October 17

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Top 12 Hardy Drought-Tolerant Shrubs: Thrive with Minimal Watering

Best drought-tolerant shrubs – 12 hardy choices that can thrive with less water

When it comes to creating a flowering and low-maintenance landscape, drought-tolerant shrubs are the way to go. These hardy plants can thrive in dry conditions and require less water than most other plants. With their ability to withstand poor soil and harsh weather, they are the perfect choice for those living in arid regions or wanting to conserve water.

One of the top choices for a drought-tolerant shrub is the Leptospermum, also known as the Manuka or Tea Tree. This evergreen shrub is native to Australia and loved for its beautiful star-shaped flowers. It grows well in Mediterranean-style landscapes and tolerates coastal conditions. In addition to being drought-tolerant, the Leptospermum is also resistant to deer and invasive plants, making it an excellent choice for both natural and controlled gardens.

If you’re looking for a drought-tolerant shrub that adds brilliant color to your landscape, consider the Cistus or Rock Rose. This shrub is known for its showy yellow flowers and soft, silver-gray foliage. It thrives in well-drained soil and can grow in poor conditions. The Cistus is also a great choice for a butterfly garden, as it provides nectar for the delicate insects.

“Another excellent choice for a drought-tolerant shrub is the Chanticleer flowering pear. This shrub is loved for its vibrant blue foliage and compact size, which makes it perfect for both hedging and privacy. It’s evergreen and requires little pruning, making it low maintenance.”

For those looking for hardy shrubs that can withstand extreme conditions, the Cotinus or Smoke Bush is an ideal option. This shrub is known for its unique purple-red foliage, which turns a brilliant orange-red in the fall. It is drought-tolerant, deer-resistant, and can grow in poor soil. The Cotinus is a popular choice for creating contrast in the garden and works well as a focal point or border shrub.

Whether you live in the dry deserts of the Southwest, the coastal regions of the West Coast, or the cold winters of the North, there are plenty of drought-tolerant shrubs available to enhance your landscape. By choosing plants that can thrive with less water, you can create a beautiful and sustainable garden that will be the envy of your neighbors.

Drought-tolerant shrubs for dry climates

When it comes to gardening in dry climates, it’s important to choose plants that can thrive with less water. Drought-tolerant shrubs are a great choice for these conditions, as they are adapted to survive in arid environments.

One popular form of gardening in dry climates is the mediterranean-style garden. These gardens are designed to mimic the landscapes found in the Mediterranean region, with their hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Drought-tolerant shrubs can be used as borders or hedges in these gardens, providing a lush and green look even in the driest months.

Coastal areas also face unique challenges when it comes to gardening. The salt spray and high winds can damage many plants, but there are several drought-tolerant shrubs that are well-suited to these conditions. Early Cotinus, Blue Bancroft, and Cistus Creek are just a few examples of shrubs that can thrive in coastal climates.

For a splash of color in a drought-tolerant garden, consider planting some flowering shrubs. Hummingbirds and butterflies are drawn to these colorful blooms, making them a popular choice for those who want to attract wildlife to their gardens. California Orange, Ruth Chanticleer, and Lemon Bottlebrush are all loved by these pollinators.

When selecting drought-tolerant shrubs, it’s important to choose varieties that are well-suited to your specific climate and soil conditions. Some shrubs are more invasive than others, so be sure to check with a local gardening expert or refer to your region’s invasive plant policy before making your selection.

Drought-tolerant shrubs can be used in a variety of ways in your landscape. They can be planted in borders to create boundaries or used for hedging purposes. They can also be grown in informal groupings or as solitary focal points. Their hardy nature allows them to thrive in even the driest of climates.

When planting drought-tolerant shrubs, it’s important to provide them with a well-drained soil. Most varieties prefer full sun, but some can tolerate partial shade. Regular pruning is also recommended to maintain their shape and promote healthy growth.

So whether you live in a desert or just want to conserve water in your garden, drought-tolerant shrubs are a great choice. They will thrive in even the driest conditions, providing color, texture, and interest to your landscape.

