6

Bearded irises

Give bearded irises a sunny spot and when planting, point the rhizome south so that the fan of leaves don’t shade it. Split the plant every three to four years after flowering, as it will bulk up quickly. Here are 10 bearded irises to grow.

Rust colured, frilly Iris ‘Carnival Time’ 7

Stipa tenuissima

Stipa tenuissima (or Mexican feathergrass, now often sold as Nassella tenuissima) is a compact, evergreen grass is ideal for a gravel garden or a spot towards the front of a border. It combines well with perennials and other grasses, and moves beautifully in a breeze.

Fine, arching Mexican feathergrass 8


The violet blue flowers of catmint (Nepeta) are much loved by bees. When crushed, the grey-green, velvety foliage produces an aromatic scent. Plant in the centre of a border or in a gravel garden. Cut back after flowering for more blooms.

Violet-blue catmint flowers 9


Pittosporums are evergreen shrubs that will give structure and interest all year round in a border. Position pittosporums away from cold, drying winds. Prune lightly in spring if needed. Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Tom Thumb’, shown here, has attractive dark foliage.

Dark foliage of Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Tom Thumb’ 10

Trachelospermum jasminoides

This beautiful, waxy-leafed, evergreen climber has white, jasmine-like flowers that are beautifully scented. Give star jasmine a sheltered, sunny spot. It’s drought tolerant, but be sure to water well initially to help the plant establish.

Shiny leaves and white flowers of Trachelospermum jasminoides 11

Sea hollies

Beautiful and long-lasting, sea hollies such as Erygnium x zabelii have tough, silvery leaves that never suffer in drought. Many species come from mountainous regions, where their long tap roots venture deep into the soil in search of water.

Spiky, blue sea holly flowers 12


This statuesque mullein, Verbascum bombyciferum, sends up tall branching spires of yellow flowers, enclosed in woolly down. Rosettes of large furry leaves resist water loss and are soft to the touch.

Tall spears of yellow mullein flowers 13


Artemisias such as ‘Powis Castle’ and ‘Silver Queen’ use two strategies against water loss – its leaves are both silvery and very finely cut. It forms a resilient, aromatic woody sub-shrub that adds a feathery dash of silver to borders.

Feathery, silver artemisia foliage 14


Sedums are drought-resistant succulents that produce domes of starry pink, ruby or white flowers in late summer and autumn. Taller sedums may flop, but ‘Matrona’, shown here, stands well, with the glaucous foliage turning a rich purple when water is scarce.

Glaucous, purple foliage and deep pink flowers of Sedum ‘Matrona’ Advertisement

Many thanks to Todd’s Botanics for their help with this feature.

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