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Gorgeous Drought-Resistant Plants with Vivid Color

Just when the growing season looks bleakest — think scorchers and mid-summer drought — Mom Nature brings out bursts of cheery color. These drought-resistant plants help conserve water and ensure your curb appeal won’t wilt in the heat. Native varieties are the most tolerant; check your state extension service. Meanwhile, check out our slideshow of colorful drought-resistant plants!

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Four O’Clocks

Latin: Mirabilis

Type: Perennial

Colors: White, pink, yellow, and variegated

Tip: These hardy plants grow in tangled, 3-foot-high mounds that make them look like shrubs. The big, trumpet-shaped flowers open in late afternoon and are fragrant into the evening, so plant them along walkways and exterior doors.


Credit: Thomas Knox/Flickr

Image: Thomas Knox/Flickr
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  • Latin: Mirabilis

    Type: Perennial

    Colors: White, pink, yellow, and variegated

    Tip: These hardy plants grow in tangled, 3-foot-high mounds that make them look like shrubs. The big, trumpet-shaped flowers open in late afternoon and are fragrant into the evening, so plant them along walkways and exterior doors.


    Credit: Thomas Knox/Flickr

  • Latin: Penstemon

    Type: Perennial

    Colors: Bright red, blue, pink, purple, yellow, variegated, and white (rare)

    Tip: There are more than 250 species of penstemon, so check for varieties well-adapted to your locale. Some species attract hummingbirds. Beard tongue tolerates low water, but needs good soil drainage. When shopping, “penstemon” is more commonly used than “beard tongue.”


    Credit: Louisa Billeter/Flickr

  • Latin: Echinacea

    Type: Perennial

    Colors: Pinkish petals and a magenta center; there are white and orange versions, too

    Tip: Tough and tall, coneflowers grow in clumps and look good at the backs of beds and borders. Blooms generally last all through summer. Don’t cut the seed heads of these perennial flowers after fall frosts — finches like them for winter snacks.


    Credit: Jeanne Grunert

  • Latin: Hemerocallis

    Type: Perennial

    Colors: One of the most-hybridized of all flowers, daylilies come in dozens of colors; deep orange is classic

    Tips: Daylilies are virtually trouble-free, and will grow in all soil and moisture conditions; they’re good confidence-builders for rookie gardeners. Once established, they spread and multiply by tuberous underground roots.

     

    Credit: Betsy’s Blog

  • Latin: Lavandula

    Type: Perennial shrub

    Colors: Blue, purple (lavender!), occasionally white and pink

    Tips: Fragrant lavender grows in loose sprays of spikes tipped with little clusters of flowers, and are good in informal gardens. Most varieties attract bees and butterflies. They tolerate poor soil and neglect, even preferring sand and gravel to organic mulch.


    Credit: Rosipaw/Flickr

  • Latin: Caryopteris

    Type: Shrub

    Colors: Blue, pink

    Tips: Bluebeard is prized for its consistently blue color and mounding, 3- to 4-foot-tall forms that can anchor your landscape plan. Cut them nearly to the ground in late winter to encourage fresh, healthy growth the following year.


    Credit: Monrovia

  • Latin: Rhododendron

    Type: Perennial shrub

    Colors: White, pink, red, purple

    Tips: Drought-tolerant after they’re established, rhodos need ample water to get started. They also like their soil well-adjusted and well-drained, so checking for soil pH and other nutrients is helpful before planting. They prefer filtered — not direct — sunlight. There are over 800 varieties in all sizes; ask your local nursery what works in your region.


    Credit: Betsy S. Hastey

  • Latin: Spirea

    Type: Perennial shrub

    Colors: Pink, red, white

    Tips: Tough little spirea isn’t fussy about watering or soil conditions, which makes it perfect for less-than-perfect gardeners. At 2-3 feet high, they’re good as foundation cover. The lacy blossoms appear early and are great mixers in bouquets; cut back after the first bloom to get a second bloom in late summer.

    Credit: My Weeds Are Very Sorry blog

  • Latin: Hydrangea

    Type: Perennial shrub

    Colors: White, pink, red, blue

    Tips: Big, globular flower clusters characterize this garden favorite. Once established, hydrangea needs little care, but be sure to water regularly the first year or two. Their color is affected by soil pH — acidic soils produce blue flowers; neutral to alkaline pH yields pinks and reds (white varieties stay white).


    Credit: Sarah Turner - Clover Lane

  • Latin: Antirrhinum

    Type: Annual

    Colors: Red, yellow, purple, white, pink

    Tips: Noted for their height (3 feet) and upright stance, snapdragons are a garden favorite of children. They’ll tolerate low watering, but they prefer loose, well-drained soil that’s rich with compost.


    Credit: Red Dirt Ramblings

  • If you like these, you may want to take a spin through HouseLogic’s library of slideshows.

     

  • Four O’Clocks
  • Beard Tongue
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Daylilies
  • Lavender
  • Bluebeard
  • Azalea
  • Spirea
  • Hydrangea
  • Snapdragon
  • Like our slideshows?
  • four-oclocks
  • beard-tongue
  • purple-coneflower
  • daylilies
  • lavender
  • bluebeard
  • azalea
  • spirea
  • hydrangea
  • snapdragon
  • more-slideshows
  • Image: Thomas Knox/Flickr
  • Image: Louisa Billeter/Flickr
  • Image: Jeanne Grunert
  • Image: Betsy’s Blog
  • Image: Rosipaw/Flickr
  • Image: Monrovia
  • Image: Betsy S. Hastey
  • Image: My Weeds Are Very Sorry blog
  • Image: Sarah Turner - Clover Lane
  • Image: Red Dirt Ramblings