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10 of the best drought-resistant plants

1. Verbena bonariensis

Verbena bonariensis are great examples of drought-tolerant plants. They are popular perennials that have tiny clusters of fragrant, bright purple flowers through summer and well into autumn. Verbena have rich nectar, so butterflies and bees also love them. They reach an ultimate height of 1.5m and cope well in well-drained, moderately fertile soil (chalk, clay, loam or sand) and in a sunny position.


2. Perovskia Blue Spire

As the name suggests, this small deciduous sub-shrub produces glorious violet-blue flowers or ‘spires’ in late summer and autumn, along with aromatic grey leaves. It grows to an ultimate height of 1.2m and does well in poor, but well-drained soil (chalk, loam or sand) and in full sun.


3.  Sedums

These succulent perennials are a great nectar source for pollinating insects and flower from late summer into autumn.  They prefer a sunny position and well drained soil 


4.  Salvia Hot Lips

Salvia as a genus are all drought resistant. ‘Hot Lips’ is a striking variety, which produce masses of red and white flowers from July to October. If you touch the leaves, they smell delicious! It is much loved by bees and butterflies and is easy to grow.

It does well in ordinary, well-drained soil (chalk, loam or sand) and in the sun; though make sure you shelter it from cold winds. It will reach an ultimate height of 1m.


5. Lavender

All lavenders are tolerant to drought.  It is a low maintenance shrub and flowers in late spring and summer (July to August). Butterflies and bees love it, and its greyish green, evergreen foliage is also beautifully fragrant. Heights vary from 60cm up to 1.2m


6. Cabbage palm – Cordyline australis

Cordyline austrlias, or cabbage tree or cabbage palm, are all drought tolerant. They look good all year round and are great for coastal gardens and in large pots or borders. They are an architectural plant with green leaves and, in hot summers, will sometimes produce small, very scented flowers (July to August).

Plant in well-drained, fertile, and in a sunny, or partially shaded, position. Make sure they are sheltered from cold winds.


7.  Erigeron 'Profusion' This pretty Mexican fleabane has a mass of pink and white flowers which looks fantastic tumbling over walls, in pots or at the front of your borders.  It flowers from May until the first frosts in the autumn.


8. Sempervivum

The Limestone houseleek is a very easy-to-manage evergreen plant, which has spirals of geometric pointed blue-green evergreen leaves with red tips. Spikes of pink flowers appear in June to August. It is drought-tolerant and also tolerates being neglected, so good for the low-maintenance gardener. It is great in pots, rock gardens, gravel gardens and crevices in walls.


9. Cistus  - Rockrose

Rock roses are a compact evergreen shrub  which have papery flowers during the summer  It comes from the eastern Mediterranean, and is suitable for coastal gardens and well-drained soils (chalk, loam or sand). Make sure you plant it in full sun and sheltered from cold winds.


10.  Abelia grandiflora

This small, colourful evergreen shrub comes in a range of colours and are scented.  It is a great shrub for year-round interest. During mid-summer to autumn (August to October) it also has scented pink and white flowers.


 Please note that all of the above plants will need frequent watering if you are growing them in pots or throughout their 1st year if planted in the ground whilst they get established


Posted by Becky Stork

Becky Stork (nee Groves) is part of the 6th generation of Groves' who run C.W. Groves & Son.  She is the nursery manager both at Little Groves and at HQ in Bridport. 

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