20 drought-tolerant plants that beat the summer heat

20 drought-tolerant plants that beat the summer heat

Scorching temperatures can threaten to dry out your lush green plants and colorful flowers, but only if you don’t plant them wisely. We’ve rounded up some of our summer plants that can handle the heat and look great while doing so. These drought-tolerant plants can keep every outdoor container garden and flower bed thriving even when rainfall is scarce and the heat is intense.

Try cheerful Black-Eyed Susans to brighten a window box or zinnias in all colors — red, orange, yellow, pink and purple — to add interest to your backyard container garden. Use vibrant purple verbena to make a big statement at the top of a retaining wall, or use heat-tolerant lantana to attract butterflies, our favorite friends fluttering about in the garden. Read on for 20 of our favorite drought-tolerant plants that will beautify your backyard this summer.

Cactuses

Aloe vera (aloe vera).
dangdomrong/Getty Images
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Aloe Barbadensis Miller
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Sandy soil
  • Soil pH: 7.0 – 8.5

Due to their succulent state, many aloe vera species are drought-tolerant. Aloe vera brings some sculptural interest to the landscape thanks to its large, bright green succulent leaves. They can survive on a small amount of water, but they will occasionally water the plants to prolong their lives. Do you spend a lot of time in the summer sun? Aloe vera can be used to treat burns, simply cut one of the aloe vera leaves and rub the gel on your burn to get instant relief!

Angelonia

Van Chaplin
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Angelonia angustifolia
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 – 6.2

This tropical native, also known as Angelonia angustifoliaIt blooms all summer long and loves the heat. The aromatic plant displays showy spikes of blue, purple, pink or white flowers, and hybrids offer additional color choices. Angelonia plants are grown as annuals in most places but are perennials in USDA cold hardiness zones 9+. They are excellent as bedding plants or in containers.

Quick information

  • In their initial growing season, angelonia flowers can attract aphids. Spray insecticidal soap twice a week to bid farewell to tiny reptiles.

Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan: Rudbeckia ‘Irish-eyed’.
Photo: © National Garden Bureau, Inc. Used with permission.
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Rudbeckia hirta
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Clay, clay and sandy soil
  • Soil pH: <6.8

Hardy and easy to grow, this early summer flower lights up gardens with its dazzling petals. Cutting encourages them to revolt late in the season. The 2- to 4-inch-long flowers have orange-red rays and a prominent purplish-black cone. Deer usually stay away from these plants.

Blanket flower

Msnansi/Getty Images
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Gaillardia is beautiful
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: The soil is sandy, well-drained
  • Soil pH: 6.1 – 6.5

These simple summer bloomers feature daisy-like flowers in warm colors – yellow, orange and red. They thrive on neglect, so put away your watering can and fertilizer. The pansies will spread or “cover” the area with their beautiful blooms, and they will return year after year. Their flowers make excellent cut flowers.

Butterfly bush

Based 61 / Getty Images
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Buddleja Davidi
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Well-drained loamy, loamy and sandy soils
  • Soil pH: 5.5 – 8.5

This flowering shrub, also known as Buddleja DavidiIt is a fast-growing, drought-resistant plant. It produces large quantities of thorny flowers during the summer months, and butterflies love them. These perennial flower shrubs are fairly low-maintenance – so just sit back and watch as the pollinators feed. Growers have developed cultivars in a wide range of colors and sizes.

Catmint

Alpamayo Photo/Getty Images
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Nepeta Kataria
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: 5.0 – 8.0

Once established, this aromatic plant is tolerant of low water conditions. These long-lived perennials produce beautiful purple flowers along with gray-green foliage that attract butterflies and bees. Mint is excellent for edging plants because it has a sprawling growth pattern. Mint can spread very quickly, so pruning is essential to control its growth.

Chaste tree

vsanderson/Getty Images
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: The chaste vine of the lamb
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Loose, well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 – 7.0

Purple summer flowers are the calling cards of these beautiful trees. They are drought-tolerant plantings that add color to the landscape at the height of the summer heat. It grows best in full sun and can also handle coastal conditions. Deadhead your chaste tree in late winter to promote flowering in the spring and summer months.

Coneflower

Albert Viertel/Getty Images
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Echinacea, purpurea
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Rich, well-drained, loamy soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 – 7.0

These plants are known for their drought and heat resistant properties. Its multi-colored flowers add some life to the garden when everything else wilts in the heat. One of the most popular is Echinacea, purpurea Or purple coneflower. These flowering bulbs are deer resistant.

Dianthus

Based 61 / Getty Images
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Dianthus caryophyllus
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Rich, well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 – 7.5

These drought-tolerant, deer-resistant plants are known for their beautiful flowers and bluish-green foliage. These sprawling perennials grow well along borders in sunny spots in the garden. Flowering time depends on the variety, but each flower has petals with jagged edges.

