There are states where the weather is really against most normal types of plants. For these places, you will need drought-tolerant plants that can endure a dry climate. All of those plants have different mechanisms to cope with smaller water intake and higher temperatures. Some use less water, some store more, and others have thicker outer layers to minimize perspiration and develop deeper root systems. Some of the best plants for these hot and dry places are:
- Black-eyed Susan
Before we dive into each one of those and discuss them in detail, make sure you check out my guide on some of the best pruning shears for this year. Now, let’s jump into this!
Native to the southwestern deserts, these plants are one of the most drought-tolerant out there. The parts in which they store the majority of their water are the bulbous bases and the trunks. They are also known under other names such as “Spanish Dagger” or “Spanish Bayonet” thanks to their sharp leaves that end with even sharper spines. Their foliage grows from top to bottom in a rosette pattern and is white in color.
The mature Yucca flower can vary in its size but they can generally reach around 4-5 feet in height and that much wide too. There are tree-type variations of the Yucca that can grow the whopping 30-35ft in height and spread at more than 20 ft. While they love the constant sun, they can also grow in mixed shadows but their foliage will be smaller and will bloom less. The actual blooming starts in the spring and can last for 3-4 months. Some Yucca variations bloom year-round depending on the weather.
Fun Fact: People often mistake Yuccas with the plant Yuca, and understandably so. Yucas are also called Cassava and have edible roots. That is where Cassava flour comes from.
Catmint is a tough plant that blooms for long periods of time and doesn’t need a lot of pampering to keep being pretty. Unlike its cousin catnip, it likes to show off more and loves the heat. It has a grey and green foliage with lavender-like flowers that look good no matter the garden they are in.
Catmint flowers typically grow up to around 3 feet and are quite narrow and tightly packed when blooming. They actually come in a variety of colors including white, violet, blue, pink, and others. There is also a certain aroma to it that is specific to the mint family. In terms of their tolerance to light, they can withstand long sunny days with constant temperatures above 100 degrees and little moisture. They are also fairly tolerant of light shade.
Catmint blooms around the early spring and continues doing so until the fall. As a whole, from the drought-resistant plants, this one has one of the longest blooming periods. It is a good idea to water your Catmint throughout its first year before it gets fully established in the garden. After they are old enough they won’t need as much watering. The best period to plant them is during the spring after the frosts have passed. You can also plant them during the summer and early Fall.
The Agave plant is an ideal addition to any gardener looking to add more structure to his garden. It is extremely water-resistant and loves the Mediterranean and Southwest climate zones. They can also grow in pots if you take good care of them during the winter months. Actually, from this list, Agave is the most tolerant of the lack of water as it can withstand droughts more than months long. They are also fire-retardants which makes them useful for areas prone to fires due to dry climate.
As you might’ve guessed already, Agave plants love the sun and can grow even in sandy or rocky textures without any rainfall for weeks. Still, one major necessity is well-drained soil. The planting should happen around the early spring or fall and if you want the plant to reach its peak capacity, give it enough room to grow. It is very important to not leave any soil over the rosette as this can cause the Agave plant to rot.
Fun Fact: The Agave plant protects smaller flowers from extreme heats and even frosts by providing shade for them.
Coneflowers are one of the most famous perennial flowers thanks to its resistance to heatwaves and droughts. It is common across most states and when it blooms, it is a compliment to any garden. And not only does this flower look stunningly beautiful when blooming, but it also does so for months at a time, making for a great cut flower.
The coneflower grows to around 5 feet tall and gets quite wide at around 2 feet. It thrives on sunny days and some variants are fairly tolerable towards shady regions. Moreover, these shade-resistant species like the deep south as that afternoon shade protects them against burning. There are a lot of color variants ranging from purple, pink, white, orange green, yellow, and others.
When it comes to planting, sow the seeds in the fall or spring seasons in an area of your garden that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. If there is a lot of shading in that area of your garden, the stems will be floppy and will make the whole flower susceptible to issues like powdery mildew.
Fairly similar to the Catmint, the Agastache is a perennial plant that has good-looking spires that will add season-long bloom to your garden. It blooms in a variety of colors ranging from lavender to other colors like white, blue, rose, and even orange. This plant actually thrives in drought-prone climates and is super tolerant of low supplies of moisture and poor soil nutrition.
Growing this plant is actually quite easy and can be done both outdoors and indoors. The planting should be done in early spring after the frosts are over. If you want a quick production of flowers and colors for your garden, start off your Agastache plants indoors during the month of May and move them outside in the middle of the summer. While the plant is still establishing itself, provide it with plenty of water. After the plant has established its root system it will no longer need consistent care and watering.
