13 Drought-Proof Plants & Landscaping Tips

For some of us, drought is a recurring problem. Thankfully, there are ways that we can help protect our yards. In today’s article you can find out which plants will survive these dry spells, and also some ways that you can keep your yard looking pretty.



We cannot choose the climate surrounding us, it has chosen us. This can definitely be hard for people who want to grow a garden but live in an area with no rain. Living in a climate with drought is hard for many people and it can be exhausting finding solutions. Today, we’ve got some helpful tips. We list some of the most drought tolerant shrubs, plants, and grasses, as well as giving some drought-resistant landscaping tips for your yard.

13 Drought Tolerant Shrubs

It can be difficult to fill a garden, especially if you live in a very dry climate. This is especially true if you want a yard with shrubbery. There are usually so many types to choose from, but unfortunately, there are a lot of shrubs that simply will not last in a climate that is ridden with drought. With these limitations, how is someone supposed to know what drought-tolerant shrubs they should be buying? We have put together a list of some of the most popular shrubs that are going to still look great even in a climate without a lot of rain.

If you are skeptical about the shrub you are buying, and do not know if it will last, refer back to this guide to see if the one you are buying is on it. We don’t want you to be disappointed, especially if you are spending a lot of money on shrubbery, so we recommend that you go through the guide before buying. With that being said, let’s dive in. These are 13 drought tolerant shrubs….

russian-sageRussian sage

This is one of the most popular drought-tolerant shrubs that you can find on the market today. Although sometimes not referred to as a shrub, it is technically speaking a “sub shrub” that is part shrub and part other plant; it looks like a perennial flower as well. What catches the eye right away is how the Russian sage looks, as it is draped with silver stems and the leaves are silver as well. This makes it perfect to pair it with other plants to have fantastic combinations and pops of colors.

The flowers on this shrub are lavender in color, which complement the silver stems perfectly. The flowers are known to bloom for an extended period of time, making this ideal to last and look perfectly in your garden. This shrub will never be eaten by wildlife, primarily deer, and the leaves also give off a wonderful smell.

Butterfly bushbutterfly-bush

Now we know what you are thinking: Isn’t a butterfly bush going to attract a lot of bugs and be invasive? The thing is that some of the most drought-tolerant shrubs are known to be invasive and, in fact, this helps them survive in the climate conditions that you live in. However, there are some butterfly bushes that are not invasive such as the blue chip butterfly bush.

Now you may be wondering what the term “invasive” means. Invasive plants are usually plants that have a tendency to sometimes get out of control in the garden. This causes them to grow rapidly and very aggressively, taking over other plants. The main reason for this is that these plants in their natural habitats were constantly attacked by insects. If they are moved to a new location, without insects, they just seem to take over and spread like crazy. However, an invasive plant in one climate, may not be as invasive as another. We recommend that you take the time to research the plant you are purchasing and see if it may be invasive or not.

Juniperus_squamataBlue star juniper

This plant is one of the most useful plants that you can have in your garden. That being said, unfortunately it is not the nicest shrubs to look at. They do come with needles that are blue, that may be nice next to another pop of color in your garden. If you buy another plant or bush that has golden leaves, the blue star juniper will simply look amazing next to it.

This specific juniper is known to be very compact, and smaller in size than other shrubs, so if you are developing a garden with a small space we recommend that you take a look at this variety. This is a drought-tolerant shrub, and will bloom fully, even under circumstances with hardly any rain.


This is another shrub on the list that can be a bit invasive. But as we mentioned before, invasive plants all depend on the climate in which you are living. It is known to grow incredibly fast in Florida, so you may want to stay away from it if you are more southerly. However, if you are living in the north they are fantastic. They are also known to still be fine in areas with extremely cold winters. However, you should be aware that the leaves and especially the berries of lantana are extremely toxic and dangerous to dogs and children.


Again, this is an invasive plant that is on our list today. However, check how it does under your specific climate. Barberry is known to be a prickly type of bush that sprouts red berries. What makes this one species popular is that is holds up incredibly well throughout a dry conditioned area. The thorns on this plant also makes it resistant to deer and it will not be eaten by other animals. We find the red berries add a lot to the overall look of your garden.

Virginia sweetspireItea_virginica_flowers

This is one of our favorite drought-tolerant shrubs on the list, mostly because of its great look in both summer and fall. It has been named primarily because it bears white flowers in the spring and they “spire” out. However, once fall hits, the plant promotes a lovely fall foliage color. It is going to add a lot to the look of your garden in both the fall, spring and summer time.

