Drought Tolerant Perennials (10 Perennials For Dry Climates)


Perennial plants live for more than one year so you don’t have to replace them so often.  However, they still have to survive if they are in a dry climate.

So, what are some drought tolerant perennial plants?  Drought tolerant perennial plants include: Ditch Lily, Eastern Redbud, Ice Plant, Lemon Balm, Pothos, Purple Coneflower, Rosemary, Snake Plant, String of Pearls, and ZZ Plant.  Some of these plants have attractive foliage or flowers to add style to your garden.

Of course, some of these plants like full sun, while others can tolerate at least some shade.

In this article, we’ll talk about 10 drought tolerant perennial plants.  We’ll also take a look at what to provide for each one as far as light, water, and other important growth factors.

Let’s get started.

10 Drought Tolerant Perennials

There are lots of drought tolerant perennial plants, but here is a list of 10 to start with:

  • Ditch Lily
  • Eastern Redbud
  • Ice Plant
  • Lemon Balm
  • Pothos
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Rosemary
  • Snake Plant
  • String of Pearls
  • ZZ Plant

Let’s begin with Ditch Lily.

Ditch Lily

Ditch Lily (Hemerocallis fulva) is a drought tolerant perennial ground cover herb that produces a showy 3 to 4 inch orange flower with a red eye and gold throat (in late spring or summer).

Ditch Lily
Ditch Lily is a drought tolerant perennial with showy orange flowers.

Ditch Lily needs moderate to dry moisture levels.  It needs good drainage in a container.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Ditch Lily prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 6.0 to 8.0).

Ditch Lily can tolerate extreme cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 3a (as cold as -40 degrees Fahrenheit or –40 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 24 to 36 inches, with a width of 15 to 18 inches.

You can propagate Ditch Lily by division or by seeds.

You can learn more about Ditch Lily from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Ditch Lily from Direct Gardening.

Eastern Redbud

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) is a deciduous drought tolerant perennial tree that produces showy purple flowers in late winter or spring.

Eastern Redbud
Eastern Redbud is a drought tolerant perennial tree with showy purple flowers.

Eastern Redbud needs moderate moisture levels.  Too much water causes root rot and can damage the plant.

Eastern Redbud prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers neutral to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 6.6 to 7.8).

Eastern Redbud can tolerate some cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 6b (as cold as -5 degrees Fahrenheit or –21 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 15 feet, with a width of 15 feet.

You can propagate Redbud by softwood cuttings or by seeds.

 You can learn more about Eastern Redbud from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Eastern Redbud from Wilson Bros Gardens.

Ice Plant

Ice Plant (Delosperma cooperi) is an evergreen drought tolerant perennial succulent.  It produces small (1 to 2 inch) showy mauve, purple, or magenta flowers in summer, fall, or early winter.

Ice Plant
Ice Plant is a drought tolerant perennial succulent. It has small showy mauve, purple, or magenta flowers.

Ice Plant needs moderate to dry moisture levels.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Ice Plant needs full sun.  It prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 6.1 to 7.8).

Ice Plant can tolerate severe cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 5a (as cold as -20 degrees Fahrenheit or –29 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 3 to 6 inches, with a width of 18 to 24 inches.  It also resists deer, rabbits, and salt.

You can propagate Ice Plant by division, stem cuttings, or tip cuttings.

You can learn more about Ice Plant from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Ice Plant from High Country Gardens.

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm (Melissa officianalis) is a drought tolerant perennial herb.  It produces fragrant white flowers in summer or early fall.

Lemon Balm
Lemon Balm is a drought tolerant perennial with fragrant white flowers.

Lemon Balm needs moderate to dry moisture levels.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Lemon Balm needs full sun.  It prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 6.1 to 7.8).

Lemon Balm can tolerate severe cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 4a (as cold as -30 degrees Fahrenheit or –34 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 20 to 24 inches.

You can propagate Lemon Balm by division, stem cuttings, or seeds.

You can learn more about Lemon Balm from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Lemon Balm from Mountain Valley Growers.

Pothos

Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) is an epiphytic drought tolerant perennial evergreen vine.  It is native to the Society Islands of French Polynesia.

Pothos
Pothos is a drought tolerant perennial vine. It is epiphytic.

Pothos needs moderate to dry moisture levels.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Pothos likes partial or full shade.  It prefers slightly acidic soil (pH of 6.1 to 6.5).

