12 Drought-Tolerant Plants For Zone 5

When water is scarce, what better way to adapt than to choose completely low-maintenance plants in our blooming backyards, right?

In this post, we have created a list of the plants that you can count on even through a dry spell.

  • Trees: Autumn blaze, serviceberry, and ginkgo Biloba
  • Shrubs: Lilac, burning bush, and daphne
  • Vines: Honeysuckle, grapes, Wisteria
  • Perennials: Daylily, Thyme, and Lavender

Now that you have an idea about your possible droughts-buddies, let’s discuss a little more, shall we?

This way, you can get a better understanding of these plants, how to care for them, and therefore decide on which one to have in your gardens!

House in the park, Green lawn, front yard is beautifully designed garden, 12 Drought-Tolerant Plants For Zone 5


If you have enough space in your backyard, it’ll be a pleasure to have trees around. They provide the perfect shade for a picnic where the children can play.

As a bonus, we can enjoy the fruits they bear. Here are some of the best trees we have come up with in our list.

House in the park, Green lawn, front yard is beautifully designed garden, 12 Drought-Tolerant Plants For Zone 5

Autumn Blaze Maple Tree

Autumn Blaze trees are exceptional ornamentals. It has the traits of a Red Maple which explodes with red/orange color in the winter. Interestingly, it also shares silver maple’s drought tolerance.

When established in well-drained, moist, and fertile soil, this plant is the easiest to care for. It even tolerates poor soil as well! You just need to flood it with water when planting to settle the roots and growing this tree is such a breeze. You only need to offer protection during a tough winter.

Beautiful, colorful trees in autumn at the park


Serviceberries are beautiful trees with edible fruit. It’ll be an added if you choose the saskatoon variety as it is considered one of the tastiest varieties. It has a majestic display of white flowers that you might be mistaken for lilac in the spring.

These trees grow well in full sun for that best tasting and largest fruit harvest. However, you might need nets to protect the fruits from hungry birds. Serviceberries prefer soils with a ph of 6.0 to 7.8 and lighter soil with less clay. Plant these trees nine feet (2.5m) apart to give each one enough space to grow and prosper.

Gingko Biloba

Gingko Biloba is popular for its health benefits such as reducing symptoms of psychiatric disorders and dementia, relieving PMS symptoms, and improving blood circulation for heart health.

It does not require a lot of finesse aside from setting it in deep, well-drained soil with full to partial sun during planting. After it is established, you can just leave it to thrive. This tree is so strong that they were the only tree survivors during the Hiroshima attack in Japan!


If you are looking to redesign and upgrade your garden, adding shrubs may be perfect for you! Their ever-changing foliage and blossoms throughout the seasons add scale and structure to the garden. It is one of the things you will be looking forward to!

Boxwood bushes round shape,formal park


The Lilac bush is known for its outstanding fragrance and beautiful blooms in the spring. The flowers can range from pink to purple while other varieties may have white or yellow which makes your garden even more lovely.

The best time to plant lilacs is in the spring or early fall before the ground freezes. Just choose an area with plenty of afternoon sun and well-drained soil. It is also beneficial to add a layer of mulch enough to keep out the weeds and hold some moisture. With the proper planting and care, you can enjoy this beauty with low maintenance.

Burning Bush

If you plan on adding a pop of color to your garden, the burning bush is a strong bet for you. They bloom with bursting crimson color in the fall that turns into red berries. These berries attract various kinds of birds, making this bush a great choice for bird watchers.

Burning bush loves full to partial sun and may require well-drained and lightly moist soil during its early stages. Once it matures, it is very versatile and does not need any special care. To keep the size down, you may perform pruning, but this is just optional. Use some neem oil to control any spread of insects that suck and reduce the rigor of the plant.

Click here to check out the Bonide Neem Oil on Amazon.


One look and these flowers will surely take your breath away. They’re a delightful piece in your garden with their enticing fragrance. However, this plant is poisonous, and chewing on flowers, foliage or red berries can be fatal. So, make sure to plant them away from where the kids play.

There are three varieties of Daphne that you can choose for your garden, winter daphne, garland daphne, and burkwood daphne. They typically need full to partial shade and well-drained moist soil. Caring for daphne is easy, they grow best with a light layer of mulch and you are good to go!


Vines add color, height, and texture to your garden as they climb and spread horizontally. Some bloom beautiful flowers while others bear fruits so make sure you know what you want before choosing the vine to grow in your backyard.


One cannot deny the smooth and lovely fragrance of the honeysuckle from its sweet nectar. It also contains essential oils and antioxidants and is known to reduce swelling and viral infections. It has yellow to bright-yellow flowers to perfectly adorn your garden.

Honeysuckle is a versatile plant that prefers full sun and can tolerate any type of soil. But it would help if you add some organic matter to its well-drained soil. You can use a fence or trellis as support or you may also grow them in containers.

Blooming honeysuckle Bush near the house. White yellow Honeysuckle Graham Thomas in the garden, hedge in horticulture, natural


Grapes aren’t just grown for wines anymore. Nowadays, they are grown everywhere as a good addition to the fruit basket or to the aesthetic look it provides. Just choose a type of grape depending on your chosen use.

Generally, grapes aren’t fussy bout the type of soil they are grown in. Just remove any weeds and incorporate organic matter into the soil then you are already up for some good harvest!


This plant is one of the most loved vines in the garden for its sweet fragrance and picture-perfect violet-blue or lavender blooms in the mid-late spring. It is a twining vine that is best for covering arbor and pergola.

Once planted in deep and rich soil, pruning is the only important thing for wisteria care. This plant requires no fertilizing and is drought tolerant. Just remove any dead wood or crowded brunch every once in a while, then you can enjoy this Instagram-worthy plant.


Fall color, rudbeckia flowers

Everyone loves plants that can survive the cold winters and drought seasons. Thus, perennials are one of the most sought-after plants to grow because you won’t have to worry about them in extreme conditions.


It has always been a pleasure growing daylilies. They are often used as ground cover for slopes. Gardeners have always loved them because they are so easy to care for and some even thrive even on neglect.

It is best to plant daylilies in the early spring or early fall with sandy, heavy clay with organic matter and slightly acidic soil. But then again, they are adaptable, so these soil requirements aren’t exactly strict. Daylilies love some sun, especially in the morning. Just spray on some insecticides when you see aphids or thrips.


If you love cooking steak, you should not forget to sprinkle some thyme for that taste of the herb. But thyme isn’t only used in culinary, it can also be a decorative plant as well.

One thing interesting about this herb is that the more you actively neglect it, the better it grows! Thus, it is an excellent choice if you are a busy bee who, oftentimes, forgets about your plants.


Lavender is known for the production of essential oil used in cosmetics and is believed to have medicinal uses such as treating anxiety and hair loss. However, lavender oil is toxic when swallowed. So gardeners, beware.

Once established, they require little to no maintenance at all. Generally, it takes a year before you can harvest lavenders. You can even grow them indoors, just make sure they receive enough sunlight and warm temperature.

To Wrap Up

House in the park, Green lawn, front yard is beautifully designed garden

If you don’t want to worry about your plants during tough periods of drought, you must choose equally tough and self-reliant plants which can adapt to the seasonal changes. Just don’t forget the importance of pruning to encourage growth and the use of insecticides to combat pests that may invade your plants.

If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out these great posts:

Which Drought-Tolerant Perennials Bloom All summer?

37 Outdoor Plants That Need Little Water

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