So choose your favorite drought-tolerant shrubs and enjoy a beautiful and low-maintenance garden!

1 Cotinus

The Cotinus, also known as the Chanticleer or the Smokebush, is a sunny shrub that grows well in a variety of soil conditions. It features dark foliage that adds a natural and informal look to any garden. The Cotinus is drought-tolerant, making it an excellent choice for gardens in dry regions or areas with poor soils.

This shrub is also loved for its flowering capabilities. It produces clusters of small, star-shaped flowers in late spring or early summer, giving your garden a pop of color. The flowers can range in color from soft pink to dark purple, providing a beautiful contrast to the dark foliage.

The Cotinus is not invasive and can easily be incorporated into any garden plan. It looks great as a standalone shrub or when grouped with other drought-tolerant plants like Cistus or Manuka. It also pairs well with Mediterranean-style gardens or coastal plantings.

The Cotinus is a hardy shrub that can withstand harsh conditions. It is known for its fast growth and can quickly fill in empty spaces in your garden. This shrub is also low maintenance, making it a great choice for busy gardeners. Just plant it in a sunny spot, provide it with well-draining soil, and it will thrive with minimal care.

Consider planting the Cotinus near seating areas or walkways where its beautiful foliage and flowers can be enjoyed up close. Its lemon scent can also attract butterflies to your garden, adding an extra touch of beauty.

Drought-Tolerant Shrubs
Name USDA Hardiness Zones Size
Cotinus Zones 5-9 10-15 feet tall and wide
Cistus Zones 8-11 2-5 feet tall and wide
Manuka Zones 8-10 6-12 feet tall and wide
Bottlebrush Zones 9-11 10-15 feet tall and wide
Laurel Sage Zones 8-10 2-3 feet tall and wide

These drought-tolerant shrubs are a great choice for any garden. They can thrive with less water and are well-suited for dry climates or areas with poor soils. Consider adding them to your garden for a beautiful and low maintenance landscape. Subscribe to our newsletter to get more gardening tips and advice delivered straight to your inbox.

2 Scotch Broom cytisus

The Scotch Broom (Cytisus) is a hardy shrub that thrives in drought-tolerant conditions. It is a good choice for gardens in dry regions where water conservation is an important consideration.

The Scotch Broom is a tree-like shrub that can grow up to 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide. It has a spire-like growth habit, with its branches reaching upwards in a graceful manner.

One popular variety of Scotch Broom is the ‘Leptospermum’ which blooms in the spring with white flowers. Another variety, known as the ‘Bancroft’ Scotch Broom, produces yellow flowers that will add a bright, cheerful look to any garden.

Scotch Broom is native to the Mediterranean region and coastal areas of Australia, making it very well-suited for dry climates. It can tolerate both drought and poor soil conditions, making it an excellent choice for landscapes with limited water availability.

When choosing Scotch Broom for your garden, consider its fast growth rate. While this can be great for providing privacy or creating a windbreak, it’s important to keep in mind that it may need regular pruning to keep it in check. Beware that Scotch Broom is considered an invasive plant in some states, such as California, so it’s important to check with your local gardening policy before planting it.

Scotch Broom has beautiful dark blue foliage that offers a soft yet striking contrast to its flowers. Its foliage stays evergreen throughout the year, providing year-round interest in the garden. The shrub will also attract hummingbirds and butterflies, adding additional life to your landscape.

To grow Scotch Broom, it’s important to choose a well-drained location in your garden. It prefers full sun but can tolerate some shade. Plant it after the risk of winter frost has passed, and water it regularly until established. Once established, Scotch Broom is very drought-tolerant and will thrive with little supplemental watering.

Overall, Scotch Broom is a hardy, drought-tolerant shrub that can provide a burst of color to any landscape. While it may have some considerations, such as potential invasiveness, it is a great choice for gardens in dry regions or areas with limited water availability.

3 Cistus or rock rose

Cistus, also known as rock rose, is a group of flowering shrubs that have a natural and wild look. They make a fantastic addition to any garden, providing contrast and adding a touch of color. Cistus is a very hardy shrub that can thrive in poor, well-drained soils and is tolerant of dry conditions, making it an ideal choice for areas prone to drought.

