Low Water, Big Statement: Drought Tolerant Perennials

by Amanda

Sedum in Bloom with Blackeyed Sysans

Plant Drought Tolerant Perennials and Relax Your Watering Schedule

Many gardeners are looking to conserve water in their gardens. Whether you’re experiencing drought, or are looking for low-maintenance plants for your sunny landscape, drought tolerant perennials are a great choice. We're all trying to move towards a more sustainable approach to gardening, and drought-tolerant perennials are a big step in the right direction.

Conserving water is a definite plus, no matter where you live. Many think of cactus and succulents as the least water-loving plants, but drought tolerant perennial varieties come in all shapes, sizes, and colors that can create a lush, water-wise landscape all season long. Like all plants just getting started, these varieties will need to be watered in their first year to become established in your garden, but after that will thrive mostly on rainwater.

Some Of Our Favorite Drought-Tolerant Perennials

Thyme:

An easy-to-grow groundcover that adds gorgeous color to the mid-season garden floor. All parts of the plant are fragrant, and they spread the scent wherever they're planted.

Various members of the large, diverse thyme tribe are used in herb gardens, of course, but also as ornamentals in flower gardens and as ground covers. Its pinkish flowers and signature foliage that is usually grey-green, make it highly decorative. Best of all, the plants require almost no care once they are established. Creeping Thyme Coccineus is one of our favorite flowering groundcovers, growing in full sun or partial shade.

sedum whitesedum white

Sedum:

Also known as Stonecrop, illuminates the late season garden with spectacular color. These succulents have thick leaves that store moisture, which makes them the perfect candidate for full sun and low moisture conditions. Sedum is perfect for low-maintenance landscapes, rock gardens and dry soil. Autumn Joy might be the most famous, its pink blooms bringing color to the fall garden. Whether you’re in California or Vermont, Sedum is a must-have in any perennial garden.

Penstemon:

Also known as Beardtongue, is a hardy, drought-tolerant perennial for low-maintenance gardens. This colorful plant grows best in sunny, dry areas, delighting the early season garden with mounds of gorgeous foliage and tall flower spikes in the early summer. Penstemon attracts a bounty of pollinators, including Hummingbirds, and is native to the western United States and Mexico. Penstemon Hot Pink Riding Hood grows to be about 12-24” tall, is deer resistant and makes for gorgeous cut bouquets.

Lavender:

Who doesn’t love the intense scent of Lavender in the garden and dried for use indoors? The best thing about Lavender is that it’s also drought-tolerant, preferring dry soil and full sun. This iconic plant is tough and dependable as long as there isn’t too much moisture in the garden, coming back each year and delighting with spiky blooms in the summer months.

Bonus: Lavender is also deer resistant! Lavender Munstead might be our most popular, with highly fragrant blooms that are perfect for drying. If you’re looking for something smaller for containers, Lavender Mini Blue grows to only 10-12” tall.

lavenderlavender

Yarrow:

Known for its multicolored, long-lasting blooms, Yarrow is a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant perennial for full sun and fast-draining soil. The spectacular foliage is fern-like and deep green, offset by brightly colored blooms in the mid to late summer garden. Also known as Achillea, Yarrow is deer resistant and attracts an abundance of pollinators to the garden in the summer months. Yarrow Summer Berries’ multi-colored blooms are sure to be a conversation-starter in any garden. Yarrow Moonshine’s fragrant, bright yellow blooms make for spectacular summer bouquets.

  1. Red Hot Poker Alcazar, Kniphofia with hummingbird

    'Alcazar' Red Hot Poker brings warm, fiery color to the garden with its vibrant flower spikes. Each flame-like bloom is formed with dangling red-orange buds that open from bottom to ...

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    Red Hot Poker Alcazar Alcazar Torch Lily, Poker Plant Kniphofia Alcazar
    $16.98 Sale $13.99
    Per Bag of 3
    'Alcazar' Red Hot Poker brings warm, fiery color to the garden with its vibrant flower spikes. Each flame-like bloom is formed with dangling red-orange buds that open from bottom to top, revealing faded yellow interiors. A favorite of hummingbirds and butterflies, this unusual plant is easy to grow, perfect for beginner gardeners. Requires full sun. (Kniphofia)
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  2. Pink Echinacea Magnus, Echinacea purpurea, Coneflower

    'Magnus' Coneflower has vibrant pink, ray-like flowers that surround deep-orange center cones, attracting plentiful pollinators to the garden throughout the summer. Leaving the spent...

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    Magnus Echinacea Purple Coneflower Magnus Echinacea purpurea Magnus
    As low as $9.98 Sale $8.49
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    'Magnus' Coneflower has vibrant pink, ray-like flowers that surround deep-orange center cones, attracting plentiful pollinators to the garden throughout the summer. Leaving the spent stems and flowerheads in place to overwinter will also attract birds. Coneflowers are notably tough native plants and 'Magnus' is no exception, withstanding drought, clay, humidity and harsh winter conditions without complaint. Easy to grow, this plant is a great choice for beginner and experienced gardeners alike. (Echinacea purpurea)
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  3. Spicy Orange Creeping Thyme, Thymus citriodorus Spicy Orange, close up of lavender-pink flower spikes

    As its name suggests, 'Spicy Orange' Creeping Thyme is a beautiful perennial herb with a fragrance reminiscent of spiced citrus. Delicate lavender-pink flower spikes top the evergree...

