Top 15 Drought Tolerant Plants for Landscaping

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The summer months can be harsh for a garden, not only is there a constant need for shade, but also for water. Those living in a hotter region of the world will feel this pain all too much, with significant attention being required for the flowers and fauna in your yard. Drought resistant plants can be your answer and provide you with the diversity and shade your garden needs.

Top 15 Drought-Intolerant Plants for Landscaping

There are plenty of options for those looking drought-tolerant flowers and plants, but we have picked out fifteen of our favorite.

1. Chilean Wine Palm

Drought Tolerant Plants

Height: 60’ – 80’
Spread : 20’ – 25’

Palm trees are a staple of tropical climates, and as such can tolerate drought conditions whilst still adding beauty to any garden. The Chilean Wine Palm is one of the best palms available, adding flair to your backyard as well as being a drought-resistant plant that can provide shade. 

Unlike other palms, the Chilean Wine Palm is extremely hardy, growing slowly with a thick trunk and solid base.

Other varieties of palms

  • Mexican Blue Palm (brahea armata)
  • European Fan Palm (chamaerops humilis)
  • Canary Island Date Palm (phoenix canaeriensis)

2. Mescal Agave  (Agave Parryi)

Drought Tolerant Plants

Height: 1ft – 2ft
Spread: 2ft – 3ft

Those looking to add some texture and features to their garden may find Mescal Agave (also known as Parry’s Agave) an elegant solution. This drought-resistant succulent is commonly found in New Mexico and Arizona and can outlast dry seasons whilst retaining its evergreen luster.

Mescal Agave is a medium-sized perennial that looks great amongst other plants, or on its own surrounded by gravel and stone. 

3. Rock Rose

Drought Tolerant Plants

Height: 4ft – 6ft
Spread: 4ft – 6ft

A splash of color will never go amiss in any garden and the Rock Rose is a drought-resistant answer that can paint your yard with a bright and beautiful spectrum. These bushes can spread across a large area and blossom nicely, even during dry seasons. Rock Rose can be found in a variety of colors, but the Purple Rockrose is a flower that will be eye-catching under the sun.

Rock Rose is an easy plant to care for, only requiring full sun exposure and good drainage.

4. Striped Stemmed Aloe

Drought Tolerant Plants

Height : 6ft – 9ft
Spread : 3ft – 5ft

There are few better options for drought-tolerant plants than the Aloe plant, with its ability to withstand a variety of temperatures and a lack of water. The green spiky plant can grow tall and sprout pretty yellow flowers during the summer months, making it a subtle addition to your yard.

Aloe is another plant that is simple to plant and take care of, being easy to grow and requiring routine irrigation. Alternatively, there are other Aloe plants to pick from, such Aloe Vera which has medicinal properties.

Other varieties of Aloe:

  • Cape Aloe (Aloe Ferox)
  • Snake Aloe (Aloe Broomii)
  • Torch Aloe (Aloe Arborescens)
  • Arabian Aloe (Aloe rubroviolacea)

5. Sea Holly (Eryngium maritimum)

Drought Tolerant Plants

Height : 2ft – 3ft
Spread : 2ft – 3ft

It’s not always easy drought-tolerant flowering plants. However, the Sea Holly and its striking white/blue plumage can add contrast when positioned near other plants in your garden. Even among gravel, rock, and stone Sea Holly looks amazing and is a full sun, drought-tolerant plant that will always stand strong.

Other varieties of Sea Holly:

  • Blue Hobbit Sea Holly (Eryngium planum)
  • Flat Sea Holly (Eryngium planum)
  • Mediterranean Sea Holly (Eryngium bourgatii)

6. Palo Verde (Cercidium)

Drought Tolerant Plants

Height : 30ft 
Spread : 25ft

The Palo Verde can be a beneficial asset to any garden, with long, green branches that can provide the shade necessary on a hot day. Requiring minimal water, the Palo verde is a tough, drought-tolerant plant that fits well into any landscaping project.

Although these are large trees, palo verde plants are known for their rapid growth, especially the Blue palo verde and Mexican palo verde.

Other varieties of Palo Verde:

  • Blue palo verde (Cercidium floridum)
  • Border palo verde (P. Texana)
  • Mexican palo verde (Parkisonia aculeata)

7. Silver mound wormwood (Artemisia schmidtiana)

Drought Tolerant Plants

Height : 8’ – 10’
Spread : 1ft – 2ft

Silver mound wormwood is a perennial that can be placed in the garden on its own or paired with bright flowers for a visually pleasing statement piece.