The most common varieties of cistus have beautiful pink, white, or violet flowers that bloom in the early spring and last until early summer. Cistus is native to Mediterranean regions, which means it is well-suited to sunny and warm climates. It also tolerates coastal conditions and is often found growing near the coastlines of Australia.

One of the most popular varieties of cistus is Cistus × purpureus ‘Alan Fradd’, which has vibrant pink flowers that bloom from late spring to early summer. It is a compact shrub that grows to a size of 2-3 feet tall and wide, making it a great choice for smaller gardens or borders. Another popular variety is Cistus × oblongifolius ‘Riely’s Pink’, which has beautiful soft pink flowers that appear in late spring and early summer. It is a larger shrub that can reach a height and width of 4-5 feet.

Cistus can easily be incorporated into various garden designs. It can be used as a low-growing shrub to line paths or as a background plant for taller shrubs and trees. It also looks stunning when planted in groups, creating a sea of colorful flowers. Some gardeners even use cistus to create hedges or privacy screens, as it stays evergreen in mild winter conditions.

Cistus can be planted in zones 8-10, but some varieties are hardy enough to withstand colder temperatures. It is important to provide cistus with well-drained soil and full sun exposure for the best growth and flowering.

If you are looking for a drought-tolerant shrub that will thrive with less water, cistus is definitely worth considering. Its brilliant flowers, soft evergreen foliage, and ability to tolerate dry conditions make it an excellent choice for gardens in drought-prone states.

4 Leptospermum

4 Leptospermum

Leptospermum, also known as “manuka” or “tea tree,” is a fast-growing shrub that thrives in dry conditions. It is well-known for its brilliant flowers and soft foliage, making it a popular choice for gardens in drought-prone areas.

Leptospermum comes in many different forms, including low-growing ground covers, medium-sized shrubs, and tall trees. They can be used to create stunning hedges, borders, or privacy screens in your garden.

One of the most popular varieties of Leptospermum is the Leptospermum californica, which is native to California. It has beautiful pink flowers and can be used to create informal hedges or butterfly-attracting shrubs in your garden.

Leptospermum is a hardy shrub that can withstand drought conditions and poor soils. It requires little water once established, making it an excellent choice for water-wise gardens or desert landscapes.

When designing your garden, consider planting Leptospermum near seating areas or paths where you can enjoy its stunning flowers and lemon-scented foliage. You can also use it as a backdrop for other drought-tolerant plants or as an accent plant in your garden.

However, beware that Leptospermum can grow quite large if not pruned regularly. If you have limited space, consider planting the dwarf varieties, which will stay compact and manageable.

In summary, Leptospermum is a drought-tolerant shrub that can thrive in dry conditions. Its stunning flowers and soft foliage make it an excellent choice for gardens in drought-prone states. Consider adding this native plant to your garden for a splash of color and a touch of the Mediterranean.

5 Lemon bottlebrush

5 Lemon bottlebrush

The Lemon bottlebrush (Callistemon citrinus) is a hardy and drought-tolerant shrub that can add a splash of color to your landscape. Native to Australia, this shrub is well-suited for coastal gardens and can tolerate the dry conditions of a Mediterranean-style garden.

The Lemon bottlebrush gets its name from the shape of its bright yellow flowers, which resemble a bottlebrush. These flowers bloom in spring and attract butterflies, making it a great choice for butterfly gardens.

This shrub can grow up to 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide, making it a good choice for hedging or privacy plantings. It has evergreen leaves that are a dark green color, providing a nice contrast to the bright yellow flowers.

The Lemon bottlebrush is a fast grower and requires very little maintenance. It prefers a well-drained soil and can tolerate a wide range of soil types, from sandy to clay. It is also quite hardy and can tolerate cold temperatures down to 20°F.

If you choose to plant Lemon bottlebrush in your garden, it’s important to plan your garden appropriately. This shrub can be invasive in some areas, so check with your local garden center or extension office to ensure it’s a good choice for your location.

