15 Drought-Tolerant Perennials That Bloom All Summer

As the summer sun blazes across our gardens, parching the earth and testing the resilience of our plants, water-wise gardening has become a necessity.

This is especially true in regions where water is a precious and sometimes scarce commodity.

Bright blooming flowers of a Mexican Petunia, 8 Perennial Plants That Bloom All Year in Zone 10

In this context, selecting the right flora can make all the difference between a flourishing, vibrant garden and a wilted, lifeless landscape.

Knowing before-hand what plants will thrive in areas prone to droughts, will save you much misery when there’s lack of rainfall.

These aren't just drought-tolerant perennials; they are garden warriors, blooming unyieldingly throughout the summer, adding color, beauty, and joy to your green spaces.

Drought-tolerant Perennials

While water is crucial for growing a lot of plants, many drought-tolerant perennials can withstand long bouts of dryness. Here are 15 of the most hardy of them all.

1. Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)

The blanket flowers are daisy-like and have no special needs. They like their surroundings to be sandy and covered with dry soil.

Blanket Flowers Gaillarda Arizona Sun

All they need is an area with sunlight and very little amounts of water occasionally.

Gaillardias are suitable to be grown in cold and warm climates both. From the period of early summers to early fall, yellow, orange, deep red, or peach colored petals are formed.

Sometimes the petals form in various combinations of the above colors.

Having trouble with your blanket flowers? Read here: Why Are My Blanket Flowers Dying?

Get these blanket flower seeds on Amazon.

2. Yarrow

Achillea millefolium, commonly called yarrow is known to have many healing properties. It is an aromatic herb that requires sunlight and well-draining loamy soil.

yellow and orange achillea millefolium or yarrow in full bloom

It has small flowers that are well packed and requires minimum maintenance and is suitable to be grown in rock gardens, borders, and wildflower meadows.

If you're having problems with your yarrow plant, read here: Why Is My Yarrow Dying [And What To Do]?

Check out this white yarrow 500 seedlings on Amazon.

3. Red Valerian

Centranthus ruber, commonly called red valerian or kiss-me-quick is usually woody at the base.

This plant prefers extreme sunlight and doesn’t need proper soil conditions as well.

Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber) in garden

After being established, the plant needs minimum care and occasional water spells.

It is known for its ornamental flowers that are usually of a purplish red or a brick-red color.

The blossoms can also be of a deep crimson, pink, white or lavender color. These are pollinated by both, bees and butterflies, therefore red valerian makes up for an amazing border plant.

Get 40 seeds of red Centranthus Ruber on Amazon.

4. Brown Betty

Rudbeckia hirta, commonly known as brown betty or black-eyed Susan is a self-seeding plant.

Although it is a drought-tolerant plant, it prefers a neutral pH level and extreme to moderate sunlight.

Black-eyed susan captured at the garden

It is used for medicinal purposes as an herb in a few tribal nations and some people believe that Brown Betty naturally cure infections, flu, swelling, and colds.

Some parts of the plant are known to be nutritious while other parts are not edible. The blossoms are of a rich black and gold color.

Get your Black Eyed Susan seeds  on Amazon. 

5. Adria Bellflower

Campanula portenschlagiana, commonly known as adria bellflower or wall bellflower, is a mound-forming, vigorous, and a low-growing plant.

Although being drought-tolerant, it might need occasional watering. The blossoms are of a deep blue, deep purple or a bluish-purple color.

Campanula portenschlagiana bellflower

The flowers of this plant are capable of self-pollinating but may be pollinated by butterflies, bees, beetles, and flies.

The leaves of the Adria bellflower usually remain green all through winters. They turn brown only during the spring when they’re replaced by new growing leaves and should be discarded.

Check out this bellflower seeds on Amazon.

6. Portulaca

Portulaca, also known as moss rose, is the type genus of the flowering plant family Portulacaceae.

It's noted as a perennial only in zones 10B through 11 but pretty enough to be worth a mention on this list.

A closeup shot of beautiful Portulaca grandiflora flowers growing in a garden

It has long, luscious leaves and due to them, it can survive for a long period of time without water. This perennial plant does well in soil that is poor, dry, and sandy.

The blossoms of portulaca are red, yellow, cream, pink, orange, deep lavender, and white.

The plant seeds and spreads by itself, therefore, needs to be controlled to avoid crop in unwanted areas. Butterflies are greatly attracted by the eye-catching look of the flowers.

Here are more insights on growing Portulaca plants: Does Portulaca Come Back Every Year?

Check out these heirloom and open pollinate Portulaca seeds on Amazon.

7. Russian Sage

Perovskia atriplicifolia, commonly known as Russian sage, is a tough and drought-tolerant plant.

Pretty Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) growing in front of an adobe wall

This perennial needs sunlight and well-drained soil to thrive. It has square stems and leaves that have a grayish green color. The leaves release a distinct odor when crushed.

The foliage of this plant is silvery gray and its blossoms are of a beautiful lavender color or a blue to violet color.

Check out this potted live plant Russian sage on Amazon.

