37 Outdoor Plants That Need Little Water

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Need some plants that can withstand dry conditions? We’ve put together a list of 37 plants that can tolerate some time with only a little bit of water. From blooming plants to herbs to ornamentals, there should be something on this list to suit your gardening need. Let’s take a look!

A gorgeous Desert Rose flower planted outside in a garden, 37 Outdoor Plants That Need Little Water

1. Portulaca

Portulaca (Portulaca grandiflora) is a low ground cover plant that flowers. It’s native to Brazil and will tolerate light watering. They will seed and spread themselves easily which can be a good or bad thing depending on your needs in the garden. They come in several different colors and will invite butterflies to the garden. An annual in zones 2-10a, it will grow as a perennial any further south.

2. Sedum

Sedum (Sedum pulchellem) grows in USDA zones 6-9. It loves full sun and is drought tolerant. Plants in the genus Sedum are commonly called stonecrops because they are typically found in the wild growing on rocky or stony areas. They have light green leaves and flowers in whites and pinks.

3. Desert Rose

Desert Rose (Adenium obesum) grows in USDA zones 10-11 outdoors but is a loved houseplant for many. In desert roses, the trunk swells to conserve moisture for times of drought. A fat trunk indicates plant health. A skinny trunk shows that the plant requires more moisture. This plant has beautiful rose-like flowers and glossy green leaves.

4. Jade

Jade plant (Crassula ovata) is a succulent that is much-loved as a potted plant. Jade plants may be grown outdoors as landscape plants in areas with a mild, dry climate year-round (typically zone 10 and warmer). They have thick woody stems and dark green oval-shaped leaves.

5. Prickly Pear Cactus

Prickly pear (Opuntia) is a member of the cactus family. Typically grown in zones 9-11, there are some hardy to zones as cold as USDA zone 4. They are characterized by paddle-shaped leaves and beautiful flowers when they bloom. They love full sun and are both deer and drought resistant.

6. Blanket Flower

Blanket Flower (Gaillardia) is a member of the sunflower family. This perennial flower blooms profusely with orange flowers tipped with yellow. They grow in USDA zones 3-10, love full sun, and all soils except for clay. This is a fairly foolproof plant for your garden that grows in spreading mounds.

7. Lavender

Lavender (Lavandula) is a beautifully-scented perennial that blooms with lavender colored flowers. It’s widely used in perfumes and soaps and even for culinary purposes. It grows in USDA zones 5-9 and is drought-resistant. It attracts pollinators and loves a bright dry spot to grow.

8. Bouganvilla

Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea) is a flowering vine that thrives in USDA zones 9-11. This low-maintenance vine will spread and fill out with absolutely gorgeous blossoms. It’s drought-tolerant and will bloom best after a dry winter. They do like a lot of sun to do their very best.

9. Lantana

Lantana (Lantana camara) grows in USDA zones 1-8 as a summer annual and will grow as a perennial in zones 9-11. There are over 150 varieties of this cheerful flowering plant. This is a heat-loving plant that absolutely thrives in the sunshine. It can be toxic to people and pets so be aware of where you plant it.

10. Oleander

Oleander (Nerium oleander) is a gorgeous but poisonous shrub. It grows in USDA zones 8-11 and tolerates drought very well. Because it’s so sturdy, you can find it along highways, where they are planted as noise barriers, as well as home gardens. It has long narrow leaves and showy flowers most often in white and pink.

11. Poppy

Poppy (Papaver orientale) is a beautiful flower that comes in a number of different varieties, including the infamous opium poppy. These flowers are hardy in USDA zones 3-9, love full sun, and well-drained soil. They are drought-resistant, bloom in early summer, and come in a number of colors. Each plant grows to about 1-3 feet tall and looks gorgeous planted in a bed full of these flowers.

12. Globe Thistle

Globe thistle (Echinops ritro) is part of the Aster family. The deep blue globe-like flowers are held high above the attractive thistle-like foliage. It’s one of the very best flowers for attracting bees and butterflies to your garden and is drought-resistant. This plant grows in USDA zones 3-8 and enjoys full sunshine. It blooms in mid to late summer.