Overall, the Lemon bottlebrush is a beautiful and hardy shrub that can thrive with less water. Its brilliant yellow flowers, evergreen foliage, and fast growth make it a loved choice for many gardeners.

6 Perovskia Russian sage

The Perovskia Russian sage, also known as Russian sage, is a drought-tolerant shrub that will thrive with less water. It features silvery gray foliage and upright branching. In mid-summer to early fall, the plant produces small violet-blue flowers that give off a pleasant fragrance. Perovskia Russian sage is loved by hummingbirds and can add a touch of color to your garden.

This shrub is a good choice for gardens with dry or gravel soils, as it tolerates these conditions well. It is also a great option for mediterranean-style landscapes. Perovskia Russian sage grows best in full sun, and it is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9.

One of the best features of Perovskia Russian sage is its long flowering time. The flowers bloom from early summer to late fall, providing color in your garden for a long period. The shrub can grow up to 3 to 5 feet tall, making it a good choice for back-of-the-border plantings or as a focal point in your landscape.

If you are considering adding Perovskia Russian sage to your garden, it is important to note that it can be an invasive species in some areas, particularly in Australia. Make sure to check with your local gardening authorities before planting it. In California, a native alternative to Perovskia Russian sage is Cistus x purpureus ‘Brilliant’, which forms a colorful and evergreen hedge.

Perovskia Russian sage is a fast grower and can be pruned back in early spring to encourage a more compact size. It pairs well with other drought-tolerant shrubs, such as Ceanothus ‘Concha’ or Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’. For a lovely contrast, you can plant it next to Salvia ‘May Night’ or Achillea ‘Moonshine’.

Whether you choose to plant Perovskia Russian sage for its striking flowers or its ability to tolerate dry conditions, it is sure to be a star in your garden.

7 Buddleja butterfly bush

The Buddleja butterfly bush is an informal shrub known for its ability to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. It can thrive in a variety of conditions, including sunny hillsides and drier areas. This hardy shrub is well suited to gardens in drought-prone states, as it can withstand periods of limited water.

The Buddleja butterfly bush grows in a spire-like shape and features vibrant flowers in shades of violet, blue, pink, orange, and white. Its soft foliage adds a natural and decorative element to any garden. This shrub is native to Australia and is available in many different varieties, including fast-growing and compact options.

One popular variety of the Buddleja butterfly bush is the “Bancroft” cultivar, which has stunning orange flowers. Another option is the “Chanticleer” cultivar, which is known for its hardiness and ability to thrive in coastal conditions. When choosing a variety of the Buddleja butterfly bush, consider the size and growing conditions of your garden, as well as any specific design preferences.

The Buddleja butterfly bush is a low-maintenance shrub that requires minimal pruning. It can be pruned in early fall or winter to maintain its size and shape. These shrubs work well in informal garden settings, as well as more structured plantings near trees and other plants.

Although the Buddleja butterfly bush is drought-tolerant, it will still benefit from regular watering, particularly during dry periods. It is important to note that some varieties of the Buddleja butterfly bush can be invasive, so gardeners should plan accordingly. They can be planted in well-draining soil, and adding gravel or manuka mulch to the base can help with water retention.

In conclusion, the Buddleja butterfly bush is a drought-tolerant shrub that can thrive with less water. Its vibrant flowers and soft foliage make it a beautiful addition to any garden. Whether you choose a compact variety or a fast-growing option, this shrub is sure to attract butterflies and hummingbirds while requiring minimal maintenance.

8 Trachelospermum jasminoides star jasmine

8 Trachelospermum jasminoides star jasmine

Trachelospermum jasminoides, commonly known as star jasmine, is a drought-tolerant shrub that can add beauty and fragrance to any garden. It is native to China and Japan but can be found in many other parts of the world, including the United States.

Star jasmine is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of conditions. It can thrive in zones 8 to 11 and is especially well-suited to coastal areas. This shrub features glossy dark green foliage that provides an attractive backdrop for its brilliant white flowers.

