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Drought tolerant plants for California are a trending topic these days.

In California, we are used to drought. It seems like every year, the taps run a little drier, and the reservoirs fill up a little slower. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best and brightest drought-tolerant plants that are perfect for our climate. These plants have adapted to long, dry summers and short, rainy winters, and they don’t need much water to thrive. So if you’re looking for low-water-consuming plants that are easy to care for, you’ll want to check out this list!

Drought Tolerant Plants for California

1. Bougainvillea

This incredibly fun-to-say vine is tough and boasts bright pink, papery leaves that conceal a tiny white flower inside. Bougainvillea are drought tolerant and can grow in any kind of soil, making them perfect for drought-prone areas. It’s a fast grower, so if you’re looking to add some quick color to your garden, this is the plant for you!

Because bougainvilleas are tropical natives, they require ample amounts of sunlight! If you want your bougainvillea to bloom brilliantly, then make sure it’s getting full sun. Some types can tolerate partial sun but won’t thrive as well as those receiving direct sunlight. With less than ideal lighting, plants will be leggy and have fewer flowers if any.

bougainvillea

2. Rosemary

This fragrant herb is drought tolerant and can withstand long periods without water. It’s perfect for the drought-prone California climate! Rosemary prefers well-drained soil and full sun, but it will tolerate partial sun. This drought-tolerant plant is also deer resistant, making it a great choice for areas where deer are a problem.

Rosemary is an aromatic evergreen shrub that is used as a culinary herb. It has linear, dark green leaves and small, blue flowers that bloom in the spring. The plant can grow to be three feet tall and wide, making it a great choice for drought-tolerant landscaping! (It’s also great with roasted potatoes!)

3. Island Bush Snapdragon

This drought-tolerant plant is perfect for dry, sunny areas and can even tolerate salt spray! It’s a tough plant that doesn’t require much water or maintenance, making it ideal for busy gardeners. The island bush snapdragon has small, yellow flowers that bloom in the summer and attract bees and butterflies.

The island bush snapdragon is a drought-tolerant, evergreen shrub that is native to the Canary Islands. It has small, yellow flowers that bloom from June to September. The plant can grow to be three feet tall and wide, making it a great choice for drought-tolerant landscaping!

4. Agave

This drought-tolerant plant is native to the deserts of Mexico, so you know it can handle dry conditions! Agave are low-maintenance plants that don’t need much water or fertilizer. They’re perfect for busy gardeners who want a drought-tolerant plant that is easy to care for.

Agave are drought-tolerant, evergreen plants that can grow to be six feet tall and wide. They have large, spiky leaves and small, yellow flowers that bloom in the summer. The plant is native to the deserts of Mexico but can also be found in drought-prone areas of California.

Related Reading: How To Grow Agave For Nectar: Growing And Harvesting Blue Agave Syrup

5. Yarrow

This drought-tolerant plant is perfect for dry, sunny areas and can even tolerate salt spray! It’s a tough plant that doesn’t require much water or maintenance, making it ideal for busy gardeners. The yarrow has small, yellow flowers that bloom in the summer and attract bees and butterflies.

Yarrow is a native North American plant that pollinators adore and is practically care-free, making it ideal for borders, ground covers, and open meadows.

yarrow

6. California Wild Grape

California Wild Grape grows throughout central and northern California, and periodically in southern California. The California Wild Grape is known for its speedy growth and easy upkeep. Plant it as an arbor, windbreak, or groundcover- the possibilities are endless! This tough plant can withstand any type of weather and still provide you with a beautiful landscape.

Though it commonly grows in moister areas, this plant can withstand little water once established. Once it has deep roots, it needs no irrigation where it is native; however, more water creates a larger and lusher plant (not necessarily ideal). It does best with full sun on its leaves and will stretch to get there if necessary. If you want a drought-tolerant plant that can provide shade, this is the one for you!

7. Strawberry Tree

A strawberry tree is different from the red, seed-studded fruit on vines that you’re used to. This drought-tolerant plant is actually a member of the rose family and produces small, red fruits that are popular in Europe. The strawberry tree is a hardy plant that can withstand drought conditions and poor soil.

With some patience, Strawberry-Tree will grow best in either full sun or partial shade on well-drained, acid soil. Additionally, these plants are tolerant of wind and drought once established.

If you have an adventurous palate, try this unique arbutus strawberry jam!

arbutus strawberry

8. Australian Willow

The Australian Willow is a medium-sized tree that combines the elegance of a Willow with the strength of a Eucalyptus. It is an evergreen beauty with fine-textured, gray/green leaves that droop down, giving it its weeping effect. With its olive green leaves and characteristic clusters of fragrant, creamy white flowers, this evergreen tree is sure to please. It’s especially well-suited for an arid climate and will attract pollinators when in bloom.

The Australian Willow is an excellent choice for planting near sidewalks or pathways, as its roots are non-invasive, and it produces minimal litter. Additionally, this tree can spruce up any patio or deck with its attractive form. The Australian Willow typically grows into a pyramid shape and is fairly common in parks – and its low branches make it easy for young children to climb.

If you’re looking for more drought-tolerant ideas that require even less attention, check out our recent blog post: How to Build Rock Gardens for Small Spaces

Enlist a Professional Landscape Designer

If you’re ready to curate your landscape, contact us at Meadowbrook Design. Our landscape designers are ready to help you create the backyard of your dreams.