Drought-resistant landscape plants

Some plants can thrive in sunny, dry conditions. Drought tolerate, the plants rely on their substantial moisture-retaining nature to deal with a lack of water. Their leaves may be small to reduce the amount of foliage exposed to the wind or sun rays. When adding plants to a sunny location, layers of mulch or leaf mold helps retain moisture in the ground.

Russian olive
The Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia L.) shrub produces fragrant flowers. The shrub can reach heights of 30 feet and thrives in hot, dry soil making it a good choice for a living privacy fence. Russian olive is cold hardy in USDA zones 3 through 8. This shrub can become invasive. Image courtesy of Georg Slickers, Wikimedia Commons.

For a shorter option, choose California lilac (Ceanothus), which can reach a height of 6 feet with springtime blooms. California lilac grows up to 6 feet tall and wide, and is hardy in USDA planting zones 9 to 10.
Warminster broom

The flowered branches of the Warminster broom (Cytisus x praecox) shrub can be cut for use in a vase. Also called Scottish broom and common broom, this shrub that produces yellow blooms, grows about 5 feet tall and wide, and is cold hardy in USDA planting zones 6 through 9. Image of courtesy of Cillas, Wikimedia Commons.


Silver sage
Silver sage (Salvia argentea) grows less than 2 feet tall making it a good choice as a border plant that is drought resistant. It displays large, fuzzy leaves and late summer blooms that will self-seed. Silver sage in cold hardy in USDA planting zones 5 through 9. Image courtesy of Wouterhagens, Wikimedia Commons.

Sea holly grows (Eryngium gigantium) to about 3 feet in a shrub-like fashion. Its small, blue blooms appear as spiny spheres. Sea holly is cold hardy in USDA zones 5 through 8.

Nettled-leaved mullein
Growing up to 3 feet tall, in early summer, nettle-leaved mullein (Verbascum chaixii) displays spikes of yellow flowers. This perennial is cold hardy in USDA planting zones 5 through 9. Image courtesy of Ghislain118, Wikimedia Commons.


Blanket flower
Blanket flower (Gaillardia pulchella) grows to about 20 inches tall and produces a daisy-like bloom in shades of red and yellow. Image courtesy of JoJan, Wikimedia Commons.

Marigold (Tagetes erecta, T. patula) offers summer blooms in shades of gold, red or yellow. This 8 to 24-inch tall flower makes an excellent border.

Growing 6 to 26 inches tall, snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) shows off delicate blooms from spring to fall, depending on the variety. Image courtesy of Raul654, Wikimedia Commons.

Ornamental Grasses

Giant feather grass
Giant feather grass (Stipa gigantea) has thin, arching foliage that produces gold panicles that burst into purple blooms in the spring. Capable of reaching heights of 10 feet, the wispy-looking plant shows up best on a dark background, like a building or broad evergreen. Image courtesy of Topjabot, Wikimedia Commons.

For a unique piece in the garden, choose leymus arenarius (Elymus arenarius), a blue-green grass that can reach 5 feet in height. Leymus is a good choice for a sandy location, like a beach house.

Maiden grass
Maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis) is a dense clump of ornamental grass that can reach up to 6 feet. Creamy white plumes fade to reddish-brown in early fall. Image courtesy of Horcha, Wikimedia Commons.