Plants for zone 9

Zone 9 Drought Tolerant Plants: Growing Low Water Plants In Zone 9

Are you in the market for zone 9 drought tolerant plants? By definition, the term “drought tolerant” refers to any plant that has relatively low water requirements, including those that have adapted to arid climates. Selecting and growing low water plants in zone 9 isn’t difficult; the hard part is choosing from so many delightful options. (Keep in mind that even drought-tolerant plants need regular water until the roots are well established.) Read on to learn about a few annuals and perennials for arid zone 9 gardens.

Drought Tolerant Plants for Zone 9

There are a number of plants that can tolerate drought in zone 9. Below are some of the more common annuals and perennials suitable to growing in these gardens (note in zone 9 many “annuals” may be considered perennial, coming back each year):


Dusty miller is appreciated for its silvery-gray foliage. This hardy annual prefers rich, well-drained soil and full sunlight.

Cosmos produce feathery foliage and daisy-like blooms of pink, white and maroon with yellow or reddish-brown eyes.

Zinnias are cheery plants that brighten up any spot in the garden. Look for this annual in a virtual rainbow of bold and pastel colors.

Marigolds are popular, low-maintenance sun lovers available in several sizes and sunny shades of red, yellow, gold and mahogany.

Also known as moss rose, portulaca loves intense heat and bright sunlight. Look for this ground-hugging plant in a rainbow of intense colors.


Echinacea, commonly known as coneflower, is a vibrant native plant that thrives in nearly any well-drained soil.

Salvia is a real attention getter with vibrant blooms appearing throughout most of summer and fall. This plant is available in a variety of colors, including blue, red and purple.

Yarrow is an easy-to-grow, low-maintenance prairie plant available in yellow, orange, red, pink and white.

Lantana is an annual in cooler climates but is considered perennial in the warmer climates of zone 9. Lantana produces blooms of orange, pink, red, yellow, purple, white and several pastel shades, depending on the variety.

Native to the Mediterranean, lavender is a sweet-smelling, drought-tolerant plant that stands out in arid zone 9 gardens.

Russian sage is a shrubby perennial with silvery-gray foliage and bluish-purple blooms. This plant grows in nearly any sunny spot, as long as the soil drains well.

Veronica is a long-blooming plant with tall spikes of purple, blue, pink or white blooms. Locate this plant in bright sunlight and well-drained soil.

Penstemon, with masses of bright red blooms, draws hordes of butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden.

Agastache is a tall, sun-loving plant that produces tall spikes of purple or white blooms throughout summer and autumn.

Yucca is a perennial evergreen shrub with several species available that not only tolerate drought in zone 9 but have attractive sword-like foliage and many produce nice looking flower spikes.

Drought-Tolerant Plants For Your Florida Native Landscape

As in nature, so also in gardens and commercial landscapes, water is a crucial factor for plant growth. The absence of adequate rainfall or irrigation for a period of time can lead to drought stress, which can reduce plant growth. Drought stress happens when water loss from the plant far exceeds the ability of the plant’s roots to absorb water and when the water content drops low enough to hamper normal plant processes. Even though Florida gets an annual average of over 50 inches of rain, plants in the sunshine state may encounter drought-stress between rains year-round.

How Does Drought Stress Affect Plants?
When plants do not get enough water, they stop growing. Plants react by cutting down on photosynthesis and other plant processes so as to reduce water usage. With progressive water loss, leaves of some plant species also can turn pale or brown. Foliage often withers away and, if the plant is not irrigated, the plant does eventually die.

Most of Florida’s rain falls between the months of May and October so plants have to deal with dry weather the rest of the time. Check out the map of the U.S. Drought Monitor for Florida to see if your area is considered to be in severe drought condition. Moreover, with water restrictions in place permanently and with limited and stressed water resources, many home gardeners prefer to use drought-tolerant plants in their landscape to reduce the likelihood of plant injury during dry weather. Wilcox Nursery & Landscape has drawn up a list of beautiful plants that are not only beautiful but drought-tolerant too.

List Of Drought Tolerant Plants
These landscape plants can tolerate drought stress better than most others, but new plantings will still need regular watering for 6 weeks to one year (depending on species) or more, until they become established. Trees that are larger than two inches caliper will take longer to establish. Use this short list to choose drought-tolerant plants that are just right for your garden and property.

