10 Best Drought Tolerant Perennials.

The hot dry summers and excessively rainy winters that are becoming typical due to climate change may be too much for many plants that are a regular feature of our home gardening environment.

We should think about choosing plants that have proved themselves in severe environments, whether we’re aiming to replace lawns or future-proof borders.

Plants that can survive in dry conditions have been developing for millennia, and numerous species now exist. They are able to preserve resources (both energy and water) when necessary and bloom when it is time to produce offspring.

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Gardening with drought-friendly plants (Amazon) by Tony Hall, Head of Temperate Collections at the Royal Botanic Gardens, London, recommends taking cues from the desert or the Mediterranean.

Assuming they have a good foundation, Mediterranean plants can survive almost everything. Plants with thin leaves, such as lavenders and rosemary, lose less water via transpiration and are thus also suitable.

Silvery hairy leaves help plants like Santolina and Stachys reflect the sun’s rays, allowing them to thrive in warmer conditions.

These plants can teach us a lot about gardening and how to make our yards more beautiful and functional. Tony suggests giving plants a few weeks to establish a strong root system before you stop watering them. ‘

Establishment is crucial because of the harsh weather conditions that plants must endure. When the earth is still warm in the autumn, plant them. By next summer, the plants will be well-established and should be able to depend on the groundwater you’ve provided.

Drought Tolerant

The Best Drought-Resistant Perennial Flowers

A garden full of Color and complexity may be created even if you’re adopting a more climate-appropriate approach to your yard.

  1. Baptism

  • Ideal conditions include slightly acidic sand.
  • 3–4 feet (90–120 cm) in height
  • Radius: 3–4 feet (90–120 centimeters)
  • From zone 3 through 9 (hardiness),

This natural prairie flower of North America is related to the lupin and is also a kind of seed. Baptisia australis is a tall, bushy perennial that is sometimes referred to as fake indigo due to its bluish-purple summer blooms and appealing glaucous green foliage.

It looks nice when planted at the end of a mixed border, especially when juxtaposed with kniphofia or achillea with their flat tops. However, its beauty transcends summer; the dried seed pods produce a striking winter silhouette.

New varieties of various colours have been developed as their popularity has grown. ‘Cherry Jubilee,’ ‘Pink Lemonade,’ ‘Dutch chocolate,’ ‘Vanilla Cream,’ and ‘Lemon Meringue’ are just a few of the compact plants in the Decadence line that come in a range of yellow, maroon, and pink hues. The Baptisia australis, or Blue False Indigo, Perennial is sold at Walmart


2.  Nemorosa Salvia

  • Recommended Conditions: sunny, well-drained, border areas
  • Size: 2 feet (60cm)
  • Span of 50cm/20in
  • Zones 5-9 for hardiness.

This compact perennial sage is ideal for providing vibrant summer Color to gardens and flowerbeds, and it works well with many other summer bloomers.

Salvia like full light and well-drained soil, so plant it there or in pots. You won’t have to water it often when it gets going. A wide range of cultivars, from deep purple to delicate pink, is available. Both “Caradonna” and “Amethyst” continue to be tremendous hits and are sure bets for success.

  1. Verbascum

Drought Tolerant

  • Ideal for gravel gardens and rustic backyards
  • Two feet (60cm) to five feet (150cm) in height
  • Distance between centres: 18 inches (45 centimetres) to 3 feet (60 centimetres)
  • Zones of hardiness: 5–8

Verbascums are short-lived hardy perennials or biennials with tall, colourful spikes that complement their appealing felty grey-green leaves in mixed gardens.


There is a broad variety of plant heights and colors, including acid yellow, pink, and purple. This plant is synonymous with the traditional cottage garden, although it also works well in the more modern gravel gardens.

Some species are effective self-seeders and will naturalize under the correct circumstances; being adept at detecting seedlings is thus essential. The giant species Verbascum olympicum and the shorter, pastel-colored ‘Southern Charm’ are both highly recommended.

Verbascum, Southern Charm Hybrid, may be purchased at Burpee

  1. Cardiovascular Lychnis

Drought Tolerant

  • White flowers, pink lilies, and lychnis coronaria
  • Superior for: dry, poor soil
  • 90 centimetres (3 feet) tall.
  • Widest point: 45cm/18in
  • From zone 3-8 hardiness


The silvery-grey Color of Lychnis coronaries’ leaves is a reliable sign of the plant’s ability to thrive in high temperatures and bright light. It’s a great option for areas prone to drought since it flourishes on dry, poor soils.

The blooming branches bear vivid magenta-pink flowers all summer long, and the felty leaves is an attractive bonus in the winter. The ‘Alba’ variety is available in white.

It is a short-lived perennial that will spread by its own seeds and become naturalized in garden borders. It requires little maintenance.

  1. African lily, or agapanthus

Drought Tolerant

  • Purple agapanthus Lilium africanus
  • Best Uses: Storage Units
  • 20in-50in (50cm-120cm) tall
  • 20in (50cm) – 2ft (60cm) spread

These South African plants are hardy enough to thrive in a variety of climates and soil types, yet they nevertheless manage to appear sophisticated thanks to their long stems, which bear enormous heads of tubular flowers and clever strappy leaves, which are sometimes even semi-evergreen.

They thrive in sunny containers or borders since they need little water, like well-drained soil, and are root-bound. From the little “Brilliant Blue” and “Poppin Purple” to the huge “RHS AGM winning” “Midnight Star,” there is a wide range of cultivars to choose from.