One of the best things about star jasmine is its long flowering time. It begins blooming in late spring and continues through early fall, with a peak in the summer months. The flowers are loved by hummingbirds and butterflies, making this shrub a good choice for attracting pollinators.

Star jasmine is also known for its climbing ability. It can be trained to grow up walls, fences, or trellises, creating a beautiful living boundary. It can also be used as a ground cover or as a low-growing shrub in the front of a garden bed.

This drought-tolerant shrub prefers a sunny location and well-drained soil. It is also quite hardy and can tolerate some pruning to keep it in shape. However, it is important to note that star jasmine can become invasive in some areas, so it is best to check with a local expert or extension service before planting.

If you are looking for a stunning addition to your garden, star jasmine is definitely worth considering. Its beautiful foliage, fragrant flowers, and ability to tolerate drought make it a versatile and attractive choice. Whether you plant it near trees or use it as part of an informal garden, star jasmine is sure to add beauty and charm to your outdoor space.

9 Pittosporum tobira

Pittosporum tobira, also known as Japanese pittosporum or Japanese cheesewood, is a popular choice for drought-tolerant plantings. It is a hardy shrub that can thrive with less water, making it a great addition to gardens in regions with poor water availability.

This evergreen shrub is loved for its versatility and can be used to suit various garden styles and conditions. It has dark green glossy leaves and produces small white flowers with a sweet fragrance, attracting butterflies and hummingbirds.

In states like California, where water scarcity is a concern, Pittosporum tobira is a preferred choice for its ability to withstand dry conditions. It can grow well in both full sun and partial shade, making it a versatile option for different areas of the garden.

When selecting a spot for Pittosporum tobira, consider its size and growth habit. This shrub can reach up to 10 feet in height and width, so it needs ample space to spread out. It can be used as a specimen plant, a hedge, or as a privacy screen along property boundaries.

Pittosporum tobira pairs well with other drought-tolerant plants in a Mediterranean-style garden. It creates a stunning contrast when planted alongside plants like Cistus, Agave, Perovskia, and Leptospermum. The bright green foliage of Pittosporum tobira adds a natural and vibrant element to the landscape.

For an informal garden, Pittosporum tobira can be pruned to create hedges, borders, or paths. Its dense foliage and compact growth habit make it a great choice for creating privacy or defining seating areas. Its evergreen nature ensures that the garden looks beautiful year-round, even during the fall and winter months.

Overall, Pittosporum tobira is a hardy and easily maintained shrub that thrives in drought conditions. Its adaptability and attractive appearance make it a popular choice for gardens in water-scarce regions. Consider adding Pittosporum tobira to your outdoor space for a stunning and low-maintenance addition.

10 Yucca gloriosa

If you live in the best south, Yucca gloriosa is one of the best choices for your garden. This hardy shrub grows well in dry, poor soils and can tolerate drought conditions. It is also known as Spanish Bayonet or Soft Tipped Yucca and is native to the coastal hills of the southeastern United States. Yucca gloriosa has brilliant foliage, with long, sword-like leaves that can grow up to 3 feet tall. In the fall, it produces tall spikes of creamy white flowers, which attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

Yucca gloriosa is a great plant for a Mediterranean-style garden, as it can easily withstand the dry, hot summers and mild winters of this region. Its architectural form and contrasting foliage make it a good choice for adding interest to your landscape. You can grow Yucca gloriosa in zones 7 to 11, making it suitable for many areas of the country.

This drought-tolerant shrub is very low maintenance and requires little water once established. It can grow in a wide range of soil types, including sandy, well-drained soils. Yucca gloriosa is also salt tolerant, making it a good option for coastal gardens. The spire-like flowers can add a touch of elegance to your garden, while the bold foliage provides a strong focal point.

If you want to attract wildlife to your garden, Yucca gloriosa is a great choice. The orange flowers are particularly attractive to hummingbirds, and the dense foliage can provide shelter for birds and other small animals. You can plant Yucca gloriosa near your home to enjoy its beauty year-round, or use it as a background plant in your garden to add height and structure.