Lantana

Vachari Saitoin / EyeEm / Getty Images
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Lantana camara
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Rich, well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 – 6.5

Lantanas laugh at the heat and laugh at the drought. The small flowers appear in tight clusters resembling small nasal flowers continuously in warm weather. Plus, a lantana garden is a butterfly paradise, as no flowers do a better job of attracting them. Be careful when growing lantana if you have small children, dogs or horses, as it is toxic to them.

Madagascar periwinkle

Madagascar periwinkle, Catharanthus roseus. This plant has been used for hundreds of years as an herbal remedy and is now used to treat cancer.

John Cancalosi/Photo Library/Getty Images


  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Catharanthus roseus
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Rich, sandy or clayey, well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 – 7.0

Native to Madagascar, India, and tropical Asia, these bushy plants thrive in both humid and dry heat. The flowers bloom atop glossy leaves that are pure white, pink, pink or white with a pink or red eye. The flower was previously known botanically as Vinca roseaMany people still call it vinca. Editors’ Tip: Try Nirvana periwinkle and Madagascar kora.

Mealycup sage

Ruby Caponetto
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Salvia farinacea
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Rich, moist and well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: <6.8

The long, dense flowers on this plant, native to southern New Mexico, Texas and Mexico, appear in late spring. The flowers vary from deep violet to white. The sepals—covered with white hairs—often have a blue or violet tinge. Like other members of the Sage family, Mealycup Sage is generally pest-free.

Purslane

Jennifer Jordan
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Purslane
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: The soil is sandy, well-drained
  • Soil pH: 5.5 – 7.0

Known as Moss Rose, this showy plant is known for its gorgeous rose-like flowers in a variety of colors set atop succulent foliage. Generally, the flowers open fully in bright light and close by mid-afternoon in hot weather. Purslane thrives in high temperatures and intense sunlight and is undemanding to soil. Remove old flowers to stimulate new flower growth.

Southern Living / Adrienne Legault


  • Zoya life can be appreciated: I sat on the phone
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: The soil is sandy, well-drained
  • Soil pH: 6.0 – 7.5

The versatile sedum tree, also known as stonecrop, can grow with very little water. These will produce the healthiest display of flowers and foliage with weekly watering during their blooming seasons. The bright yellow-green sedum flowers bloom into small, star-shaped flowers. Sedum is a great choice for a ground cover plant because it is low growing and non-invasive while drawing attention to the area with its stunning foliage.

spurge

Mandy Disher Photography/Getty Images
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Euphorbia
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: The soil is sandy, well-drained
  • Soil pH: 5.0 – 7.0

Hardy spurge, also known as Euphorbia, produces bright, eye-catching flowers. These plants thrive even in the hottest and driest conditions. These low-maintenance plants are excellent for containers. Be careful when handling spurge, as it contains a milky sap that is toxic to humans. Handle the plant with gloves and do not let it come into contact with your eyes.

Threadleaf coreopsis

Directed/Getty Images
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Coreopsis verticillata
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Well-drained sandy or loamy soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 – 6.5

Native to the South, these easy-to-grow flowers, also known as tick seeds, are members of the sunflower family. Coreopsis produces an abundance of yellow flowers. Its seeds attract birds and its colorful flowers attract butterflies, but deer tend to stay away from them. They come in annual and perennial varieties.

Salvia

Lingqi Xie/Getty Images
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Sage officinalis
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 – 6.5

This summer bloomer, also known as ‘sage’, can go without water for long periods and looks great in beds, containers and borders. It produces small, spiky flowers and thrives in full sun. Salvia attracts pollinators, including bees, hummingbirds and butterflies. Plant salvia in spring.

Verbena

Naga Manas / EyeEm / Getty Images
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Verbena
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Rich, well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: 5.8 -7.2

The many choices of this flower are some of the most colorful, practical and easy to grow plants in the garden. It blooms in late spring, thrives on heat, and is drought tolerant. Verbena grows moderately quickly, reaching full size within a few weeks. Verbena grows beautifully over fences and is great hanging in baskets, but it is very easy to manage and grow wherever you choose to plant it.

Yucca

Jason Quick/Getty Images
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Yucca nematode
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: The soil is sandy, well-drained
  • Soil pH: 5.5 – 6.5

These succulents are drought tolerant because they store water in their stems. It produces large rosettes of sword-shaped leaves, and some species have large white flowers. Grow as houseplants until they outgrow your indoor space. Yucca plants don’t need a lot of maintenance, just water them once a week in the summer.

Zinnia

BHG/Evgenia Vlasova


  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Zinnia elegans
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Rich, well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 – 7.5

Zinnias are long-time garden favorites for their round, colorful flowers. Resilient hot weather plants do not benefit from being planted early and remain established until the weather warms. Zinnia plants will bloom more after cutting. Although they are annual plants, you can easily save their seeds for next year by letting zinnias turn brown and collecting their seeds. Its bright flowers will attract many pollinators.

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