6 Drought-Tolerant Plants Perfect For A Yard In An Arid Climate

Posted on: 28 May 2015


As more and more localities enact regulations that restrict the way you water your lawns and gardens, as a homeowner you're going to have to learn to adapt to these changes or live in a dull, brown world. That's because many plants and flowers currently used to liven up yards and gardens across the country are a poor match for most water rationing rules. These species will tend to turn wither and die in the dry summer heat. Thankfully, Mother Nature is always adaptable. She's provided plenty of drought-tolerant species you can use in any low-water situations you encounter.


The first plants that probably occurred to you when considering arid-climate plants is the staple of the southwest, the cactus. Some cacti are better suited for landscape accents around the home than others. Because overgrowth and height can be a problem, you should work carefully with your landscaper when selected the right cactus. One excellent candidate to consider is the golden barrel cactus. This native of arid Mexican climes is a slow-grower that sprouts dazzling golden flowers throughout the summer.

Cape Blanco

The Cape Blanco grows short, sprouts yellow flowers, and requires very little watering. Its velvety, thick green leaves should provide a splash of color all summer long, even in hot and dry settings. Because of its relatively low profile, Cape Blanco also makes an excellent choice to edge around rock gardens, sidewalks, and driveways.

Blue Oat Grass

Blue oat grass is a terrific choice for adding some volume and deeper hues to a lawn and garden. This species (scientific name helictotrichon sempervirens) grows in bushes that show large, blue-green slender blades.

A native of the American southwest mountain ranges, blue oat grass thrives in low-water, high-heat conditions. You can use this plant as you would a hedge, adding a dramatic touch to line sidewalks or even as natural fencing for property edges.

Dragon's Blood

For a splash of burgundy or magenta color in your lawn or garden, Dragon's Blood (sedum spurium) makes an excellent choice. This plant, which is native to dry Mediterranean climates, is very low maintenance. It has become a staple ground cover choice for gardens around the sandy, arid soil of wine-growing regions of California and Washington State. Like the Cape Blanco, this plant is an excellent choice you can use to outline rock gardens or add a dramatic accent to sidewalks.

Orange Libertia

The narrow, stiff leaves of the orange libertia (libertia peregrinans) can reach up to 2 feet in height. Thus, they can add a dazzling splash of southwestern-themed color to accent your dry-climate lawn or garden. While libertia serves as an excellent replacement for traditional deciduous bushes, this hardy plant becomes spectacular when it sprouts its white flowers at the height of summer. This plant is a native of New Zealand's more rocky soil areas, and you can use it to add needed volume and texture to your garden.

Fernleaf Lavender

Also known as Egyptian Lavender or lavandula multifada, fernleaf lavender is a short, multi-stalked bush. Not only does it grow to 2 feet in height, it also sprouts glorious flowering purple tops at the end of its stalks. You should be able to use this low-water plant to provide a perfect color counterpoint for traditional dry-climate gardens that may be dominated by yellow and brown-hued vegetation.

Dry weather conditions don't necessarily have to restrict the way you use color and texture to accent the landscaping that gives your home a unique and beautiful exterior. Many regions of the world have dry soil and naturally occurring near-drought conditions, yet still feature vivid, beautiful hues. Don't be afraid to re-think you exterior decorating scheme by incorporating the plants mentioned above. Your landscaper can be an excellent way to source these flowers and bushes. Landscape professionals can also help with recommending low-water soil additives or fertilizers as well.