1. Blanket Flower
Gaillardia pulchella or Blanket Flower is a Florida native that is drought resistant and salt tolerant. The nectar in its bright gold and red flowers that appear throughout summer attracts butterflies. This sun-loving annual reseeds and is also really easy to grow. It makes a great companion plant with popular Beach Sunflower.

2. Firebush
Hamelia patens or Firebush is an easy to grow shrub that is extremely colorful with tube-shaped yellow-and-orange flowers and is a favorite among butterflies and hummingbirds! Native to Tampa Bay, the Firebush can be grown with other butterfly-attracting annuals or perennials in garden beds or borders or even in containers. It is a great companion plant with native Pityopsis grami.

3. Beautyberry
Callicarpa americana or Beautyberry grows to about 5-9 ft. tall and produces delicate lavender flowers and clusters of highly decorative purple berries in late summer and fall. Beautyberry is very easy to grow and this drought-tolerant shrub prefers well drained soil and full sun or light shade.

4. Buttonwood
Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus) is a drought-tolerant Florida native plant with leaves. These landscape plants can be used as stunning hedge, accent or small tree. The silver form is popular for the foliage, color and contrast. Read this article to learn more about plant care for Buttonwood.

5. Saw Palmetto
Serenoa repens, better known as the native Saw Palmetto, is ideal for growing in the Florida yard as it can withstand the driest of conditions. It is especially great for highly salt exposed yards. This palm grows 4-12 ft. tall, with fan shaped leaves that may be 1 1/2 to 2 ft across with sharp, saw-like teeth, along the petiole. It will thrive in sun or shade. The silver / blue form is popular for the foliage contrast.

6. Longleaf Pine
Longleaf Pine or Yellow Pine (Pinus palustris), is a classic, once dominant pine of the Southeast with a thick, reddish-brown, and scaly bark. This stately pine tree reaches 80-100 ft. and develops a dense and majestic crown as the tree matures. This magnificent tree has graceful, long needles; likes the sun and prefers well drained soil. The needles provide a gold standard in mulch and the trees are very beneficial to wildlife.

7. Spiderwort
Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana) is a Florida native perennial that grows upright 1 to 2 ft. in height. It displays clumps of showy blue, three-petaled one-inch flowers on top of the stems. With a long blooming season through spring, this plant likes sun or shade. Cut it back after heavy spring bloom and they will continue to bloom through summer and fall.

8. Seagrapes
Seagrapes (Coccoloba uvifera) is quite a drought-tolerant evergreen, ranging from a low shrub along coastal areas to a tree up to 35 feet high in more frost-free growing conditions. Seagrapes have large, leathery, stiff and roundish leaves from 4 to 8 inches wide that are silky bronze to wine red when young; later maturing to dark green with prominent veins. It produces an abundance of small, white, fragrant flowers on long racemes in late spring or early summer.

9. Bluestem Palmetto
The blue / green foliage of the Bluestem Palmetto (Sabal minor) makes it an ideal landscape accent plant for Florida. For a tropical effect, you can grow it in shade or partial sunny areas. It can tolerate any soil condition, from consistently moist soil to constantly dry locations.

Even if Florida goes through extended dry periods, you no longer need to waste water or run up large water use bills and your yard no longer has to suffer. Create a landscape design using any of these drought tolerant shrubs, palms, trees and flowers. Wilcox Nursery & Landscape is here to help you fully customize your design, keeping the local conditions in mind.