While Lantanas often resemble a vine, they are most commonly classified as shrubs by people. They are evergreen and botanists prefer growing them in hanging pots due to their long branches. That allows them to spill over and hang down, acting as brightly-colored ornaments to your garden. There is a large variety when it comes to the colors of Lantanas. They can be yellow, white, purple, red, orange, or pink. They often mix their colors within a single plant too, which makes for multi-colored clusters. They are scented although their scent isn’t among the favorites of most people.
Lantanas love the sun and thrive in well-drained soil with high amounts of sun exposure. As for moisture, they don’t need a lot of water, making them fairly common across the Southwest. Another important feature of theirs is that they bloom all-year-round (in climates that have no frosts). As a perennial plant, they can get as high as 6 feet and as wide as 8-10 ft. Unlike older Lantanas, newly planted ones will require frequent watering every other day. Once they establish their root system, they stop being so sensitive and demand little to no watering if rains are common in your region.
If you want to see which other shrubs bloom all year, make sure you head over to my dedicated article on that topic!
The Sedum flower is another common plant found in gardens across the warmer states. It is a perennial plant with leaves that are thick and that connect to fleshy stems. The flowers grow in clusters and are star-shaped. While you might’ve seen the most common pink Sedum, there are actually a lot of varieties out there, making this plant a good fit for any area and garden. Furthermore, Sedum is loved by pollinators and attracts a lot of bees and butterflies.
The two most common types out there are the low-growing sedum and the upright one. The low-growing one works its way along with the ground level and never gets higher than just a few inches. That makes it ideal for covering large areas around your backyard’s pathways. It also works well with rock gardens and stone walls. The upright Sedum typically forms tall structures with tiny clusters of flowers along its height. That makes it a good choice if you’re picking flowers for your border garden.
Sedum can be planted but its usually bought in pots and is transplanted into your garden in early spring after the frosts. While they aren’t capricious towards the moisture, they do require rich soils to grow in. They are also fairly shade-resistant.
The Black-eyed Susan is known for its love for the open fields. It is also incredibly breathtaking to see when it covers whole fields with its yellow beauty. The center of the flower is often brown or purple with bright yellow flower heads that have a daisy-like appearance. That helps the plant attract numerous bugs and insects such as bees, butterflies, and others. The flower isn’t the most drought-resistant out there but it certainly is one of the most beautiful plants that can still take a few very bad days with little to no water and extreme heats.
The blooming happens between the months of June and the middle of September and they are native to most of North America, making them ideal for most types of climates across the US. One thing to have in mind is that they are fairly territorial and quite easy to re-seed (they do that themselves after their first year) so they can easily drown out other plants surrounding them.
As for planting, they aren’t very pretentious, although the ideal conditions are around 75 degrees for the soil temperature and a fair amount of moisture for the seeds to have the best germination possible. For most parts of the country, the best period to plant these flowers is between March and the end of May. They grow up to 4-5 feet tall in some cases and have a spread of almost 20 inches!
Endurance-wise, they can handle a few days without water, although they prefer having constant moisture. Drying them out won’t necessarily kill them but will greatly reduce their blooming period and size. You can prolong the blooming period by removing the dead flowers. Their most common issues are associated with pests and diseases like snails, smut, leaf spots, and mildew fungi.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a drought-tolerant plant?
Drought-tolerant plants can survive with little to no additional water to the normal rainfall for the region. They survive in the dry environment with the primary help of deeper root systems that can capture the trapped water in the soil’s deeper layers.
What grows in dry shade?
There are a lot of plants that resist heat but not as many that resist heat and lack of sunlight at the same time. Still, the most prominent members of this endurant family are Alchemilla Mollis, Galium Odoratum, Vinca Minor, euphoria Amygdaloides, and others.
Which flowers bloom all summer under the shade?
Some of the most common flowers that can bloom even in the absence of direct sunlight are Geranium, Fuchsias, Spiderwort, AStilbe, Bellflower, and others.
If you want to read more on some of the 10 best low-maintenance flowers for your garden, click here!
If you are planning on moving to a very hot region but also want to maintain a garden full of blooming flowers, then you should start picking some of the most drought-tolerant plants to have in a dry climate. The ones I recommend the most thanks to their durable nature are Yuccas, Agave, Lantana, Sedum, Salvia, and the gorgeous-looking Black-eyed Susan. Most of these can last quite a while without proper watering and can even rely only on the seasonal rain amounts in the region. Most of them also bloom for the better part of the year, allowing you to cycle through them and have your garden look colorful throughout all the seasons!