13 Best Drought Resistant Plants for your Garden

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If you are looking for drought resistant plants that don’t gulp too much water, then you’ll love this article.

Besides, not everyone has the time to water their plants more frequently especially during the summer heat. Furthermore, there are water restrictions in most regions and that’s not mentioning a high-water bill you get at the end of the month.

If you’re not lucky to receive the much-needed rainfall, your plants are likely to die due to lack of moisture.

Luckily, there’s a way out of this dilemma:

And that’s planting low maintenance, drought tolerant plants that you can interplant with other non-hardy garden plants.

But most importantly, under such conditions, it’s advisable to mulch all your plants to retain whatever little moisture available.

In today’s article, I’m going to discuss 13 hardy and low maintenance shrubs and other plants you can use in your garden.

Sounds good?

Let’s get started:

13 Drought Resistant Plants in Summary

  1. Lavender - Lavandula Spp
  2. Jade plant
  3. Aloe – Aloe spp
  4. Rock rose - Cistus spp
  5. Palms
  6. Watsonia
  7. Crown of thorns - Euphorbia milii
  8. Cone flower - Echinacea purpurea   
  9. Mescal Agave
  10. Jerusalem sage - Phlomis fruticosa
  11. African lily
  12. Lantana
  13. Artemesia

Top Drought Resistant Plants for your Garden

1. Lavender (Lavandula Spp)

Lavender is an easy to grow Zone 5- 8 plant with low maintenance requirements (drought resistant).

According to Heritage Garden lavender can tolerate many growing conditions but thrives well in warm, well-drained soil and lots of sunlight.

But if you live in hotter areas, once in a while you will need to expose your lavender to an afternoon shade.

Wondering how you can achieve this?

Well, growing lavender in pots will definitely help as it is easy for you to move them around.

However, whichever way you grow your lavender, it is important to practice good plant care. This involves feeding them lightly with a small amount of slow release fertilizer especially at the start of the growing season.

Alternatively, add compost around the plants to provide your plants with plenty of nutrients for longer periods.

As much as lavender is a drought tolerant plant, it needs watering once in a while. So, water your container/ ground grown lavender when the soil is completely dry. Otherwise your plants will be susceptible to root rot and fungal infections due to too much water.

As for your young, newly planted lavender, keep the soil evenly moist for the first year of plant’s growth.

Pro Tip: Fertilizing your lavender is important, but avoid doing so in fall as this will lead to production of tender shoots that cannot withstand winter.

2. Jade Plant

Did you know that Jade plants are both trees and succulents with ability to purify air in your home?

You can easily grow these drought resistant plants in your garden and in pots as well. Just keep the soil around your jade plant moist. (Only water when the soil is very dry)

Jade plants can adopt to different light conditions hence you can place them anywhere in your home.

For good performance of your plants, use fast draining soil/ potting mix as these drought tolerant plants hate sitting on water.

Want to maintain your jade plant’s vigor?

Then feed them a weak solution of liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season.

Caution: Jade plant is toxic to cats and dogs.

3. Aloe

Drought Resistant Plants

Aloe is a succulent plant that grows in large rosettes and thrives in hot and dry climates.

It is an easy to care drought tolerant plant with minimal water requirements and is less susceptible to pests and diseases. Hence a good choice for your garden.

This drought resistant plant is widely known around the globe for its medicinal uses. Aloe gel aids in healing of cuts and burns.

It also moisturizes and softens your skin and at the same time offers anti- bacterial as well as anti- fungal effects. Not forgetting its anti-viral effects also.

Moreover, aloe enhances cell regeneration and a good laxative too.

4. Rock Rose (Cistus spp)

Rock rose is an evergreen woody shrub that loves rocky habitats with relatively poor soils and can be grown in pots as well as on ground.

Plant your rock rose in a place with good drainage or use a potting mix that drains freely.

Just like any other plant, rock roses need to be cared for so, water your plants once every week for the first year of growth. After that water them once every three weeks depending on the weather.

Also, your rock rose needs to be fed, so apply a general purpose, slow release fertilizer once during spring and you are good to go.

Keep the surrounding of your rock roses clean by occasional weeding. Remove weeds manually by hand for your container grown plants or use herbicide for your ground grown plants.

There are several species of rock rose with flowers of different colors that leaves your garden looking beautiful throughout the season.

Examples of rock rose include; Buttercup, Traspberry Ripple, Jubilee and Fire Dragon.

5. Palms

Drought Resistant Plants

Want to enhance the beauty of your garden with a tropical appearance?  Try out palms and you will be surprised at how your garden changes.

Due to their versatile nature, palms have multiple uses in a garden. For example, multi- trunk palms are excellent when used as accent or specimen plants.

These hardy plants require slightly acidic, well - drained soil rich in organic matter.  So, start regular fertilizer application once your palms produce new leaves.