  • Austin, D.F. Pine Rockland Plant Guide. Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resource Management, Miami, FL.
  • Black, R.J. 1997. Native Florida Plants for Home Landscapes. University of Florida-IFAS Publication ENH-25, Gainesville.
  • Black, R.J., and E.F. Gilman. 1997. Your Florida Guide to Bedding Plants: Selection, Establishment and Maintenance. University of Florida Press, Gainesville.
  • Broschat, T.K., and A.W. Meerow. 1991. Betrock’s Reference Guide to Florida Landscape Plants. Betrock Information Systems, Inc., Hollywood, FL.
  • Burks, K.C. 2000. Non-native Plant Species Restricted by Federal, State, or Local Law in Florida. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Invasive Plant Management, Tallahassee, FL.
  • FLEPPC. 2001. List of Florida’s Invasive Species. Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. Internet:
  • Florida Water Management Districts. 2001. Water Wise Florida Landscapes: Landscaping to Promote Water Conservation Using the Principles of XeriscapeTM.
  • Gilman, E.F., and R.J. Black. 1999. Your Florida Guide to Shrubs: Selection, Establishment and Maintenance. University of Florida Press, Gainesville.
  • Haynes, J.L. 2001. Virtual Cycad Encyclopedia. Palm & Cycad Societies of Florida, Inc. Internet:
  • Haynes, J.L. 2001. Virtual Palm Encyclopedia. Palm & Cycad Societies of Florida, Inc. Internet:
  • Hubbuch, C. 2001. Water shortage continues… and not a drop to irrigate. Garden Views. Fairchild Tropical Garden, Miami, FL.
  • Maidman, K. 1997. Ten great palms. Garden News. Fairchild Tropical Garden, Miami, FL.
  • Meerow, A.W. 1991. Native Shrubs for South Florida. University of Florida-IFAS Publication EES-59, Gainesville.
  • Meerow, A.W. 1996. Native Trees for South Florida. University of Florida-IFAS Publication EES-57, Gainesville.
  • Meerow, A.W. 1999. Native Ground Covers for South Florida. University of Florida-IFAS Publication EES-60, Gainesville.
  • Meerow A.W., and R.J. Black. 1993. Enviroscaping to Conserve Energy: Ground Covers for South Florida. University of Florida-IFAS Publication EES-39, Gainesville.
  • Miami-Dade County. 2001. Dade County Landscaping Manual. Miami-Dade County, FL.
  • Misitis, M. 1997. Salt Tolerant Plants for Dade County. UF/Miami-Dade County Extension publication, Homestead, FL.
  • Osorio, R. 2001. A Gardener’s Guide to Florida’s Native Plants. University of Florida Press, Gainesville.
  • Riffle, R.L. 1998. The Tropical Look: An Encyclopedia of Dramatic Landscape Plants. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
  • Scheper. J. 2001. Floridata™. Internet.
  • Whistler, W. A. 2000. Tropical Ornamentals: A Guide. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
  • Wilson, J. 1994. Landscaping with Herbs. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA.

List Of Best Drought Tolerant Plants In Florida

  • #4 October,2018

When you are planning landscape design of your lawn or garden in Florida, aesthetics, and functionality surely come first. But there is also the important factor of choosing the right variant of flowers and plants according to the local climatic conditions.

Given the strong drought-like conditions that are prevalent in the state, even the best-dressed garden can look distraught and barren if the chosen plants do not survive.

We have for you a list of the best drought-tolerant plants giving you a good choice for preparing the perfect landscape design.

Beach Sunflower: Both drought-tolerant and salt-tolerant too making it an ideal choice for those of you that are near the beach. They are also good for places that get direct sunlight. Whether the upright or the prostrate variants make attractive garden borders.

Blanket Flower: Meant to create a blanket covering these are to be paired with the Beach Sunflower for creating eye-catching borders. These too bloom in direct sunlight and are salt-tolerant and drought-tolerant.

Beautyberry: The Beautyberry shrub grows both in direct sunlight and in the shade. They are capable of attaining a height of six to eight feet and give a bloom of lavender flowers along with purple berries in late summer to early fall.

Bluestem Palmetto: One of the hardiest varieties of palm in the world, it is capable of putting up with almost any type of soil conditions. It has a love for shades and also looks great when planted around tall trees.

Firebush: A plant that loves direct sunlight and also tolerates shade, the Firebush is a fine plant to have in the garden. The red tubular flowers give it its name and also attract butterflies making your garden a hub of nature’s activities!

Golden Aster: If you are looking for a plant that can stand up to sandy soil and plenty of direct sunlight, the Golden Aster is the one to opt for. Growing up to a couple of feet, it brings yellow flowers during its long blooming periods.

Longleaf Pine: It is suitable for the southern weather and grows up to 100 feet in height. These stately pines add value to any landscape and property. Also, their long needle-shaped leaves make very good mulch.