Nandina_domesticaHeavenly bamboo

Now before you get ahead of yourself, let us warn you that this plant is definitely not made out of true bamboo. The name comes from the way the stems of the plant looks like bamboo. This one of the most popular bushes bought in the southeast area of the United States, as it adds a lot to the look and feel of your garden. If you are looking to add a bamboo look to your garden in a climate that the real bamboo won’t tolerate, this is the one for you.


The bayberry shrub is a plant that is known to sprout gray berries all over. These berries are traditionally used to make candles and if you are looking for a DIY project, this could be the bush for you. This plant is well known to people living in the northeast region of the United States, as they are found on sand dunes around beach areas. This is definitely a drought-tolerant shrub.

Cotoneaster_frigidusThe Cotoneaster

This shrub is another on the list that sprouts red berries. These berries are a vibrant red and will add a lot of color to your garden. On top of that, once fall comes, the leaves turn a reddish color. One of the best things about this shrub is that it can be used to cover the ground by growing it horizontally rather than vertically. This can be done by simply pruning the plant, by removing branches that want to grow upright; this will influence the shrub to grow in a horizontal way, and ensure that it stays very close to the ground.

The burning bushEuonymous_alatus

The next shrub that is drought tolerant is the burning bush, known around for being a very invasive plant, especially across North America. Because of this problem, it may not be the best one for you. However, there have been strides made in genetic modifications of this plant to a seedless variety, so there is hope that there may be better varieties in future years.

KariganesoThe blue mist shrub

Also known as the bluebeard shrub, this is able to bloom and grow in a multitude of climates without any rain or even water from you. It is known to flower more if given even a little bit of water, but without water, it will still grow strong. This shrub is known to grow close to the ground and needs little to no maintenance throughout the year. It will need to be pruned a bit in the spring. What is nice about this bush is that it still keeps blooming throughout the summer, when many other bushes would simply stop. This is why it has been included on our list today.

The red bird of paradiseCaesalpinia_pulcherrima

This shrub is also drought tolerant and is known to be a “desert” plant. It functions the best in a hot desert climate, rather than cold area. It is known to many who live the near desert, most notably the Mojave Desert. It blooms with beautiful yellow and red leaves, a great addition to any garden.

Jasminum_nudiflorumWinter jasmine

This plant can be either a vine or a shrub. It comes from China and it is actually the owner who decides the way it grows, as it is dependent on where you put the plant and what you put it in. This is another drought-tolerant shrub.

Drought-Resistant Landscaping

In order to find drought resistant landscaping ideas, you need to know where to look. There are plenty of drought-friendly landscaping ideas available if you know where to look.

First off, we recommend replacing your grass with artificial grass. Grass is a plant that uses the most amount of water and if you want drought-friendly landscaping, artificial grass is the way to go if you want green. If you don’t like the artificial look of grass, you can go with the natural look of rock or pebble landscaping.

Another drought-resistant landscaping idea we have is to use a lot of succulents in your garden design. This is going to promote such beautiful colors and incredible designs. For a drought-resistant landscaping idea, check out perennials or other shrubs (such as all the ones listed above) that are going to survive under a hot and dry climate.

Drought-Tolerant Grasses

Grass is also desirable for garden areas. So how does someone who lives in a desert climate, or a very dry, cold one, keep their grass alive? There are drought-tolerant grasses that can be planted in your yard and garden. It depends on where you live, but there are many choices to choose from.

The first drought-tolerant grass is the Zoysia, which is known to be one of the most drought resistant. It grows really slowly, and thrives in both the sun and the shade. It produces a lush growth, even without water.

The next drought-tolerant grass is Bermuda grass, seen growing in many sub-tropical locations. They need lots of mowing though. There is also Augustine, buffalo grass, Bahia, and fescues to choose from. It depends on where you live, so we recommend doing a bit of research before purchasing.


By following this guide that we have laid out for you, we feel sure that you are one step closer to having a beautiful garden, no matter where you live. We recommend going slowly, and only buying small amounts at a time to see what is going to work best for you and the climate you live in.

Take a look at our water filter guides to see how you can guard your home from water contamination. Our guides to reverse osmosis water filters, and whole house systems are very popular.

Image Sources


CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40469

By MPF – Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=562925

By Alvesgaspar – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2043603

By MPF at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=862254

By I, SB Johnny, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2250064

CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=658395

By Hajotthu – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11591762

By Chris Barton/Gif absarnt – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=933732

By Cory, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2719936

By Stan Shebs, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26227

By Jean-Jacques MILAN – Created by Jean-Jacques MILAN, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=187210

Hi I'm Jamie, teacher and owner/chief contributor at waterfilteranswers.com. We strive to bring you the most informative water filter reviews in the most intuitive and user friendly way. Besides offering advice on the water filter to suit your needs, we also post topical articles on water pollution and the environment. Stay connected and follow us on, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more!

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply