If you are interested in spending more time enjoying your garden and saving water and money, then you should consider growing drought-tolerant plants. These plants are able to survive with less water than other varieties of plants. They can also be grown in the ground without needing a lot of care, making them a good option for those who don't want to spend a lot of time working on their garden.

Drought tolerance is the ability of a plant to survive, grow and reproduce during drought conditions. These types of plants can survive with less water than other varieties which means they will require less maintenance and watering on your part. They also do not need much care when it comes to soil, making them an attractive option for many gardeners.

There are many reasons why people may want to grow drought-tolerant plants including:

  • Limited water supply.
  • Drought tolerant plants are more resistant to heat and cold. This allows the plant to live in an area with extreme temperatures without being damaged.
  • Drought tolerant plants also require less maintenance than other plants, which means that it takes less time for the plant owner to care for the plant, and it is easier on their wallet as well.

Some of the most common types of drought-tolerant plants are cacti, succulents, and grasses.  We are going to highlight seven of these plants that are a little different than the traditional drought-tolerant plants.

Agastache – Agastache is native to North America and is an herbaceous perennial in the mint family. It is also known as Giant Hyssops. The plant produces spikes of fragrant flowers that bloom all summer long. The flowers come in a range of colors from white to blue and red to purple. The plant is heat and drought-tolerant. A great choice for a pollinator-friendly garden, it is also resistant to deer and rabbits. Hardiness zones 5-10.

Aronia arbutifolia – This plant, also known as Red Chokeberry, is a deciduous shrub with multi-season interest. The plant grows in a vase-shaped form growing 6-10 feet tall and 3-6 feet wide. In the spring pink to white fragrant flowers appear with green foliage. The leaves will turn orange-red and red berries will appear in the fall.  The berries will remain through the winter. The shrub's winter berries are eaten by mammals and birds. Butterflies and pollinators enjoy the flower nectar in the spring. The berries can be turned into jam or jelly. Hardiness zones 4-9.

Bougainvillea – The plant is a woody vine but grows more like a shrub. The vines are thorny and can grow 15-45 feet. The actual flower is small, tubular, and generally white, but each cluster of three flowers is surrounded by three to six brightly colored bracts, including orange, pink, purple, red, white, or yellow colors. The plant is native to South America and does best in hardiness zones 9-11. In full sun they grow profusely.

Caryopteris x clandonensis – The plant is a deciduous shrub or woody perennial also known as bluebeard, blue mist, or blue spirea. It is a low-maintenance plant that has true blue flowers.  The plant is both drought and shade tolerant and does not need fertilizer often. For the best flower results, plant in full sun. They typically grow 18-30 inches tall annually.  To keep the plant’s shape and flowering in the early spring, cut it back to at least half its size. Hardiness zones 6-9.

Common Poppy – The Common Poppy is an annual wildflower also known as Papaver rhoeas. It is known for its bright scarlet red flowers. The flowers bloom from spring to early summer. They come in other colors including pink, orange, yellow and white because of crossbreeding. It is a low-maintenance plant and looks great in borders, flower beds, and pollinator gardens. The plant requires very little watering and is not fussy with the soil conditions.

New Zealand Tea Tree – This plant is a shrub or small tree that can grow 4 – 49 feet. Its botanical name is Leptospermum scoparium. I have seen this pretty and interesting plant in Southern California and finally discovered its name. It has evergreen, thorny, needle-like leaves which are aromatic when crushed.  The plant has small single or double flowers in pink, red, or white and they bloom from June to July. Each flower is tiny and has 5 perfectly circular petals. Hardiness zones 9-10.

Santolina – This easy-to-care-for perennial plant also known as Lavender Cotton will make a great addition to any garden. The plant produces bright yellow one-inch flowers that are on top of erect green stems. It blooms from early to mid-summer.  Deadheading keeps the plant looking nice but does not keep the plant blooming. In full sun the foliage is a luminous silver and on a cloudy day, it has a seafoam hue. The plant will keep its compact sun growing up to three feet with full sun and proper care. Hardiness zones 6-9. 

Agastache photo courtesy of Greenfuse Botanicals. 

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