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A Dozen Drought-Tolerant Perennials for Your Garden

Hardy geraniums

Discover the secret to a vibrant, low-maintenance garden, even in scorching summers and erratic weather patterns. Embrace the beauty of drought-tolerant perennials that survive and thrive, bringing bursts of color and life to your outdoor space. 

From the resilient Baptisia to the stunning Echium, these 12 flowering wonders are your ticket to a water-smart, picturesque garden. Let nature’s adaptability inspire your landscape as we explore these hardy yet beautiful plants’ unique features.

Agapanthus, African Lily

Agapanthus, African Lily

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Best for: Containers

Description: With elegant long stems and tubular flowers, these South African plants endure harsh conditions. Perfect for pots or sunny borders, they come in various cultivars, from the petite ‘Brilliant Blue’ to the RHS AGM-winning ‘Midnight Star.’

Achillea, Yarrow

Achillea, Yarrow

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Best for: Pollinators

Description: Yarrows are pollinator magnets, flaunting flat-topped umbels in various colors. ‘Moonshine’ and ‘Walter Funcke’ offer a spectrum from pale whites to warm reds, making them a delightful addition to sunny, dry borders.

Baptisia

Baptisia

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Best for: Slightly acid, sandy soils

Description: Resembling lupins, Baptisia australis features blue summer flowers and glaucous green leaves. Recent cultivars like ‘Cherry Jubilee’ and ‘Vanilla Cream’ offer a modern twist to this North American native.

Echium

Echium

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Best for: Full sun, gravel beds, and mixed borders

Description: Echiums, the showstoppers of the garden, boast towering spikes of flowers. Varieties like ‘Red Feathers’ are compact and hardy and feature raspberry-red blooms, adding vertical flair to mixed borders.

Fennel

Fennel

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Best for: Full sun, gravel beds, and mixed borders

Description: With tall, feathery stems, fennel adds an airy contrast to dense or colorful plantings. The purple form, ‘Purpureum,’ pairs beautifully with Mediterranean plants and can be harvested for its seeds.

Gaura

Gaura

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Best for: Sunny, well-drained conditions

Description: Formerly known as Oenothera, Gaura’s delicate blooms belie its resilience. Thriving through drought, it offers continuous summer flowers in shades from white to pink, a perfect mid-height addition among grasses.

Lychnis Coronaria

Lychnis Coronaria

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Best for: Poor dry soil

Description: Sporting silvery-grey foliage, Lychnis coronaria thrives in dry, poor soils. Its bright magenta flowers provide summer-long beauty, and ‘Alba’ offers a white alternative to this easy-care, self-seeding perennial.

Phlomis Russelliana, Turkish Sage

Phlomis Russelliana, Turkish Sage

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Best for: Middle of sunny borders

Description: This herbaceous phlomis combines handsome foliage with unique yellow blooms. Tolerant of drought once established, its architectural appearance and whorled flowers make it a standout in both summer and winter.

Red Valerian, Centranthus Ruber

Red Valerian, Centranthus Ruber

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Best for: Dry, sunny borders

Description: Hardy and pollinator-friendly, red valerian confidently naturalizes in various conditions. With pinkish-red flowers, it blooms throughout summer, adding a burst of color to mixed borders or pots.

Salvia Nemorosa

Salvia Nemorosa

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Best for: Sunny, well-drained front of borders

Description: This ornamental sage, thriving in well-drained soil and full sun, offers intense summer color. ‘Caradonna’ and ‘Amethyst’ cultivars remain popular, requiring little watering once established.

Verbascum

Verbascum

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Best for: Gravel gardens, cottage gardens

Description: Verbascums add flair to mixed borders with their vertical spires of color. They bring a classic cottage garden charm from acid yellow to pastel shades and can naturalize in the right conditions.

Echinops, Globe Thistle

Echinops, Globe Thistle

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Best for: Sunny, mixed borders, gravel gardens

Description: Globe thistles bring structure with bright blue spherical flowers. Drought-tolerant and pollinator-friendly, they extend interest into fall and winter with appealing dried seedheads.

 

Other Guides from Planet Natural:

Dive into Nature: Discover 101 Types of Blue Flowers!

Garden Warriors: Flowers That Grow in Poor Soil

17 Mesmerizing Flowers that Bloom After Dusk

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