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14 of the Best Plants for Your Drought-Tolerant Garden

Water conservation is at the forefront of gardeners’ minds in many parts of the country. Luckily, there are a wide variety of drought-tolerant plants that thrive in dry conditions. Check out some of our favorite options for a garden that doesn't get much rainfall.

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Canna Lily

Photo: istockphoto.com

Canna lilies are tropical, so they thrive in heat, and though most varieties prefer some moisture, they’re surprisingly drought-tolerant. The plants have brilliant blooms topping lush foliage that reaches up to six feet in height. While the lilies perform best when regularly divided, these showstoppers require little else to flourish. Available at Burpee; $4.95 for five seeds. 


Related: 10 Plants That Survive With or Without You


Photo: istockphoto.com

Coneflower, or echinacea, is an easy-to-grow perennial that bursts with daisy-like flowers during the summer and fall. Petals come in a a wide range of bright colors, including yellow, purple, red, pink, orange, and white. The plant will grow bigger each year, so you’ll have plenty to divide and share. Available at Burpee; $4.95 for 50 seeds.


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Sedum, also called stonecrop, is a succulent that flourishes in dry conditions. Hundreds of varieties exist, from upright flowering plants to creeping ground covers. After you plant one variety, you’ll soon want more—sedum are incredibly easy to maintain. Available at Home Depot; $19.49 for a one-gallon pot. 

Related: 11 Creatively Stylish Ways to Display Succulents



Rhododendron tolerates both heat and drought, and it displays large blooms in luminous colors during the summer. Evergreen varieties also exist, in case you’re looking for a plant that can brighten your landscape year-round. Rhododendron prefers shade and acidic soil. Available at Etsy; $12.99 for a one-quart pot. 

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Once established, spirea can survive both drought and poor soil conditions. The plant comes in an expansive range of foliage and bloom colors, including pink, white, and yellow. If you regularly deadhead spent flowers, spirea will treat you to another bloom later in the season. Available at Home Depot; $29.99 for a one-gallon pot. 

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Limelight Hydrangea


While most hydrangeas prefer shade, the Limelight variety thrives in the sun. It’s festooned with large white flowers that fade to pink or red. Because the plant blooms on fresh growth, gardeners should prune it in the winter or early spring. Available at Home Depot; $41.98 for a two-gallon pot.

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The American beautyberry shrub gives four-season appeal to your yard, with dazzling purple berries (a favorite of birds) as the main attraction in winter. Once established, the beautyberry is drought-tolerant and will attract all manner of small wildlife. Available at Amazon; $4.99 for a four-inch pot. 

Related: 15 Plants for Where the Sun Don’t Shine

Tall Bearded Iris


Thanks to its unmistakable bloom, bearded iris looks beautiful both in the yard and in a vase. Gardeners will love the wide range of color options as well as the minimal maintenance required to care for the flowers. Available at Etsy; $6.50 for five bulbs. 

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Creeping Thyme


No matter how you look at it, creeping thyme is a winner. It’s perennial, requires minimal water, smells wonderfully fragrant, and blooms with delicate flowers that are a boon to bees and other pollinators. A popular ground cover, creeping thyme has even been used to replace turf grass in lawns. Available at Home Depot; $13.99 for a three-inch pot. 

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Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan)


Rudbeckia, another undemanding perennial, will charm you all summer long with bright yellow daisy-like flowers. The brown-to-purple centers inspired its common name: black-eyed Susan. Rudbeckia is drought-tolerant and disease resistant and, as another perk, its flowers will attract butterflies to your yard! Available at Burpee; $4.95 for 100 seeds. 

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Pachysandra has long been a popular ground cover, and for good reason: It’s low maintenance, evergreen, drought-tolerant, and resistant to both deer and rabbits. It favors shade, so it’s an excellent choice for a carpet of greenery beneath the trees or as a border or foundation plant in spots that don’t get a lot of sun. Available on Amazon; $21.99 for 25 bare-root plants. 

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Ice Plant


Ice plant offers a cheerful blanket of low-growing daisy-like flowers. Like other succulents, it requires minimal water, and it’s a perennial, so it will bloom again year after year. Available at Burpee; $3.95 for 120 seeds. 

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Because hollyhocks originated around the Mediterranean, they’re ideal plants for areas prone to drought. They put forth tall, elegant flowers in a variety of colors and will self-seed every year. Available at Etsy; $2.10 for 50 seeds.

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Fountain Grass


When planted in groups, fountain grass adds a beautiful, dramatic touch to a landscape. The graceful plant comes in various colors, and its feathery blooms bring attention-grabbing texture and interest to your yard. Because fountain grass thrives in dry soil conditions, it can be a fine option for a drought-tolerant garden. Available on Amazon; $5.99 for 100 seeds. 

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Flourishing Florals


Living in a dry area doesn’t mean you have to be cornered into planting only succulents. These plants prove you can have a thriving garden of florals regardless of the climate.