Best Low Water, Drought Tolerant Plants

With drought a growing national concern and the California fires raging, now is as good time as any for gardeners to adapt their water consumption. The biggest impact they can have is in their garden. By swapping out the thirst roses and tulips for low water plants, they can cut their water bills and shrink their environmental footprint. Their total of work will be reduced as well. To that extent, here are eleven drought tolerant beauties who belong in any water-savvy garden.

1. Agave

Agave is a leafy green native to the arid desert regions of Mexico. It sends its roots deep into the ground to drink up every bit of water it can find. That water is stored in its leaves like a camel stores water in its hump, letting it survive in a low water environment for long periods of time. Sporting a starburst of vibrant green triangular leaves, Agave is a fine addition to any garden.

2. Lithops

Lithops are a species of Succulents known as the living stone plants. Native to southern Africa, they have a craggy grey exterior resembling a rock. That is until they bloom with a red or yellow flower. They have low water requirements and can be kept individually as houseplants, or peppered throughout a rock garden.

3. Bougainvillea

Bougainville is a tall and beautiful bush that thrives in extreme conditions. It can stand over six feet tall and blossoms into a carpet of brilliant pink flowers, illuminating a garden. Look’s aren’t all it has; Bougainvillea is tough and laughs in the face of drought. In addition, it is easy to grow so any gardener can cultivate a bush.

4. Golden Barrel Cactus

The Golden Barrel cactus is a squat, round plant with ridges of gold. Like all cactus it stores up water inside its fat green body, keeping it safe and guarded by golden spines. Also like all cactus, it laughs in the face of drought. A must for any desert landscape, it’s fast growing in any warm climate.

5. Fountain Grass

Fountain Grass loves a dry spot in full sunlight where it can grow rapidly and send up stalks of white plumes every early to mid-summer. As a species of ornamental grass, it’s good to fill out the gaps between all the other drought-tolerant plants. As a plus, Fountain Grass doesn’t reseed and therefore won’t spread into a nuisance and classified invasive species like the popular Mexican Feather Grass will.

6. Lantana

Lantana is a hardy plant that loves the heat and drought. It provides year-round blooms of colorful flowers regardless of the water situation in the garden. The flower isn’t picky and any soil type will do. It’s grown for its fragrance as much as its flowers, and through that will attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds to the garden.

7. Oleander

Oleander is a shrub from Morocco that only needs light watering. It thrives in hot climates and especially coastal areas, so Californians watch out for your new best friend. The flowers atop its branches bloom prolifically, producing dazzling blossoms of yellow, red, pink, white, and purple. Oleander loves full sun but can deal with a little shade if needed. Oleanders are poisonous and can’t be consumed under any circumstances.

8. Wormwood

Wormwood is a fern that provides excellent foliage to a garden. With a tolerance for high heat and poor soil, it can survive just about any unfavorable conditions mother nature will throw at it, and will, therefore, thrive in any garden. When planted, its silvery leaves provide the perfect backdrop for all the flowers in the garden.

9. Lavender

Lavender needs no introduction. As vibrant as its name indicates, it’s a hardy perennial that offers a powerful hue to a garden. Most important is that it is easy to grow and drought tolerant, making it a perfect choice for a water-conserving garden.

10. Wand Flower

Wandflower lives up to its name by shooting a single stalk three feet into the air. It produces butterfly-shaped flowers in a variety of colors. Wandflower puts down a taproot, which is a single, large root that sprouts other roots laterally from its surface, anchoring it to the ground and probing deeply for any water the soil has to offer. They are used in many high deserts, arid gardens.

11. Sedum

Sedum is well known for its resistance to drought. It only needs watering once a week during spring and summer, and once a month in winter. It grows well in all soil types and likes full sunlight. When blooming, it produces clusters of pink flowers to form a fluffy pink carpet across a garden.

With so many beautiful plants happy in the minimal water, gardeners have their work cut out for them cultivating a garden for the twenty-first century.