Top 15 Drought-Tolerant Plants That Can Handle Dry Weather

Even when the rain stops, these drought-tolerant plants keep going strong. They’ll survive dry conditions while adding color and texture to your garden.

butterfly on coneflowerCourtesy Kari Thomson
Red admiral on a coneflower

1. Coneflower

Echinacea spp. • Zones 3 to 9

Often self-sowing, coneflowers need little upkeep, are drought-tolerant and thrive in almost any soil with adequate drainage. Plus, coneflowers attract birds and butterflies.

CatmintCourtesy Walters Gardens, Inc.

2. Catmint

Nepeta x faassenii • Zones 3 to 8

Perfect for borders, rock gardens and containers, this drought-tolerant plant’s aromatic flowers attract butterflies and bees. Catmint blooms from early summer to early fall, with plants that are 1 to 3 feet tall and wide. Check out more long-blooming flowers for attracting pollinators.

Agastache flowerCourtesy Walters Gardens, Inc.

3. Agastache

Agastache • Zones 5 to 11

A bee’s delight, agastache grows 3 to 5 feet tall and sports purple or white flower spikes. This tall plant is a good choice for the back of a border. Psst—here’s the top 10 plants for bees.

lantana flowersCourtesy Lauren Kaiser

4. Lantana

Lantana camara • annual to Zone 8

Abundant blooms make lantana a welcome addition to any sunny garden. Clusters of brightly colored blossoms adorn this plant, which grows 3 to 6 feet tall and wide. With a mounding or trailing habit, it’s a good choice for a container. Check out more easy plants you can grow in containers.

Hummingbird sips nectar from salviaCourtesy Linda Minns

5. Salvia

Salvia splendens • grown as an annual

A true attention-getter, this tall drought-tolerant flower produces season-long color in just about any landscape. Its vibrantly colored columns range from 8 to 30 inches tall. These summer to fall bloomers are also striking when confined to containers. Follow these tips for growing a drought-tolerant garden.

lavender and swallowtailCourtesy Becka Phillips

6. Lavender

Lavandula • Zones 5 to 10

It’s no wonder lavender tolerates drought, since the fragrant plant is native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The mounding plants make attractive specimens or borders. Check out 5 attractive drought-tolerant shrubs for your garden.

russian sageCourtesy Carmel Rugel

7. Russian Sage

Perovskia atriplicifolia • Zones 4 to 9

With 2- to 5-foot stems in shades of purplish blue, Russian sage is a real garden trouper: It tolerates cold, drought and poor soil. As long as you grow it in a sunny spot, it won’t disappoint. Psst—here’s the top 10 plants you can’t kill.

california poppiesCourtesy Stephanie Gabler

8. California Poppy

Eschscholzia californica • grown as an annual

If your yard isn’t the most fertile, look no further than California poppies. They grow best in full sun but don’t mind poor soil a bit. Discover more pink and orange flowers that look just like a sunset.

9. Artemisia

Artemisia spp. • Zones 3 to 8

Reliable artemisia is valued for its beautiful, slender gray to silver leaves on tall, arching stems or in low mounds, which range from 1 to 5 feet high and wide. These plants are tough and trouble-free.

Proven Winners
Licorice Plant

10. Licorice Plant

Helichrysum petiolare • annual

Licorice plant’s fuzzy, silvery foliage grows long enough to trail, readily weaving throughout surrounding plants. This vine thrives in partial shade to full sun and spreads out to 6 feet. Check out more beautiful drought tolerant ground covers.

Top 10 Drought-Tolerant Plants:

12. Veronica

Veronica spp. • Zones 3 to 9

This easy-to-grow favorite boasts beautiful white, purple, pink or blue spikes and has a long bloom time. It reaches 1 to 2 feet high and thrives in well-drained soil and full sun. Love the color purple? Here’s the top 10 purple flowers that attract hummingbirds.

14. Yarrow

Achillea • Zones 3 to 9

These easy-care, long-lasting flowers come into their own once spring bulbs are past their peak. No matter what garden space you’re looking to fill, yarrow is a prime candidate. Yarrow is also one of the top 10 plants for sandy soil.

Top 10 Drought-Tolerant Plants: PortulacaProven Winners,

15. Portulaca

Portulaca spp. • annual

This easy-care, drought-tolerant annual is a sure source of perky color. Portulaca grows in low clusters, bloom in a rainbow of hues and thrive in the hot, sunny spots where other flowers might wither. If you’re new to gardening, you need to learn the difference between annuals and perennials.