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    Spicy Orange Creeping Thyme Spicy Orange Creeping Thyme Thymus citriodorus Spicy Orange
    As low as $13.98 Sale $8.99
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    As its name suggests, 'Spicy Orange' Creeping Thyme is a beautiful perennial herb with a fragrance reminiscent of spiced citrus. Delicate lavender-pink flower spikes top the evergreen foliage in early summer, attracting pollinators. Its low-growing habit is perfect between stepping stones where it can handle light foot traffic, along the front of a border, or in a container. (Thymus)
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  4. May Night Meadow Sage

    May Night is the top signature Salvia, with famous deep blue/purple blooms. A big favorite. Perennial plant of the year in 1997. (Salvia nemorosa)...

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    May Night Salvia Meadow Sage May Night Salvia nemorosa May Night
    As low as $10.98 Sale $6.99
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    May Night is the top signature Salvia, with famous deep blue/purple blooms. A big favorite. Perennial plant of the year in 1997. (Salvia nemorosa)
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Drought Tolerant Perennials That Pollinators Love

Gaillardia:

Also known as Blanket Flower, has some of the longest-blooming flowers in the garden. This perennial will quickly becoming the backbone of your garden, offering up colorful blooms for months and coming back each year, multiplying. This hardy plant is extremely drought-tolerant and needs almost no maintenance, also attracting pollinators to the garden. Gaillardia Goblin is one of our favorites, blooming all summer for continuous vibrant color.

Echinacea:

Every gardener loves Echinacea and now there are a multitude of colors and shapes to choose from. This drought-tolerant perennial is native to the plains and the long-lasting blooms attract birds, butterflies, and bees to the garden. Echinacea will grow in almost any garden and makes for excellent cut flowers. A vivid Coneflower with fiery tones of red, orange, and yellow, Echinacea Cheyenne Spirit is a drought-tolerant perennial that ignites the garden from summer to fall.

Coreopsis:

Also known as Tickseed, is native, easy-to-grow perennial that loves full sun and is deer resistant. With the hybrids available now, Coreopsis is a powerhouse in the summer garden, offering up an abundance of blooms in a multitude of colors. Coreopsis Early Sunrise’s double, yellow flowers add cheerful color to the summer garden, growing to be about 18” tall.

Butterfly Bush:


Echinacea

butterfly bush with two butterfliesbutterfly bush with two butterflies

Looking to attract butterflies to your drought tolerant garden? Butterfly Bush, also known as Buddleia, has become a sensation in gardens throughout the United States. This easy-to-grow perennial boasts picture-perfect blooms that emit a certain scent, attracting a multitude of flying insects all season long. Butterfly Bush Black Night’s deep purple blooms create a stunning contrast with its dark green foliage.

Just because you’re looking to conserve water doesn’t mean you need to lose out on color and interest in your garden. And the best part about drought-tolerant plants is that they are also extremely low-maintenance, growing in almost any sunny, dry spot, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the beauty of your landscape.

  1. Dry Area Wildflower Seed Mix

    Our Dry Area Mix is perfect for areas that are out of the way or regions that have water restrictions. It contains 25 different wildflowers, both annuals and perennials, that are dro...

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    Dry Area Wildflower Seed Mix Dry Area Wildflower Seed Mix
    As low as $11.95
    Per 1/4 Pound
    Our Dry Area Mix is perfect for areas that are out of the way or regions that have water restrictions. It contains 25 different wildflowers, both annuals and perennials, that are drought tolerant. This mix is designed to bloom all season long, year after year - It will burst into blooms the first year with the annual wildflowers and provide color in years after with the perennials.
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  2. Perennial Lupine Seeds

    A field of Lupine is an amazing sight, with spiky blooms of saturated indigo-blue that last from late spring to summer. Combine them with later-blooming flowers (like Shasta Daisy an...

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    Perennial Lupine Seeds Perennial Lupine Lupinus perennis
    As low as $17.95
    Per 1/4 Pound
    A field of Lupine is an amazing sight, with spiky blooms of saturated indigo-blue that last from late spring to summer. Combine them with later-blooming flowers (like Shasta Daisy and Rudbeckia) for an extended season of color. Growing to be about 12-36” tall, Lupine is a great choice for the front of the meadow or garden bed. Extremely easy to grow and deer resistant, this perennial flower blooms year after year. Seeds are 100% pure, non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free and guaranteed to grow.
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  3. Eastern Xeriscape Wildflower Seed Mix

    This mix of 16 native wildflowers, including Purple Coneflower, Wild Lupine, Scarlet Sage and more, is for areas in the eastern U.S. and eastern Canada where water conservation is de...

    Learn More
    Eastern Xeriscape Wildflower Seed Mix Eastern Xeriscape Wildflower Seed Mix
    As low as $15.95
    Per 1/4 Pound
    This mix of 16 native wildflowers, including Purple Coneflower, Wild Lupine, Scarlet Sage and more, is for areas in the eastern U.S. and eastern Canada where water conservation is desired. This long-lasting mixture adds colorful blooms in the first season and for years to come. This mixture is also beneficial to the pollinators native to your region and will attract wildlife to your garden or meadow. All of the seed we handle at American Meadows is non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free and guaranteed to grow.
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  4. Western Xeriscape Wildflower Seed Mix

    Comprised of 18 wildflowers that are native to the Western part of the U.S. and Canada, including Blanket Flower, California Poppy, Arroyo Lupine and more, this mixture is the perfec...

    Learn More
    Western Xeriscape Wildflower Seed Mix Western Xeriscape Wildflower Seed Mix
    As low as $15.95
    Per 1/4 Pound
    Comprised of 18 wildflowers that are native to the Western part of the U.S. and Canada, including Blanket Flower, California Poppy, Arroyo Lupine and more, this mixture is the perfect choice where water conservation is desired. These native varieties require little watering and are hardy, blooming in the first year and coming back year after year. This mixture also attracts pollinators and thrives in full sun. All of the seed we handle at American Meadows is non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free and guaranteed to grow.
    Learn More
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