13. Rose Campion

Rose Campion (Lychnis coronaria) is an old-fashioned garden favorite. It has erect greyish stalks that bloom with abundance in shades of white, pale pink, and magenta. This one prefers moist soils but will tolerate dry soils. It just may not bloom as profusely. It grows in USDA zones 3-8 and is a long-blooming perennial.

14. Russian Sage

Russian Sage (Salvia yangii) grows in USDA zones 4-9. Tall, spike-like clusters create a lavender cloud of color above the textured, aromatic foliage. This vigorous, heat-loving, and drought-tolerant plant resists deer and other pests. It likes full sun and occasional water, especially when the heat is extreme.

15. Fountain Grass

Fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) is prized for its fountain of foliage and showy, foxtail-like plumes. It creates a terrific textural and color contrast among shrubs, perennials, and in rock gardens. Its fall foliage is yellow to orange. Grows in USDA zones 4-10 and establishes easily in the garden. Cut it back in very early spring for growth and best show for the next summer.

16. Yarrow

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) has fern-like gray-green foliage which creates a soft background for the tall heads of bright flowers. It’s a great performer in hot, dry situations with poor soil. The flower heads can be dried for use in arrangements. This perennial does well in USDA zones 3-9 and only needs the occasional watering.

17. Euphorbia

Euphorbia (Euphorbia) is a diverse group of flowering plants also known as spurge. There are varieties for  USDA zones 5-11. Some are evergreens, some are deciduous, most have flowering foliage. As a whole, they grow prolifically and tolerate drought and deer.

18. Kangaroo Paw

Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos) grows in zones 10-11. This plant is native to Australia and blooms with really interesting fuzzy, tubular red/orange flowers. It’s a late spring to fall blooming perennial that tolerates many types of soil and low water. 

19. Agastache

Agastache (Agastache) is also known as Hummingbird Mint. It’s known for its showy, fragrant, long-blooming flowers. As the name suggests, they’re highly attractive to hummingbirds. They also have excellent resistance to browsing deer and rabbits. This perennial grows in USDA zones 4-10 and blooms from mid-summer through the fall.

20. Aloe

Aloe (Aloe vera) is a succulent known for the soothing properties of its juices. It’s widely used for burn creams and lotions to soothe irritated skin. Many people will keep a potted one in their kitchen to use if scalded. It can grow outdoors in the garden in USDA zones 9-11, but many people in colder climates keep it as an easy-to-grow low water need houseplant.

21. Pampas Grass

Pampas Grass (Cortaderia araucana) is native to South America. It grows in USDA zones 5-12 depending upon the variety. This large clumping grass blooms with elegant fronds that are highly sought after for dried floral arrangements. It’s drought-resistant and looks great planted in groups.

22. Juniper

Juniper (Juniperus) is a family of evergreen shrubs and trees. There are varieties available for almost every USDA zone. They are drought-tolerant and provide beautiful year-round foliage for a garden or woodland area. Many junipers produce berries that are attractive to birds.

23. Daylily

Daylily (Hemerocallis) is actually not a lily. This flowering plant is one of the easiest perennials to grow. Plant the bulbs and they grow quickly and can thrive in almost any type of soil. Daylily bulbs will grow in sun or shade and are rarely troubled by insect pests or disease. The lighter colored flowers will handle heat better than the darker varieties. These beautiful flowers grow in most USDA zones, depending upon the variety.

24. Yucca

Yucca (Yucca) is a popular drought-resistant perennial. This US native plant has many species and varieties that grow well in gardens. It often produces some tall blooms that grow from the center of the plant and are typically white in color. Yucca grows in USDA zones 3-11 and prefers drier, well-drained soil.

25. Stonecrop

Stonecrop (Sedum) grows in USDA zones 2-9 as a perennial. This succulent gets tall blooms above greyish green foliage. It’s perfect for rock gardens and in-between areas because it grows so well and easily.

26. Black-Eyed Susan

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) is a colorful, fuss-free border plant. It’s also an excellent choice for cut flowers. This perennial has bright, daisy-like, golden-yellow flowers with black centers that cover the dark green foliage. It tolerates heat, humidity, and clay soil. Rudbeckia grows in zones 3-9 and is a lovely addition to all gardens.

