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My Favorite Drought Tolerant Plants…

Many years ago I created a list of the plants that I use most often in my landscape designs. When I design a landscape, I need to make sure that the plants I choose will thrive in our climate and region. Some of the plants on this list would not be considered ‘drought tolerant’, and yet they survive with the heat and cold and thrive on a drip irrigation system. I use combinations of these plants over and over again, creating a bold, textured, sustainable palate.
It’s amazing how when these plants are planted, immediately butterflies and other insects are attracted to them!
It’s time to make the change with our landscapes…and here are some wonderful plants that thrive in our California climate!

Silver Color

Artemesia ‘Powis Castle’/Silver Mnd.
Cerastium – Snow in Summer
Convolvulous – Bush Morning Glory
Grevillea ‘Penola’
Lavender – all types
Santolina – chamaecyparis
Senecio cineraria
Stachys – Lamb’s Ear

Non-deciduous shrubs

Agapanthus – all varieties
Callestemon – ‘Little John’
Cistus – Rock Rose
Coleonema – all types
Correa – Australian Fuschia
Dietes – Fortnight lily
Euphorbia – all varieties
Grevillea – all varieties
Helianthemum – Sunrose
Hemerocallis – Day Lily (there are evergreen varieties)
Pittosporum – all types
Santolina – Viridis
Zauschernia – California Fuschia

Perennial Color

Achillea – Yarrow
Anigothanzthus – Kangaroo Paws
Brachycome – Swan River Daisy
Coreopsis – all types
Echinacea – Purple Cone Flower
Erigeron – Santa Barbara Daisy
Ground Cover Roses
Kniphofia – red Hot Poker
Nepeta – Catmint
Perovska – Russian Sage
Rudbeckia – Black-Eyed Susan
Salvia – ‘Hot lips’ ‘Maynight’, etc.
Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’
Shasta Daisy

Ground Cover

Arctostaphylos – ‘Emerald Carpet or Uva Ursi Cotoneaster – prostrate varieties
Delosperma ‘Cooperii’ Erigeron – Santa Barbara Daisy
Gazania – trailing types Ground Cover Roses
Juniperous ‘Wiltonii’ & other prostrate varieties Myoporum
Rosemary – prostrate varieties Thymus – Thyme
Verbena – ‘Tapien’


Aloe Vera Echeveria – Hens & Chicks
Agave ‘Paryii’ Sedum ‘Autmn Joy’, ‘Angelina’,
Agave ‘Americana’ – Dwarf varieties ‘Dragon’s Blood & ‘Cape Blanco’
Sempervivum – check on cold hardiness (916) 485-4769

11 thoughts on “My Favorite Drought Tolerant Plants…

  1. Hurrah, that’s what I was searching for, what a stuff!

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  2. Outstanding post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more
    on this subject? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit
    further. Kudos!

    1. In regards to plants for a drought tolerant landscape, it’s important to determine which Zone you are in. For instance, plants that thrive in Northern California may not thrive in Phoenix, Arizona. When grouping my plants, and yes, grouping the plants together and even using multiples of the same plant will create a bigger color splash, remember to put the highest growing shrub in the backdrop of the planting so as not to hide the smaller plants. I will use something like a variegated Yucca or Dietes (Fortnight Lily) as a ‘backdrop’, put a boulder in front of that and then add a lower growing shrub: Santolina, Ground Cover Rose, etc. in the foreground, and add perennials in the grouping. I hope this helps!

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