Palms require deep watering immediately after planting.

Leave the root area evenly moist and never saturated especially during the first four to six months after planting.

Once your palms have fully established, they can easily withstand drought and therefore you get to enjoy their beauty all year round.

Examples of hardy palms include Chamaerops humilis, Jubea chilensis

6. Watsonia

Watsonia is an easy to care cut flower with a South African origin characterized by sword- shaped leaves that brings accent points to your garden.

Due to their bulbaceous nature, watsonias are hardy and self- sufficient. You just need to feed them with a liquid bulb fertilizer in early spring and you are done.

Additionally, ensure  regular watering when your plants are in bloom.

The orange, pink, purple, yellow or red flowers of watsonia in spring and summer leaves your garden amazingly beautiful.

7. Crown of Thorns

If you need a unique drought tolerant plant for your garden, or as a flowering houseplant - crown of thorns plant is the best choice.

Classified as a succulent, crown of thorns (Euphorbia milii) has thick fleshy leaves and stems adapted for water storage. One of the many reasons that makes this plant such a great choice for warmer areas since it's heat tolerant.

Crown of thorns doesn’t mind drying out so, it makes a good drought resistant plant for gardens and pots – learn more about the best pot planters you can use.

8. Lantana

Drought Resistant Plants

Lantana is a drought resistant perennial shrub with low-maintenance requirements and can withstand high heat.

Moreover, lantana loves nutrient poor soil and full sun, a characteristic that makes it one of the best hardy plants for your garden.

Studies have shown that lantana also has an ability of repelling mosquitoes hence an added advantage.

In Florida, this plant is among the most sort after drought resistant ornamental shrubs in nurseries and garden centers.

Nb: Lantana is toxic to cats and dogs.

9. Mescal Agave

Mescal agave is an evergreen, perennial succulent drought tolerant plant from Mexico.

The ridged, fleshy leaves of mescal agave forms eye- catching rosettes especially when surrounded by some rocks and a gravel mulch.

With good drainage and full sun this plant will maintain its beauty all year round.

When it comes to feeding mescal agave is one of the most economical plants as only young plants require feeding with a liquid fertilizer especially when you want a faster growth.

Just do not fertilize your mascal agave during winter.

10. Coneflower

Coneflower also commonly known as purple rudbeckia, purple coneflower and eastern coneflower is an herbaceous drought tolerant perennial plant that is mostly used in drought tolerant gardens and rock garden landscape themes.

Echinacea purpurea prefers well drained soil and full sun. The soil though must be rich in organic matter.

This hardy plant is deep rooted and this enables it to pull moisture well below the soil surface.

Additionally, the narrow, lance-shaped leaves of coneflower help in reducing water loss through the leaves and the hairs on the leaves traps moisture from the atmosphere.

Coneflower is commonly used in the prevention and treatment of colds.

11. Artemisia

Artemisia also commonly known as bugworts, wormwood and sagebrush can be shrubs, perennials, or annuals, evergreen or deciduous.

This plant is characterized by gray, aromatic, often divided foliage. Artemisia is useful as a spreading border for the flower bed.

Other than that, artemisia is excellent in repelling insect such as whiteflies, false codling moth (FCM), flea beetles, cabbage looper, and carrot fly.

Though some people may argue that artemisia is not a drought tolerant plant due to its appearance, the fact is that it is actually one. This plant has extensive rhizomes that store water for the plant to use during dry times.

Secondly, artemisia is found in dry to semi - arid natural habitats.

12. African lily – Agapanthus

drought resistant plants

African Lily is a bulbaceous, herbaceous perennial plant that is mostly used as a container plant as well as in rock garden landscapes.

Agapanthus loves full sun (minimum 6 hours of direct sunlight a day) hence a good choice for drought tolerant landscaping.

Moreover, this plant is characterised by slim fleshy leaves, fleshy rhizomes and succulent flower spikes. All these makes it be one of the best drought resistant plants for your garden.


13. Jerusalem Sage

Jerusalem sage is a semi woody evergreen drought tolerant plant that grows well in full sun.

Phlomis fruticosa loves well-drained dry to moist soil/ potting mix and can adapt to various soil types including sandy, clay as well as aaverage soil.

The leaves of Jerusalem sage are wrinkled, a common characteristic with most drought resistant plants. The underside of the leaves is covered with fine hairs and this helps in trapping moisture on the leaf surface.

This easy to grow plant is bee friendly and attracts birds and butterflies.


There you have it!

The list of 13 best drought resistant plants to use in your garden.

Even if there is no much rain your garden will remain just as beautiful because you have chosen the right plants.

Remember, it is always good to work with nature instead of against it – You can never win anyway!

As always, let me know your thoughts in the comment below.