Pothos cannot tolerate much cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 9b (as cold as 25 degrees Fahrenheit or -4 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 6 feet indoors, and possibly more outdoors.

You can propagate Pothos by stem cuttings.

You can learn more about Pothos from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Pothos from Woodie’s Garden Goods.

Purple Coneflower

Purple Coneflower (Echinacia purpurea) is a drought tolerant perennial that produces showy and fragrant 2 to 3 inch pink, purple, or white flowers in late spring, summer, or early fall.

Purple Coneflower
Purple Coneflower is a drought tolerant perennial with showy, fragrant pink, purple, or white flowers.

Purple Coneflower needs moderate to dry moisture levels.  It needs good drainage in a container.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Purple Coneflower prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It can tolerate slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH of 6.5 to 7.2).

Purple Coneflower can tolerate extreme cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 2a (as cold as -50 degrees Fahrenheit or –46 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 12 to 36 inches, with a width of 12 to 36 inches.

You can propagate Purple Coneflower by division or seeds.

You can learn more about Purple Coneflower from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Purple Coneflower from Prairie Nursery.

Rosemary

Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus) is an evergreen drought tolerant perennial herb or shrub.  It produces tiny (less than 1 inch) showy fragrant blue, lavender, pink, or white flowers in late spring or summer.

Rosemary
Rosemary is a drought tolerant perennial herb with tiny blue, lavender, pink, or white flowers.

Rosemary needs moderate to dry moisture levels.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Rosemary needs full sun.  It prefers slightly acidic to alkaline soil (pH of 6.6 to 8.5).

Rosemary can tolerate some cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 8a (as cold as 10 degrees Fahrenheit or –12 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 2 to 6 feet, with a width of 2 to 4 feet.

You can propagate Rosemary by layering, tip cuttings, or seeds.

You can learn more about Rosemary from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Rosemary from Plant Delights.

Snake Plant

Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata, or previously Sansevieria trifasciata) is an evergreen drought tolerant perennial plant.  It produces white flowers in late spring or early summer, after which it produces no new leaves.

Snake Plant
Snake Plant is a drought tolerant perennial with long, stiff leaves like swords.

Snake Plant needs moderate to dry moisture levels.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Snake Plant prefers partial or full shade.  It prefers acidic to alkaline soil (pH of 4.5 to 8.5).

Snake Plant cannot tolerate much cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 10a (as cold as 30 degrees Fahrenheit or –1 degree Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 2 to 4 feet.

You can propagate Snake Plant by division, leaf cuttings, or stolons and runners.

You can learn more about Snake Plant from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Snake Plant from The Cactus King.

String Of Pearls

String of Pearls (Curio rowleyanus) is an evergreen drought tolerant perennial succulent.  It produces tiny (less than 1 inch) showy fragrant white flowers.

String of Pearls
String of Pearls is a drought tolerant perennial succulent with a long, trailing growth habit.
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String of Pearls needs moderate moisture levels.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

String of Pearls prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 6.1 to 7.3).

String of Pearls cannot tolerate much cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 9b (as cold as 25 degrees Fahrenheit or –4 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a length of 2 to 3 feet.

You can propagate String of Pearls by stem cuttings.

You can learn more about String of Pearls from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find String of Pearls from eSucculent.

ZZ Plant

ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) is an evergreen drought tolerant perennial plant.  It produces small (less than 2 inches) yellow flowers, possibly year round.

ZZ Plant
ZZ Plant is a drought tolerant perennial with small yellow flowers.

ZZ Plant needs moderate to dry moisture levels.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

ZZ Plant prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers slightly acidic soil (pH of 6.1 to 6.5).

ZZ Plant cannot tolerate much cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 9a (as cold as 20 degrees Fahrenheit or –7 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a length of 1 to 3 feet, with a width of 1 to 3 feet.

You can propagate ZZ Plant by division, stem cuttings, tip cuttings, or leaf cuttings.

You can learn more about ZZ Plant from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find ZZ Plant from Pistils Nursery.

Conclusion

Now you know about 10 drought tolerant perennial plants and how to take care of them.  They might also provide inspiration to help you to fill in the landscape for some parts of your yard.

You might also want to check out my article on drought tolerant annuals.

I hope you found this article helpful.  If so, please share it with someone who can use the information.

If you want to read some of my most popular posts, check out the “Best of GreenUpSide” page here.  Enjoy!

~Jonathon

jonathon.david.madore

Hi, I'm Jon. Let's solve your gardening problems, spend more time growing, and get the best harvest every year!

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