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Drought-Tolerant Annuals and Perennials

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Drought tolerant annuals and perennials are plants that can withstand dry soil after their roots are established. No plant is drought-resistant until it become established.

All plants require a steady supply of moisture when first planted. Once a plant is established and has a deep root system, it requires less water.

Annuals and perennials started in spring when the soil is relatively moist can set down roots and then survive dry weather. It is best to start drought-tolerant annuals and perennials in the spot they will grow through dry weather rather than transplant them into the garden when the weather is hot and dry.

Blazing star, Liatris
Blazing star, Liatris, a perennial

Drought-Tolerant Annuals and Perennials

A-B Common NameBotanical NameZones
AgapanthusAgapanthus spp.8-10
AgaveAgave spp.8-11
AloeAloe spp.Varies
ArtemisiaArtemisia spp.Varies
Baby’s breathGypsophila paniculata3-9
Basket-of-goldAurinia saxatilis4-8
Bear’s breechesAcanthus mollis6-10
Black-eyed SusanRudbeckia fulgida3-10
Blanket flowerGallardia x grandiflora2-10
Blazing starLiatris spicata3-9
Butter daisyMelampodium leucanthumAnnual
Butterfly weedAsclepias tuberosa4-10
Flax flower, Linum perenne
Flax flower, Linum perenne
C-F Common NameBotanical NameZones
California poppyEschscholizia californicaAnnual
CatmintNepeta x fassenii4-9
Coneflower, purpleEchinacea purpurea3-9
CoreopsisCoreopsis spp.4-9
CosmosCosmos spp.Annual
Echeveria (most)Echeveria spp.8-11
Euphorbia (most)Euphorbia spp.Varies
Evening primrose, showyOenothera speciosa3-9
False sunflowerHeliopsis helianthoides4-9
Feather grassStipa spp.Varies
FlaxLinum perenne5-8
Flax, New ZealandPhormium tenax8-11
Fountain grassPennisetum alopecuroides5-9
Yellow Tithonia, Mexican sunflower
Yellow Tithonia, Mexican sunflower
G-O Common NameBotanical NameZones
GauraGaura lindheimeri5-9
Geranium, hardyGeranium sanguineum3-8
Iris, beardedIris x germanica3-10
Lamb’s earsStachys byzantina4-8
Lavender, EnglishLavandula angustifolia5-8
Love-in-a-mistNigella damascenaAnnual
MarigoldTagetes spp.Annual
Mexican sunflowerTithonia rotundifoliaAnnual
Moss rosePortulaca grandifloraAnnual
Muhly grassMuhlenbergia spp.7-10
Naked ladiesAmaryllis belladonna5-9
Ox-eye daisyLeucanthemum vulgare5-9
P-S Common NameBotanical NameZones
PenstemonPenstemon spp. (many)Varies
PoppyPapaver spp.Varies
Pot marigoldCalendual officinalisAnnual
Red-hot pokerKnifphofia uvaria5-9
Red valerianCentranthus ruber4-8
Russian sagePerovskia atriplicfolia3-9
SantolinaSantolina chamaesyparisus6-9
Sea lavenderLimonium spp.8-11
Sea thriftArmera maritima3-8
Sedums; stonecropSedum spp.4-9
Swan River daisy, Brachyscome iberidifolia
Swan River daisy, Brachyscome iberidifolia
S-Z Common NameBotanical NameZones
Snow-in-summerCerastiu tomentosum3-7
Spider flowerCleome hassleranaAnnual
Spurge, cushionEuphorbia polychroma4-8
StaticeLimonium spp.Varies
StrawflowerHelichrsyum braceatumAnnual
SunflowerHelianthus annuusAnnual
Swan river daisyBrachycome iberidifoliaAnnual
Verbena (most)Verbena spp.Varies
YarrowAchillea spp.3-9
YuccaYucca spp.4-10
ZinniaZinnia elegansAnnual
Zinnia, narrow-leafZinnia angustifoliaAnnual

Also of interest:

Drought-Tolerant Shrubs

Drought-Tolerant Trees

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

How To Grow Tips

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How To Grow Peppers

How To Grow Broccoli

How To Grow Carrots

How To Grow Beans

How To Grow Corn

How To Grow Peas

How To Grow Lettuce

How To Grow Cucumbers

How To Grow Zucchini and Summer Squash

How To Grow Onions

How To Grow Potatoes

Fast-Growing Trees

Drought-Tolerant Shrubs