8. Kniphofia (Torch Lily or Red Hot Poker)

Kniphofia, commonly known as torch lily or red hot poker, are very easy to grow. They prefer full sun and well-drained soil to grow. Once established, they require minimum care.

Red hot poker flowers in garden. Kniphofia uvaria tritomea or torch lily

Torch lilies plants have larger flowers if they are occasionally watered, especially during dry times but will manage without as well, making them drought-resistant.

They produce spikes of tall, vibrant colored flowers. The shades vary from red, yellow, and orange to bicolor. The copious nectar that the blossoms produce attracts sunbirds and bees.

Check out these Red Hot Poker perennials on Amazon.

9. Salvia

Salvia is a perennial that is the largest genus of plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae, and drought-resistant.

Salvia nemorosa the woodland sage beautiful bright color purple blue flowers in bloom, Balkan clary flowering ornamental plants in the garden

This plant is known to grow well in dry, hot conditions. The flowers of this plant are blue, white, red or lavender.

It comes in various varieties of shapes, colors, and fragrances, most of them grow about 18 to 36 inches tall. Some say this plant has natural healing properties as well!

Check out these rare black and blue Salvia on Amazon.

10. Lavender

Lavundula, commonly known as lavender, is an aromatic herb and one of the most well-loved drought-tolerant perennials. This plant fits perfectly in this list as it is known as an herb that absolutely cannot tolerate excess water.

Harvesting lavender in the garden

The blooms may be blue, lilac, violet, blackish purple or yellowish. The lavender color is actually named after this plant as the blooms are sometimes of that color.

Most of the species of lavender leaves are covered in hairs that are fine and contain essential oils.

Here's how to grow healthy lavender plants indoors: Lavender In Planters: Complete Guide To Care

Check out this English lavender seeds with 90% germination on Amazon.

11. Shasta Daisy

Leucanthemum × superbum, commonly called Shasta daisy, is a short-lived perennial. These plants like to grow in soil that is both fertile and well-drained.

Leucanthemum x superbum 'Engelina' a spring summer flowering plant commonly known as Shasta daisy

They produce flowers that look like daisies, with white petals surrounding a yellow center. These flowers grow on a type of plant that comes back year after year and is called an herbaceous perennial.

Some might find the distinct odor of this plant unpleasant.

Check out this white Shasta Daisy seeds on Amazon.

12. Globe Thistle

Echinops, commonly called globe thistles, are drought-tolerant and require minimum maintenance.

They have spiny leaves and white or blue flower heads that are spherical in shape.

Globe thistle 'Veitch's Blue' in flower

These plants can self-seed but should the process of growing them should be started from cultivated seed.

Using collected seeds to grow them can be a difficult task. The blooms of this plant are of gorgeous blue and violet colors. (They vary depending on their variety)

Check out these Outsidepride Blue Globe Thistle seeds on Amazon.

13. Whorled-Tickseed

Coreopsis verticillata, commonly known as whorled-tickseed or thread leaf coreopsis, is a North American species. The ray and disc florets both of the flower heads are bright yellow.

Coreopsis verticillata. The whorled tickseed blooms in the garden

The plant is suitable for dry, thin woods and open pinelands. It can manage with complete exposure to the sun, poor soil, extreme exposure to heat.

If that's not enough, it grows about 2 to 3 ft tall and about 2 ft wide. In other words, if you're looking for a large wild plant, this could be a good choice.

Check out these Coreopsis seeds on Amazon.

14. Rock Soapworts

Saponaria, commonly called rock soapwort or tumbling Red, belongs to the family.

This plant grows well on neglect, it doesn’t require any fertilizers, and it thrives in poor soil and in areas with drought-like conditions.

The rock soapwort or tumbling Ted (Saponaria ocymoides) flowering with pink five-petalled flowers

Also known to be used to make soap, this plant is a self-seeder and grows about 1 to 3 inches tall. They have a light fragrance.

The blooms of this plant are pale purple or white that emerge in mid-summer and usually last till the fall.

Get your soapwort seeds on Amazon.

15. Cacti

Last but not least, cactus is a member of the plant family Cactaceae.

A lot of pots with cacti and succulents on the windowsill. Can Succulents Die From Too Much Rain

Cacti or cactuses do not need much water and maintenance to grow, and most of them thrive in extremely dry environments.

When these plants don’t get enough water supplies, they shrink and make use of the reserved water.

So there you have it, the most drought-tolerant perennials you can try planting. Again, here's an overview of the list:

  1. Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)
  2. Yarrow
  3. Red Valerian
  4. Brown Betty
  5. Adria Bellflower
  6. Portulaca
  7. Russian Sage
  8. Kniphofia (Torch Lily or Red Hot Poker)
  9. Salvia
  10. Lavender
  11. Shasta Daisy
  12. Globe Thistle
  13. Whorled Tickseed
  14. Rock Soapworts
  15. Cacti

With these 15 drought-tolerant perennials, you won’t have to compromise color and your garden will be able to withstand long dry periods.

Thank you for reading and happy planting!

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Which Drought-Tolerant Perennials Bloom All Summer?

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