Seagrapes: This evergreen low shrub is extremely drought-tolerant and can grow up to 35 feet when placed in frost-free conditions. It makes for attractive sidewall in the lawn with the thick green foliage and abundance of small and white fragrant flowers from late spring to early summer.

Silver Buttonwood: Capable of thriving in extreme drought conditions of very little water, it is among the hardest variants to survive in Florida. Use it as an accent or hedge with its silver leaves adding to the visual effect of the landscape.

Silver Saw Palmetto: The plant is capable of withstanding the driest of weathers and can thrive both in direct sunlight as well as in the shade. It can withstand salty conditions growing to 12 feet with fan-shaped leaves that are a good contrast foliage choice with its silver and blue contrast.

Spiderwort: Again, a Florida native, the shrub grows 1 to 2 feet and upright and like both sun and the shade. The showy blue and three-petaled flowers of an inch lends a stunning look to the side hedges.

Trumpet Honeysuckle: Native to Florida, the vine is ideal for any greenscape. Its bright yellow and red tubular flowers that inter-twine add a riot of colors in the right places and also attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

Four drought tolerant plants with orange flowers

Posted on April 13, 2015 by Karen Boness

Orange is a happy color. It is associated with good health, vitality and vitamin C. But according to some research, the color orange can also be considered “abrasive and crass.” I’ve had just as many clients specifically ask for plants with orange colored flowers as I have had clients pointedly request not to have them. People have strong reactions to orange.

Lion’s Tail

Personally, I love orange flowered plants. They are bright, bold and beautiful! They stand up to the hot summer sun. When I put together a planting plan, though, I use orange carefully. Too much orange can come across as garish in a small, constructed landscape. You can use orange to catch the eye and direct a person’s perspective into and through the landscape. Try these four:

Eschscholzia californica – California Poppy. Our much beloved California state flower is a freewheeling annual with delicate, finely divided, fern-like grey-green leaves and brilliant orange flowers that appear early spring through mid-summer. The flowers love to open up wide with the sun and then close up when it is foggy, rainy or dark. They are truly stunning when planted in large patches. You can buy plant starts at the nursery but poppies are very easy to grow from seed. They grow and survive with just a little winter rainfall and don’t need to be irrigated. California poppies reseed generously. They will move around your garden over the years. You might want to collect the seed pods before they burst if you are concerned about containing your California poppies to one area.

Aloe sp. – Aloe. Aloe is a tough succulent with mildly spiny, long, pointy leaves. Aloe plants typically have green or grey green leaves but there are many cultivars with leaf variegation, stripes and other subtle colors. Some aloes grow less than a foot and others reach 10 feet into the air. They can take full sun but prefer afternoon shade in really hot locations. I’ve seen many aloes perform quite nicely in fairly shady conditions although the nurseries don’t typically recommend them as shade plants. Many aloes have reddish-orange flowers that emerge on stalks above the foliage. Aloe “Blue Elf” has orange blooms throughout the winter and spring. It can grow to 2’ wide and tall. Aloe “Johnson’s Hybrid” is slightly smaller and has spotted leaves. Please note that some aloes are frost tender. They look great in pots, too.

Leonotis leonurus – Lion’s Tail. Lion’s Tail (pictured) is a large woody shrub that can grow 4-6’ tall and wide. It has narrow green leaves and fuzzy orange flowers that wrap around the end of a stalk in whorls – sort of like a lion’s tail. When happy, a lion’s tail will bloom all summer and fall. Deadheading can improve its appearance and encourage more blossoms. Lion’s Tail can sometimes become gangly but this problem is easily remedied with some modest pruning. Lion’s Tail can survive on little or no water. It hails from South Africa where it is called Wild Dagga. The plant is good for bird habitat.

Lantana hybrids – Lantana. Lantana is a fast growing, sun-loving ground cover from the tropics. It is known for its beautiful clusters of very tiny flowers and its prolific, long lasting bloom period. Lantana is frost tender and can be killed by hard freezes. Most of the hybrids are 1-4’ tall and spread 6-8’ wide. Lantana “Tangerine” and Lantana “Spreading Sunset” both have lovely orange flowers and grow 2’ tall and 8-wide. Lantana is a fantastic butterfly plant.

