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Drought Resistant Plants

February 8, 2022 Jill Raver
Filed in: Tree Information

Drought tolerant plants are a big deal. Gardeners love them. They save us time and money. States like California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah need them. Find out about drought resistant plants.


Drought Resistant Plants

Drought Resistant Plants Cassian Fountain Grass

Creating a Drought Tolerant Landscape

Here is a secret about plants in general. I know, I know, wow, gardening secrets so early on in a blog post! Don’t give it all away. Lol. I won’t, I promise! Anyway, back to it...Most plants develop a level of drought tolerance after 2 to 3 months or a year depending on the plant and the climate. This is great news for most of us who have normal levels of rainfall and will only need to supplement with hand watering in summer when it is really hot.


Drought Resistance

Drought Resistant Plants Miscanthus Maiden Grass

But, for this article I am going to focus on the most drought tolerant plants, ones that are ideal for the driest climates. These plants are so drought tolerant that they achieve the label, drought resistant. These plants will not need to be babied and watered everyday no matter where you live. Xeriscaping is another important term here. Xeric landscaping is a way of gardening that utilizes drought resistant plants in order to achieve a landscape that requires little to no supplemental watering. So let’s review…

Drought Tolerant Plant: Upon establishing, these plants require minimal supplemental watering in most climates

Drought Resistant Plant: These plants will not need to be hand watered in normal climates, and will only need to be watered occasionally in extremely dry climates once they are established. These plants are ideal for arid climates.

Xeric Plant: This term can be used interchangeably with drought resistant plant, and is often used interchangeably with drought tolerant plant, but drought resistant is probably a more correct synonym.


Drought Resistant Plants are Easy to Grow...But Don’t Forget That Establishment Period…

You always need to put some effort in with newly planted plants (no matter how drought tolerant or even resistant they are). For the first 1 to 3 months, water them deeply once or twice per week to get their roots moving, growing, and establishing! This will actually boost any and all plants into being more drought tolerant for their lifetime. So, do it! Some labor early on in your landscape will result in healthier, stronger plants that are low maintenance and more drought tolerant! Drought resistant plants are so easy to grow. Just don’t skip over this step and you will have the amazing, low maintenance, drought resistant landscape that you always wanted!

Now for the good stuff…


The Best Drought Resistant Plants

Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses are amazing landscape plants! They are perfect for adding rich texture to a xeriscape yard. Grasses are hardy plants that are naturally pest, disease, and deer resistant, low maintenance, salt, heat, pollution and drought tolerant, adaptable, and versatile. They function well in mixed beds and mass plantings and as accent and feature plants. 

Adagio Maiden Grass

Adagio Maiden Grass

Miscanthus sinensis 'Adagio'

Growing Zones: 5 to 9

Mature Size: 3 to 4 feet tall and wide


Cassian Fountain Grass

Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Cassian'

Growing Zones: 5 to 9

Mature Size: 2 to 3 feet tall and wide


Elijah Blue Fescue Grass 

Blue Fescue Grass

Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue'

Growing Zones: 4 to 10

Mature Size: 1 foot tall and wide


Little Zebra Maiden Grass

Miscanthus sinensis 'Little Zebra'

Growing Zones: 5 to 9

Mature Size: 3 to 4 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide


Pampas Grass

pampas grass - drought resistant plants

Cortaderia selloana

Growing Zones: 7 to 10

Mature Size: 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide


Shenandoah Switch Grass

Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah'

Growing Zones: 4 to 9

Mature Size: 3 to 4 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide


Succulents and Sedum

Succulents and sedum hold onto water well so they require very little. They are ideal for arid climates and many grow well in hot or cold conditions. These plants are really unique ground covers, and look amazing in shallow pots. 

Angelina Sedum

Sedum Angelina

Sedum Rupestre 'Angelina'

Growing Zones: 3 to 9

Mature Size: 1 foot tall and 1 to 2 feet wide

Sempervivum Green Wheel

Sempervivum 'Green Wheel'

Growing Zones: 4 to 9

Mature Size: 4 to 6 inches tall and 12 inches wide

Sempervivum Purple Beauty

Purple Beauty Succulent

Sempervivum 'Purple Beauty'

Growing Zone: 3 to 8

Mature Size: 3 to 4 inches tall and 6 to 8 inches wide

Sempervivum Red Beauty

Sempervivum ‘Red Beauty'

Growing Zones: 4 to 9

Mature Size: 3 to 4 inches tall and 6 to 8 inches wide

Sempervivum Sanford

Sanford Succulent

Sempervivum 'Sanford'

Growing Zones: 4 to 9

Mature Size: 3 to 4 inches tall and 6 to 8 inches wide

Sempervivum Sunset

Sempervivum tectorum ‘Sunset’

Growing Zones: 4 to 9

Mature Size: 1 to 2 inches tall and 4 to 6 inches wide


Other Drought Resistant Plants

Royal Purple Smoke Bush

Royal Purple Smoke Tree

Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple'

Growing Zones: 5 to 9

Mature Size: 10 to 15 feet tall and wide

Add bold purple color to your landscape with this large shrub. It has amazing purple cloud-like plumes in summer and purple leaves from spring to fall. Once established this drought tolerant plant requires no maintenance!

Walker’s Low Catmint

Walkers Low Catmint

 Nepeta x faassenii 'Walker's Low'

Growing Zones: 4 to 9

Mature Size: 1 foot tall and wide

This border plant provides pretty lavender flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. It can grow in harsh conditions and thrives on neglect.


If you are looking to add height to your landscape, try drought tolerant trees. Evergreen trees such as the Thuja Green Giant, Sky Pencil Holly, Italian Cypress, and Leyland Cypress are drought tolerant.

There you go. You have some exciting options for a true drought resistant landscape! Whether you live in a dry climate or you just don’t like to water, go ahead and start planting your xeriscape today with our drought resistant plants. Happy planting!

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