In addition to Yucca gloriosa, there are many other drought-tolerant plants that can thrive in your garden. Consider adding plants like Perovskia (Russian Sage), Manuka (New Zealand Tea Tree), Bottlebrush, and Hardy Ice Plant to your landscape. These plants are all known for their ability to withstand dry conditions and can add color and interest to your garden.

Whether you have a desert garden or a coastal landscape, it is important to choose plants that can survive with little water. Yucca gloriosa is one of the best choices for a drought-tolerant garden, with its hardy nature and brilliant orange flowers. Add this native plant to your garden and enjoy its beauty year after year.

11 Leucadendron

Leucadendron shrubs are a great choice for an informal, drought-tolerant landscape. These shrubs thrive in poor soil conditions and can withstand drought, making them perfect for areas with limited water resources. Leucadendron shrubs have an interesting look, with their blue-gray foliage and unique shape. They can add texture and contrast to your garden, whether you choose to plant them near a seating area, along paths, or as hedging.

One of the most loved Leucadendron shrubs is Leucadendron ‘Bancroft’, a native of California. It has dark-leaved foliage and stunning flowering bracts that are loved by hummingbirds. Another great choice is Leucadendron argenteum, also known as the Silver Tree. This shrub grows well in Mediterranean-style gardens and can add a touch of elegance to your landscape.

Leucadendron forms a natural shape and requires little pruning. However, if you want to maintain a certain shape, you can easily prune it back after winter. These shrubs are well suited for dry conditions and can thrive even in desert-like areas. They are also resistant to pests and diseases, making them a low-maintenance option for your garden.

Leucadendron ‘Bancroft’ Leucadendron argenteum
Leucadendron Bancroft Leucadendron argenteum

If you are considering planting Leucadendron shrubs in your garden, it is important to note that they prefer well-draining soil. They can also benefit from a layer of gravel around the base to help retain moisture. Leucadendron shrubs look best when planted in groups or as part of a larger landscape design. They can also be planted near other drought-tolerant shrubs, such as Leptospermum or Cotinus, to create a visually appealing look.

Leucadendron is a great choice for anyone looking to add a touch of color and texture to their landscape while conserving water. These hardy shrubs are not only drought-tolerant but also provide food and shelter for wildlife. Whether you live in a dry area or just want a low-maintenance garden, Leucadendron shrubs are a great addition to any landscape.

12 Mediterranean herbs

12 Mediterranean herbs

If you live in the south or in an area where drought is a concern, it’s important to choose plants that can thrive with less water. Mediterranean herbs are a great choice because they are naturally adapted to dry conditions and can survive with minimal irrigation. These herbs are not only drought-tolerant but also provide a fragrant and attractive addition to your garden or landscape.

Here are 12 Mediterranean herbs that are perfect for the south:

  1. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) – This hardy evergreen shrub is native to the Mediterranean and is well-known for its aromatic leaves. It can be used as both a culinary herb and a decorative plant in borders or containers.

  2. Thyme (Thymus) – A small, low-growing herb with tiny leaves that is commonly used in cooking. It can be planted as a groundcover or in rock gardens and does well in poor, well-drained soils.

  3. Sage (Salvia) – This herb has beautiful silver-gray leaves and produces small, purple flowers in early summer. It is a popular choice for herb gardens and also attracts butterflies and bees.

  4. Oregano (Origanum) – A culinary herb with small, aromatic leaves that can be used fresh or dried. It is a great addition to Mediterranean-style gardens and can be planted in borders or containers.

  5. Basil (Ocimum basilicum) – A fragrant herb that is commonly used in Italian cuisine. It is best planted in containers or in herb gardens and requires well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight.

  6. Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) – A biennial herb with bright green leaves that is often used as a garnish or in cooking. It does well in containers or as a border plant.

  7. Marjoram (Origanum majorana) – A close relative of oregano, this herb has a milder flavor and is often used in Italian and Greek dishes. It can be planted in gardens or in containers.

  8. Lavender (Lavandula) – A fragrant herb with beautiful purple flowers that is often used in potpourri or as a decorative plant. It is best planted in well-drained soil and requires full sun.