This member of the artemisia family is proficient at handling drought conditions as well as being resistant to pests and disease. The southernwood variant of artemisia can be a good alternative for those looking for a drought-resistant shade plant.

Other varieties of artemisia:

  • White sage (Artemisia ludoviciana)
  • Powis castle

8. Mexican feathergrass (Stipa tenuissima)

Drought Tolerant Plants

Height: 12’ – 24’
Spread: 12’ – 24’

When planning a drought-resistant landscaping project, it can always be difficult to choose an ornamental plant that pairs with everything from other plants to gravel. The Mexican feather grass is one of the best options available, with its elegant leaves that will blow gracefully in the wind.

Other variations of Stipa:

  • New Zealand Wind Grass (Stipa arundinacea)
  • Golden oats (Stipa gigantea)

9. Cherry Helen verbascum

Drought Tolerant Plants

Height: 2ft – 4ft
Spread: 1ft – 2ft

Drought tolerant plants aren’t always known for their rich colors, but the Cherry Helen verbascum and it’s pink and red plumage make for a striking arrangement when paired with other plants in the garden. Other verbascum plants lend themselves well to gardens in hot climates and tend to feature interesting vertical sprouting patterns.

Other variations of verbascum:

  • Olympic mulain (Verbascum olympicum)
  • Nettle leaved mullein (verbascum chaixii)
  • Jackie verbascum

10. Eccentric coneflower (Echinacea)

Drought Tolerant Plants

Height : 1ft – 2ft
Spread : 1ft – 2ft

Another visually stunning flower, the Eccentric coneflower is vibrant and thrives in low moisture, making it a perfect member of your drought-tolerant garden. Not only is this plant attractive to the eyes, but it will also draw in the likes of bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

Other variations of Echinacea:

  • Sunrise coneflower
  • Sundown coneflower 
  • Tiki torch coneflower

11. Kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos flavidus)

Drought Tolerant Plants

Height : 3ft – 6ft
Spread : 2ft – 4ft

Kangaroo paw plants are typically used to brighten up the sides or corners of a garden and are eyecatching when planted amongst plain plants or grasses.

The large clusters of colorful flowers can spread far, making it a prime choice for those who want to fill space in their garden. Usually blooming in either red, yellow or orange, Kanagroo Paw is a subtle plant you should add to your yard. 

12. Japanese Spider Web (Fatsia japonica)

Drought Tolerant Plants

Height : 4ft – 5ft
Spread : 2ft – 3ft

One of the best drought-tolerant shade plants, the Japanese spider web can survive low-moisture conditions and loves being in the shade. It’s dark leaves and wide plumage allow it to stand out even under shade cover, as well as producing modest white flowers and black berries. 

13. English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Drought Tolerant Plants

Height: 1ft – 2ft
Spread:  1ft – 2ft

Lavender is a staple of gardens across the world, and it’s no surprise, it’s pleasant aroma and hardiness make it an excellent candidate for your yard.

Its versatility allows it to fittingly take space in any part of the garden; amongst flowers, as a centerpiece or along a gravel path. Not only is lavender an essential drought-tolerant perennial, but it also attracts butterflies and bees.

Varieties of lavender :

  • Rosea lavender
  • Folgate lavender
  • Miss Katherine lavender

 14. Snow White Tea Tree (Leptospermum scoparium)

Drought Tolerant Plants

Height : 4ft – 5ft
Spread : 4ft – 5ft

Suitable for borders, flower beds and planters, the Snow White tea tree and its white double flowers can add elegance to your garden. The tea tree will give the garden a Mediterranean vibe and is a full sun, drought-resistant plant that can remain pretty through the harsher months.

Other varieties of tea tree:

  • Red Damask Tea Tree
  • Ruby Glow Tea Tree

15. Beach Party Sedum

Height : 1ft – 2ft
Spread : 1ft

Beautiful, bright, and compact, the ‘Beach Party’ sedum is vibrant and loud, as well as handling drought conditions well. Growing rather hight, but with a thin spread, this plant looks excellent in any flower bed or amongst other foliage for a striking piece in the garden. The thick flower heads make it a great contrast when planted along the gravel.

Other varieties of sedum:

  • Matrona Sedum
  • Purple emperor (Sedum telephium)
  • Mr Goodbud Sedum 


Planting a garden can be difficult in drought conditions, with drought-tolerant landscaping requiring precise planning and careful choices. It’s easy to opt for plainer plants for these conditions, but with the plants mentioned above its possible to achieve a striking, vibrant and beautiful garden that will be a private oasis in the warmest of months.

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