Protect them from frost and snow in the winter and mulch the beds in the autumn. There is a great variety of varieties and colors of Agapanthus, although the deciduous ones are the hardiest and can withstand drought better, as noted by Tony Hall.

These stunning plants, which can be grown either in the ground or in containers thanks to their trumpet-shaped flower heads, are a wonderful addition to any garden border.

  1. Gaura

Drought Tolerant

  • 90 centimetres (3 feet) tall.
  • Scale: 15in/35cm
  • Zones 5-9 for hardiness.

These fluttering flowers, now known as Oenothera, deceive with their seeming fragility. They are drought-resistant and seldom ever fail to provide.

The bees and hummingbirds will be thrilled by the steady supply of blossoms that lasts throughout the summer. This lovely mid-height perennial comes in a range of colours, from white to pink. It goes well with Salvia nemorosa and looks wonderful when planted beside grasslands.

  1. Achillea, yarrow

  • Pollinators benefit the most.
  • Size: 36in/90cm
  • Span: 60cm/24in
  • From zone 3-8 hardiness

Early and late summer yarrows have flat-topped flower umbels that are ideal resting spots for pollinators. This drought-resistant plant is visually appealing since it comes in a wide variety of hues, from delicate white and pink varieties to vibrant reds, oranges, and lemon-yellows.

Plant in a dry, sunny border with grasses and other airy plants like red valerian, thistles, fennel, and salvias. The ‘Moonshine’ and ‘Walter Funcke’ acid yellow and orange varieties, respectively, come highly recommended.

  1. Red valerian, Centranthus Ruber

  • Dry, bright areas make the best boundaries
  • 90 centimetres (3 feet) tall.
  • Widest point: 45cm/18in
  • Zones of hardiness: 5–8

You’ve probably seen red valerian sprouting from walls, gravel, and other arid places, which hints to the plant’s arid tolerance. You may comfortably let this blooming perennial naturalize due to its toughness, benefit to pollinating insects, and other positive attributes.

There is no medical use since it is not the Valeriana officinalis, but it is a nice addition to mixed borders or pots. Although the standard Color for the blossoms is a pinkish red, the refined white ‘Albus’ version is available. The blossoming period of red valerian lasts all summer long.

  1. Phlomis Russellian, Turkish sage

  • Perfect for the centre of sunny borders
  • 90 centimetres (3 feet) tall.
  • Distance between centres: 2 feet/60 centimetres

Once established, this herbaceous phlomis is very drought resistant, and its attractive leaves and distinctive yellow spring and summer flowers make it a must-have. The towering stems with the whorled blooms seem like architectural elements in the fall and winter.

Although it shares its common name with culinary sages and shrubby salvias, this plant is not edible and has a very different aroma and flavour. As an ornamental, it gets the job done.

  1. Echinops, globe thistle

Drought Tolerant

  • Sunny, flower-filled beds with a sprinkling of gravel work best.
  • Size: 120cm (4 feet)
  • Distance between centers: 2 feet/60 centimetres
  • From zone 3-8 hardiness

The globe thistle’s vivid blue sphere blooms on long stems and greyish green leaves provide structure to summer borders. It’s a non-prickly thistle that does well as a cut flower and is helpful for pollinators.

Plus, the dried seedheads look nice well into the autumn and winter, extending the season of appeal. You may choose from a wide range of blue tones all the way to a neutral Gray-white.

The cultivars ‘Blue Glow,‘ ‘Taplow Blue,’ and ‘Veitch’s Blue’ all have very deep blue hues, while ‘Star Frost’ and ‘Arctic Glow’ have a more ethereal appearance.

Once established, it may withstand severely dry weather if you planted it in well-drained soil and watered it to promote the early blossoms.


Which perennial plants thrive in drought most effectively?

It’s tempting to go only to deserts for scenarios of hardy plant life, given the conditions there. The genus Euphorbia, for instance, has both desert-adapted and excellent garden plants that are drought tolerant.

But it’s also vital to consider the climate and soil in your zone and immediate area to determine which plants will fare best when times are rough. Similarly reliable are native plant species.

Look at what native are thriving in hotter places, advises Ruth Bancroft Garden’s Cricket Riley. Plants that thrive well in areas where resources are scarcer should be prioritized.

What kind of drought-resistant bedding can I grow during the summer?

Primroses, petunias, pansies, stock, busy lizzies, and begonias, the traditional options for providing brilliant summer Color to borders, baskets, and containers, need constant watering and feeding to put on a nice show and hence are not truly sustainable in extended dry times.

You may need to broaden your definition of “bedding plants” to include drought-tolerant perennials and annuals like osteospermum, calendula, dianthus, verbena, cosmos, and pelargoniums that bloom beautifully in the summer.

What kinds of plants do well in hot, dry weather?

Many species of plants have diversified adaptations to survive in high temperatures and little moisture. Plants with silvery, glaucous foliage, meaty leaves, or dark, lustrous evergreen foliage are usually well-suited to enduring dry conditions.

Plants that wilt are displaying indicators of lack of water, and generally these have bigger leaves that lose moisture readily. The modifications in the foliage allow them to save water and avoid evaporation.

Think about using drought-resistant plants that are native to places like California and other dry states, the Mediterranean, South Africa, and Australia.

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