  9. Rue (Ruta graveolens) – An herb with bluish-green leaves that has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. It can be planted in gardens or as a border plant.

  10. Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) – This herb has daisy-like flowers that can be used to make a relaxing tea. It can be planted in gardens or as a groundcover.

  11. Borage (Borago officinalis) – An herb with vibrant blue flowers that are not only beautiful but also attract bees and butterflies. It can be planted in gardens or as a border plant.

  12. Calendula (Calendula officinalis) – Also known as pot marigold, this herb produces vibrant yellow flowers that can be used in salads or as a natural dye. It can be planted as a border plant or in containers.

These Mediterranean herbs are hardy, native plants that require minimal water and can thrive in the hot and dry climates of the south. Whether you use them for culinary purposes or simply for their stunning appearance, they are a great addition to any garden or landscape. So why not plan your garden and introduce these herbs to create a beautiful, low-maintenance and drought-tolerant space that will be the envy of your neighbors?

Which native shrubs are drought tolerant

When it comes to choosing shrubs for your garden that can survive drought conditions, it’s always a good idea to look for native species. Native shrubs are adapted to the specific climate and soil conditions of their region, making them more likely to tolerate periods of low water. Here are some native shrubs that are known to be drought tolerant:

  • Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) – This shrub produces vibrant flowers in shades of red, pink, and white. It can thrive in a variety of conditions and is known for its hardiness.
  • California Lilac (Ceanothus spp.) – These native plants are loved for their beautiful blue flowers and their ability to attract pollinators. They are well-suited for sunny gardens and can tolerate dry conditions.
  • Manzanita (Arctostaphylos spp.) – Native to California, these shrubs have unique twisted branches and produce small white or pink flowers. They are highly adapted to drought and can thrive in sandy or rocky soils.
  • Bottlebrush (Callistemon spp.) – Native to Australia but loved by gardeners worldwide, bottlebrush shrubs produce brilliant red flowers that attract hummingbirds. They are hardy and can tolerate dry conditions.
  • Spire (Spirea spp.) – This shrub produces clusters of white, pink, or blue flowers in the spring and summer. It is drought tolerant and can be used in borders or as a hedge.
  • Perovskia (Russian Sage) – With its silvery foliage and tall spikes of lavender-blue flowers, perovskia is a standout in the garden. It is highly drought tolerant and can easily thrive in dry conditions.

These are just a few examples of native shrubs that are known for their ability to tolerate drought. When planning your landscape, it’s important to consider the specific conditions of your area and choose plants that are well-suited for those conditions. Native shrubs are a great choice for gardens in drought-prone regions as they have already adapted to the local climate and soil conditions.

Which are the best drought-tolerant shrubs for shade

Which are the best drought-tolerant shrubs for shade

When it comes to selecting drought-tolerant shrubs for shady areas, there are several excellent choices that can thrive with less water. These shrubs not only add contrast and texture to a shady garden, but they also provide year-round interest with their evergreen foliage.

One popular choice for shade is the evergreen shrub known as boxwood (Buxus). Boxwood can be used for hedging and creates a formal and elegant look. While it prefers full sun, it can tolerate some shade and is drought-tolerant once established.

Another drought-tolerant shrub that can thrive in shade is the rhododendron. These flowering shrubs add a splash of color to shady areas and come in a variety of sizes and colors. They prefer well-drained soil and require minimal watering once established.

For a more informal look, consider planting the California lilac (Ceanothus). These shrubs are native to California and thrive in sunny or partially shaded areas. They are known for their vibrant blue flowers and are a favorite among butterfly and bee enthusiasts.

If you are looking for a shrub that can tolerate both shade and drought, the lemon-scented gum (Corymbia citriodora) is a great option. Native to Australia, these fast-growing evergreen shrubs have a lemon-scented foliage and can tolerate poor soil conditions.

Another option for shady areas is the butterfly bush (Buddleia). While it is typically grown for its vibrant flower spikes, there are varieties available that have been bred for their ability to thrive in shade. These shrubs attract butterflies and hummingbirds and are a great addition to any shady garden.