27. Bottlebrush

Bottlebrush (Callistemon) is a unique evergreen shrub with narrow leaves and a gorgeous showing of red bottlebrush shaped flowers. This dramatic plant makes quite an impact in your landscape. It tolerates poor soils, heat, and mild drought when established. It is best suited for USDA zones 8-11 and enjoys full sun to do its best. 

28. Hawthorn

Hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis indica) is a flowering shrub that’s great for mass plantings and hedges. It comes in several different varieties and flower colors. It likes partial to full sun and will grow in USDA zones 7-11. It’s an easy to care for plant and its ornamental berries are attractive to birds. 

29. Sweet Bay

Sweet bay (Laurus nobilis) is an aromatic shrub best known for its culinary contributions. Its leaves are commonly used as a spice in soups and stews. When dried, they can last in your spice cabinet for some time. It’s an evergreen and can even be formed and pruned into topiary forms. It’s drought tolerant once established and works for USDA zones 8-11.

30. Trumpet Vine

Trumpet Vine (Campsis) is a beautiful flowering vine that hummingbirds find irresistible. Its stalks get quite woody over time and it may need regular pruning if grown near a home. There are varieties for zones 4-11 but not all varieties will work in all zones, so be sure to choose the right one for your location.

31. Green Leaved Eyryops

Green Leaved Euryops (Euryops pectinatus) is a popular evergreen shrub with an extended bloom season. Daisy-like blooms dot the frilly foliage. This works well for beds and borders and mass plantings. It grows in USDA zones 8-11 and is drought-tolerant once it’s established.

32. Wintercreeper

Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei) is a hedge groundcover that grows well in USDA zones 4-9. It comes in a number of varieties but most have lovely variegated leaves that add a bit of variety to shrub color in the landscape. They have a moderate growth rate and work super well in mass plantings along borders and walkways. Not all varieties are drought-resistant so check to make sure and choose one that is.

33. Rosemary

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is an aromatic, herbal evergreen shrub that requires very little care. The leaves are a staple in the kitchen and used to season a variety of dishes. This plant is hardy and thrives in poor soil and handles drought very well. It can be pruned into topiary forms inside of containers as well as grown in a border or herb garden. This plant does well in USDA zones 6-10.

34. Germander

Germander (Teucrium fruticans) is also known as Azure Bush. It has silvery green leaves that shimmer when the sun hits them. This evergreen tolerates poor and rocky soils and can deal with minimal care. The flowers are a lovely blueish purple color and are attractive to bees. This plant can grow in zones 8-9 and does need full sun.

35. Gro-Low Fragrant Sumac

Gro Lo Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica) is a tough, fast-growing groundcover for slopes or banks. It also works in areas with poor, dry soil. The glossy, green foliage has an excellent red fall color and is fragrant when brushed against or the leaves are crushed. This shrub works well in border plantings, backed by taller shrubs and perennials. The leaves are deciduous so keep that in mind when choosing its location.

This plant grows in USDA zones 4-9 and tolerates dry conditions but might need a bit of help in extreme heat.

36. Artemesia

Artemesia (Artemisia vulgaris) is part of the daisy family. It has dark greyish green foliage and in the spring produces small, symmetrical flower clusters in red, pink, orange, and yellow. This plant has been cultivated for medicinal purposes since early times and is often found in teas. Mugwort plants live longer and can be more aromatic when planted in poor soil with dry weather conditions. These plants do well in USDA zones 4-9.

37. Beardtongue

Beardtongue (Penstemon) grows in USDA zones 3-8. They bloom in late spring and early summer and enjoy a full blast of sunlight. They tolerate drought but will bloom better if given a weekly rain or soaking. The flowers grow in multiples on slender stalks and have a trumpet-like quality to the blooms. Most of the flowers are shades of red or pink but there are also blue and white varieties should you choose those.

37 Easy Plants

So there you have it, 37 varieties of plants to choose from that can do without a whole bunch of water. Go through and find which ones work for your zone and what you’re trying to achieve in your garden. With this list, you’ll have a carefree garden in no time.

For other plant lists here at GardenTabs.com, please check out these below:

39 Plants That Like Full Sun And Heat

30 Tall Thin Plants For Landscaping Your Garden Or Backyard

22 Fast-Growing Plants For Your Garden

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