This article is the fourth in a series dedicated to drought tolerant plants organized by flower color. Previous articles covered yellow, red, and blue flowering plants.

Karen Boness is a Sonoma based landscape designer, certified arborist ISA WE-9654A, and licensed landscape contractor #974035. Her business is Wild Willow Landscape Design. 707.481.8561.

Drought conditions have forced extreme water conservation measures in Los Angeles gardens and it shows!

I’ve never seen so many parched looking lawns, especially now that we are allowed to water our yards only two days per week.

What Angelenos need are bright, colorful drought-tolerant plants for their gardens!

Fortunately for me, I’ve always had a “plant-driven yard” with little to no lawn to look after so my yard is still looking great!

How is your yard holding up?

Does it need a color injection?

I have an idea for you.

Juice up your garden with orange plants

My daughter Maya and I can’t help but feel energized and refreshed in this garden, overrun with orange Nasturtiums!

I’m not saying to have an “all orange” garden, I’m just suggesting that you add this powerful, spirit-lifting color to your garden!

Your purple plants will welcome the company and so will your sad lawn.

Check out these low maintenance, low water, orange plants:

Orange California poppy Eschscholzia californica) in bloom.

The orange, California poppy is the California state flower. Cheerful and bright, don’t let the wiry stem and paper-thin petals fool you into believing that it is “just” an ephemeral flower!

Once the California poppy sets seed in your yard, it will be back and spread its cheer all over your neighborhood in the spring.

The California poppy seems to need very little care, (water, fertilizing), it doesn’t even need permission to be in your yard!

“Spreading Sunset” variety of lantana provides profuse orange/red flowers year-round in frost-free areas.

Give it full sun and it will bring the butterflies to your garden!

Aloe “Grassy Lassie” does equally well planted in the ground or in a container.

Deep green narrow leaves with bright orange flowers that bloom most of the year.

Towering, Anigozanthos “Orange Cross,” (kangaroo paw) is a tall airy plant as well as an evergreen perennial.

Full sun, occasional water in summer.

Attracts hummingbirds and compliments!

I can’t remember when this Arctotis “Sun Spot Orange” has not been in bloom in my garden!

I just keep deadheading and more flowers come!

Compact, mounding habit and evergreen, bright tangerine flowers.

Arctotis pairs well with silvery Senneccio and red Salvia.

Only 3 colors, but large impact!

Vining, Campsis radicans, (trumpet vine) thrives in my garden with lots of sunshine and some neglect!

Phormium “Rainbow Queen” sports an olive green to bronze central stripe and apricot margins.

This stately plant sets off other plants around it.

“Rainbow Queen” phormium and orange lantana.

Shades of orange, coral, and bronze.

Why stop at orange plants when you can detail a simple potted jade plant with recycled, tumbled orange glass!

On “Garden Police,” my co-host Michael Glassman and I created a front yard xeriscape garden and painted the shutters and front door orange, “terra cotta.”

Don’t forget your house can be part of the garden color scheme too.

Looking for more water-wise garden design ideas?

Subscribe to Eden Makers blog for notification of new blog posts!

Please join the EdenMakers community on Facebook and Subscribe to my Youtube, “EdenMakers Channel!”

I answer 100% of all questions on my social media platforms.

See you there.

Looking for plants that are suited for our hot summers that don’t require much watering?

Here is our list of ten drought-tolerant native plants for Houston. While most do well in full sun, we’ve included a few that do well in shade too.

Native plants. The term has different meanings for different gardeners. There are Texas natives, US natives and those plants that act like natives. All in all, what most of us want in our garden are low maintenance plants that are attractive and functional. Plants that are not invasive and are beneficial to wildlife. When you plant a garden, it is not just for you – it is a habitat for all living things around you.

1 Texas Lantana (Lantana horrida also referred to as Lantana urticoides)
A native to Texas, this variety of Lantana has yellow to orange flowers and attracts butterflies. It is very drought-tolerant as well as salt tolerant. Deer resistant. Hardy in our zone 9, but may need some protection in severe winters. Prefers well-draining soil. Full to part sun. Spreading shrub 3-6 ft. Blooms all summer long. NATIVE.

