Low-Water/Drought-Resistant Plants

This list is a good representation of low-water consuming plants that are easily available. Please check with your local nursery for their suggestions about what is best suited to your area.

Flowering Plants

  1. Achillea (yarrow)
  2. Aloe
  3. Callistemon citrinus (lemon bottlebrush)
  4. Cassia artemisioides (feathery cassia)
  5. Centranthus Tuber (red valerian)
  6. Cistus (rockrose)
  7. Convolvulus cneorum (bush morning glory)
  8. Cortaderia selloana (pampas grass)
  9. Coreopsis verticillata
  10. Cotinus coggygria (smoke tree)
  11. Cytisus and spartium (broom)
  12. Echium fastuosum(pride of Madeira)
  13. Escallonia
  14. Eriogonum (buckwheat)
  15. Fremontodendrom (fremontia)
  16. Garrya elliptica
  17. Kniphofia uvaria (red-hot poker)
  18. Lantana
  19. Lavandula (lavender)
  20. Lemonium perezii (sea lavender)
  21. Nerium oleander (oleander)
  22. Ochna serrulata (Mickey Mouse plant)
  23. Pennisetum setaceum (fountain grass)
  24. Plumbago auriculatta (cape plumbago)
  25. Poinciana gilliesii (bird of paradise bush)
  26. Romneya coulteri (Matilija poppy)
  27. Satureja montana (winter savory)
  28. Teucrium fruticans (bush germander)


Foliage Plants

  1. Agave
  2. Arbutus unedo (strawberry tree)
  3. Artemisia (wormwood)
  4. Atriplex (saltbush)
  5. Centaurea gymnocarpa
  6. Dodonaea viscosa (hopseed bush)
  7. Elaeagnus
  8. Pittosporum (some species)
  9. Portulacaria afra (elephant’s food)
  10. Prunus lyoni, P. ilicifolia, P. caroliniana
  11. Rhamnus alaternus, R. crocea ilicifolia
  12. Rhus ovata (sugar bush)
  13. Senecio cineraria (dusty miller)
  14. Xylosma congestum
  15. Yucca



  1. Acacia (certain species)
  2. Casaurina (Beefwood)
  3. Cedrus deodara
  4. Certonia siliqua (carob)
  5. Cercis occidentalis (western redbud)
  6. Cercidium (palo verde)
  7. Cupressus glabra (Arizona cypress)
  8. Eriobotrya japonica (loquat)
  9. Eucalyptus
  10. Geijera parvifolia
  11. Hakea (tree types)
  12. Heteromeles arbutifolia (toyon)
  13. Juglans hindsii (California black walnut)
  14. Lyonothamnus floribundus asplenifolius (Catalina ironwood)
  15. Melaleuca linarifolia, M. styphelioides
  16. Olea europaea (olive)
  17. Palms
  18. Parkinsonia aculeata (Mexican palo verde)
  19. Pinus (pines)
  20. Pistacia chinensis (Chinese pistache)
  21. Quercus (oaks)
  22. Rhusiancea
  23. Robinia (locust)
  24. Schinus molle (California pepper)
  25. Sequoiadendron gigantrum (big tree)
  26. Tamarix apliylla (salt cedar)


  1. Bougainvillea
  2. Campsis (trumpet creeper)
  3. Solanum hartwegii (cup-of-gold vine)
  4. Solanum jasminoides (potato vine)
  5. Tecomaria capensis (cape honeysuckle)
  6. Vitis vinifera (wine grape)
  7. Wisteria

Ground Cover

  1. Baccharis pilularis (dwarf coyote brush)
  2. Gazania
  3. Hypericum calycinum (creeping St. Johnswort)
  4. Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary)
  5. Santolina chamaecyparissus

Many Forms

  1. Ceanothus
  2. Cotoneaster
  3. Grevillea
  4. Juniperus (juniper)






Use Recycled Water to Save Even More Water in Your Garden

Waste water may be the simplest way to stretch your water budget during the hot summer months. Gray water, which is recycled shower, bath, and laundry water, can be used to keep thirsty plants alive, but some precautions should be followed. Because gray water has not been disinfected, it could be contaminated. A careful, common-sense approach to the use of gray water, however, can virtually eliminate any potential hazard.

The following precautions are recommended:

  1. Never use gray water for direct consumption.
  1. Gray water should not be used directly on anything that may be eaten.
  1. Gray water should not be sprayed, allowed to puddle, or run off property.
  1. Use only water from clothes washing, bathing, or the bathroom sink. Do not use water that has come in contact with soiled diapers, meat or poultry, or anyone with an infectious disease.

Plant specialists warn that gray water should not be used on vegetables, seedlings, container plants, or acid-loving plants such as azaleas, begonias, camellias, and citrus trees. Gray water should be rotated with fresh water to leach out any harmful build-up. Chlorine bleach may damage plants, especially if it touches the foliage. Biodegradable soaps appear to have the least harmful effects.

For further information regarding the safe use of gray water, contact your local office or your local health agency.

More Ways to Save Water in Your Garden


  • Check for and repair leaky hose connections and sprinkler valves. Small leaks can be very wasteful.
  • Water in the cool parts of the day to cut down on evaporation.
  • Add compost to your soil to improve its water-holding capacity.
  • Ask your nursery person about low-water-using turf, and raise your lawnmower cutting height. Longer grass blades help shade each other and cut down on evaporation.
  • Don’t over-water – water only when the soil is dry.
  • Water trees and shrubs – which have deep root systems – longer and less frequently than shallow-rooted plants, which require smaller amounts of water or more often.
  • When planting, remember that smaller-size container plants require less water to become established.

Landscaping and Conservation

In the average household, water use doubles in the summer, primarily due to landscape irrigation. But, conserving water does not have to mean a dry, grown landscape.

Some Myths about Drought-Resistant Landscaping

  1. Drought-tolerant landscaping isn’t colorful. In truth, many drought-tolerant plants are prolific bloomers. In addition, by carefully choosing foliage colors and textures for contrast, you can bring color interest to the garden year-round.
  1. Drought-tolerant landscaping doesn’t require any water at all. Even drought-resistant plants require some initial watering to become established. However, once they are established, drought-resistant plants will get by on considerably less water than we have been accustomed to lavishing on our landscape.