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Drought-Tolerant Shrubs

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Drought-tolerant shrubs are shrubs that can withstand dry weather once established. No landscape plant is drought-resistant until it becomes established in the site.

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

Most shrubs require a year or more to set down deep roots. In the first couple of years after planting do not neglect watering drought-resistant shrubs.

Shrubs listed here will survive several months without water once established. Many will survive on rainfall and need no additional irrigation.

Glossy Abelia, Abelia grandiflora
Glossy Abelia, Abelia grandiflora

Drought-Tolerant Trees and Shrubs

Common NameBotanical NameZones
Abelia, glossyAbelia x grandiflora6-9
BarberryBerberis spp.4-8
Bayberry, northernMyrica pensylvanica2-6
BluebeardCaryopteris x clandonensis5-8
BroomsGenista spp., Cytisus spp.4-8
Butterfly bushBuddleia spp.5-10
Drought-Tolerant Shrubs
Drought-Tolerant Shrubs
Common NameBotanical NameZones
CeanothusCeanothus spp.8-10
Chase treeVitex agnus-castus6-10
Currant, alpineRibes alpinum2-7
HoneysucklesLonicera spp.Varies
MahoniaMahonia spp.Varies
ManzanitaArctostaphylos spp.Varies
Mock OrangePhiladelphus spp.4-8
Staghorn sumac, Rhus typhina
Common NameBotanical NameZones
OleanderNerium oleander8-10
Potentilla, shrubbyPotentilla fruticosa2-7
Rose-of-SharonHibiscus syriacus5-9
Rose, rugosaRosa rugosa3-9
SnowberrySymphoricrapos albus3-7
Staghorn sumacRhus typhina3-8

Also of interest:

Drought-Tolerant Annuals and Perennials

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.

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Drought-Tolerant Annuals and Perennials

Drought-Tolerant Trees