Drought-tolerant shrubs for shade
Shrub Description
Boxwood (Buxus) Evergreen shrub, can be used for hedging, drought-tolerant
Rhododendron Flowering shrub, adds color to shady areas, requires minimal watering
California lilac (Ceanothus) Native to California, vibrant blue flowers, attracts butterflies
Lemon-scented gum (Corymbia citriodora) Fast-growing evergreen shrub with lemon-scented foliage, tolerates poor soil conditions
Butterfly bush (Buddleia) Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, varieties available for shade

These are just a few choices for drought-tolerant shrubs that can thrive in shade. When selecting shrubs for shady areas, it is important to consider the specific conditions of your garden and choose shrubs that are suitable for those conditions. Whether you are looking for evergreen foliage, flowering shrubs, or native plants, there are drought-tolerant options available that can add beauty to your shady garden.

Published by Ruth Riley

Which drought-tolerant shrubs are good for hedges

When it comes to choosing shrubs for hedges in drought-prone areas, there are several options that can thrive with less water. Not only will these shrubs add beauty to your landscape, but they will also serve as a natural privacy barrier and define borders in your garden.

1. Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium): This shrub, also known as New Zealand tea tree, is a great choice for hedges. It has small dark green leaves and produces beautiful pink, white, or red flowers. Manuka thrives in poor soils and is drought-tolerant.

2. Riley’s Selection California Wild Lilac (Ceanothus ‘Riley’s Selection’): If you live in the western states, this shrub is a top choice. It has a fast growth rate and can easily reach heights of 15 feet. The beautiful blue flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

3. Sage (Salvia spp.): Sage is available in various forms and sizes, making it a versatile choice for hedges. It has soft, gray-green leaves and produces vibrant purple, blue, or orange flowers. Sage is drought-tolerant and can thrive in both low desert and high mountain conditions.

4. Laurel Leaf Willow (Salix pentandra): This shrub has attractive dark green leaves and provides an excellent contrast when planted with other drought-tolerant plants. It prefers well-drained soils and can grow up to 30 feet in height.

5. Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii): This shrub is well-known for its ability to attract butterflies with its fragrant flowers. It comes in a variety of colors, including shades of purple, pink, white, and yellow. Butterfly bush is drought-tolerant and requires minimal pruning.

6. Cottonwood (Populus deltoides): If you are looking for a fast-growing shrub for hedges, consider the cottonwood tree. It has heart-shaped leaves and provides excellent privacy and shade. Cottonwood is drought-tolerant but requires regular pruning to maintain its desired shape.

7. Mexican Orange (Choisya ternata): This shrub is native to Mexico and produces fragrant white flowers. It has glossy, dark green leaves and can tolerate drought conditions. Mexican Orange is a great choice for hedges in southern states.

8. Winter Heath (Erica carnea): This shrub is a low-growing evergreen that blooms from winter to early spring. It has pink, purple, or white flowers and thrives in well-drained soils. Winter Heath is a perfect choice for informal hedges or bordering paths.

9. Blue Star Juniper (Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’): This shrub has a compact size and striking blue foliage, making it an excellent choice for hedges. It is drought-tolerant and can provide year-round color in your garden.

10. California Lilac (Ceanothus spp.): With its vibrant blue flowers, California lilac is a popular choice for hedges. It is drought-tolerant and can thrive in a variety of soil conditions. California lilac attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

11. Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata): This shrub is native to the southwestern United States and produces bright yellow flowers. It is drought-tolerant and thrives in poor soils. Desert Marigold is an excellent choice for hedges in desert landscapes.

12. Pink Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris): Although technically a grass, pink muhly grass can be used as a hedge in certain landscapes. It has delicate pink blooms and looks beautiful when planted in mass. Pink muhly grass is drought-tolerant and can be pruned back in winter.

When planning your drought-tolerant hedge, it is important to consider the size, shape, and form of the shrubs, as well as the available space in your garden. Choose the shrubs that will best suit your landscape and give you the desired look and privacy. With these choices, you can have a beautiful hedge that thrives even in drought conditions.


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