Texas Lantana

2Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’)
This perennial coneflower has bright golden yellow flowers with black centers. A drought-tolerant perennial with large blooms up to 5 inches across that makes great cut flowers. Full to part sun. A favorite in native gardens in Houston. NATIVE.

Black-eyed Susan

3Eastern Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Drought tolerant native that is a favorite of butterflies. Prolific bloomer from spring through summer. Tall stems with soft lavender petals attached to an iridescent cone. It prefers full sun to partial shade in well-draining fertile soils. 2-5 feet tall. Makes long-lasting cut flowers. An outstanding performer throughout our hot summer. NATIVE.

Purple Coneflower

4Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii)
A drought-tolerant perennial that flowers continuously from late spring until hard frost. Prefers full to part sun. Grows about 3 ft tall and as wide. Red flowers with pale green small leaves. Attracts hummingbirds! NATIVE.

Autumn Sage

5Gulf Coast Muhly aka Pink Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris)
This tough native perennial grass with a large, airy seed head grows is stunning when planted in masse. The spikelets are purple and in fall the plant takes on a feathery, deep pink hue. Drought-tolerant. Full to part sun. Clumping habit 2-3 ft. tall. NATIVE.

Incorporating some plants with a spiky feathery texture adds visual interest in your garden. It also adds gentle motion in the garden as the spikes sway in the breeze.

Pink Muhly Grass

6Chaste Tree, Vitex (Vitex agnus-castus)
This small deciduous tree (or large multi-trunked shrub) blooms profuse spikes of lavender flowers. It blooms heavily in the early summer, and then sporadically throughout the summer and fall. Vitex is heat, drought, and pest tolerant — which makes it an excellent choice for low maintenance gardens. ACTS LIKE NATIVE.

There are several color variations available, such as ‘Shoal Creek’, a lovely lilac color; and ‘Montrose Purple’, deep color with longer spikes. Read more about Vitex.


7Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)
Aspidistra elatior (aka “cast-iron plant”), is a tough, drought-tolerant shade plant, once established. Thrives in dense shade and adds texture and vertical interest with its broad dense green leaves. Prune any cold damaged foliage in late winter. New growth will emerge from the base of the plant in spring. Grows in clumps. It also makes a nice low light houseplant. ACTS LIKE NATIVE.

Aspidistra elatior

8Firebush, Hummingbird Bush (Hamelia patens)
This tropical produces long tubular flowers in shades of red, orange and yellow, perfect for attracting hummingbirds. Plants perennialize in Houston gardens, but top growth may freeze to the ground in especially cold winters. Blooms from late-spring through late-fall. Full sun. NATIVE.

Hummingbird Bush, Mexican Firebush

9Blue Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata)
Plumbago is basically maintenance-free. No need to fertilize or worry about insects. Once established, it’s fairly drought tolerant, but may need supplemental water when things stay really dry.

It grows in sun, but it also grows really well in partial shade, as long as it gets adequate light. At maturity, it will be 3-4 feet high and 4-6 feet wide. ACTS LIKE NATIVE.

Blue Plumbago

10Esperanza, Yellow Bells (Tecoma stans)

This deciduous shrub produces clusters of large tubular flowers in shades of bright yellow, to apricot, orange, and red. A hummingbird favorite in full sun. You can find this plant growing wild in the rocky slopes near San Antonio, northern Mexico, and Arizona. Blooms from spring through fall. At maturity, it grows 3 to 6 ft in height and 3 to 4 feet in width. Stands up to our Texas heat and is drought-tolerant. Read more about Esperanza. NATIVE.

Yellow Bells, Esperanza

This list is some of our favorite drought-tolerant native plants. There are lots more that are suitable for Houston area gardens. Want to learn more about native plants? Come to Buchanan’s.

If you want a low maintenance, beautiful garden – start with natives. It’s not too late to plant. Visit Buchanan’s Native Plants today and our native plant experts will help you pick out the right plants for your garden.

Here are a few helpful links about native plants for Texas:

Native Plant Society of Texas
Explore plants at the Wildflower Center

Did you enjoy the post?
Share with someone you know…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *