Do you live somewhere prone to drought?

This may be considered a problem, but there are many different types of plants that survive, and thrive with very little water... you just need to choose the right ones!
This article includes an extensive list of drought tolerant plants - if you are looking  for information on growing drought tolerant plants you have come to the right place...
During prolonged drought, it is only natural for any garden to lose some of its plants. Many plants can withstand short periods of extreme dryness; they may wilt and parts of the plant may die back – leaving only parts of the root system and top growth alive. If conditions don’t persist these plants may re-establish the growth they had pre-drought.

A much smaller range of plants can withstand prolonged dry conditions for months or even years. Drought tolerant plants are those that can survive these extended periods of dryness.

Some countries (such as <st1:country-region>Australia</st1:country-region>, the <st1:country-region>USA</st1:country-region>) are more prone to drought than others; but even countries such as the <st1:country-region>UK</st1:country-region> experience periods of drought. With low water supply, water restrictions, and the prospect of being unable to water a garden as much as in the past; it is becoming increasingly important for gardeners to consider growing drought tolerant plants.

During dry periods, plants will continue to metabolise (eg. chemical reactions and processes such as respiration and photosynthesis still occur). Some plants survive by slowing down their metabolism rate. Others may have a naturally slow metabolism which helps them survive. Others may have sufficient water stores in the plant tissues for the plant to continue living until the next rain comes.

By looking at where plants come from we can often, make reasonable and educated guesses about what is or is not drought resistant.

Fleshy plants such as cacti and succulents will hold higher than average stores of water and as such are considered drought resistant, to a greater or lesser extent (depending on the plant).

Plants that grow in poorer, sandy soils are also often adapted to living with little water. Even after rain sandy soil often dries out quickly, leaving the plant roots sitting in very dry soil for extended periods.


Learn more about Horticulture and gardening here
Gardening in Dry Conditions

Dryness can be thought of in terms of:

  • Air dryness (low humidity).
  • Soil dryness, either as a result of low rainfall or the soil’s inability to retain water. Poor water retention is common in sandy soils, on sloping ground, compacted soils, soils subject to surface crusting, and in raised garden beds or mounds.

Whatever the reason, there are many plants that can be grown in drier areas however the tolerance of different plants to dry conditions varies greatly: 

  • Some plants tolerate dry soil but not dry air.
  • Some plants tolerate dry soil, and low humidity.
  • Some plants tolerate periods of dry conditions but not all the time, ie. seasonal dry periods.
  •  Many plants prefer dry soil when growth slows down in cooler weather. Moist soil during cool, slow-growth periods can lead to root rot problems and lower the plant’s ability to withstand pest and disease attack.
  • Some plants need moist soil to establish, but can then withstand dry conditions.

Overcoming Dryness




Too much run-off

Sandy soil Sloping ground

Create terraces

Build a rockery and create pockets of organic-rich soil

Mulch surfaces well

Soil doesn’t hold water

Add well rotted compost and manures

Use mulch

Add water retaining crystals or a soil wetter.

Soil is very wet then dry

Clay soil

Add sand and organic material

Use mulch

Add gypsum

Soil is dusty and water doesn’t penetrate the surface

Soil has become water repellent

Add soil wetting agents

Add well rotted organic materials

Use mulch

Soil requires frequent watering         

Poor watering techniques

Install a drip irrigation system

Deep watering using a soaker hose or sprinkler once/week instead of frequent hand watering.



Dry Pots


Potting mixes often dry out rapidly and need frequent watering, particularly in hot, windy conditions. Soils in terracotta pots are especially prone to drying out quickly. If you want to overcome this problem, use potting mixes which are specifically designed for terracotta pots – water retaining granules/crystals and peat are often added to the mix to improve water retention.

Potting mix that is allowed to dry out is often difficult to re-wet evenly. Wetting agents can be applied to help improve water penetration (infiltration into and throughout the potting mix, helping to ensure the entire mass of potting mix is moist).

Drip irrigation systems with individual drippers for each pot are also very useful in keeping the soil moist.


Growing Dry-Loving Plants in Moist Soils

If you want to grow a dry-loving plant but the soil is too moist:

  •  improve soil drainage - add sand and install drains
  • build a raised bed
  • grow it in a pot

The following lists provide just a few of the possibilities. There is a huge range of natives suited to dry conditions. Ask at your local nursery for natives suited to your locality.



Not many trees are truly drought tolerant and most trees will need water during the first two years of establishment.

However through careful tree selection gardens can be more resistant to droughts - a side benefit to this is that the garden also requires less maintenance (through time saved not watering).

Some trees are efficient water users - following are some factors to consider when choosing the most water efficient trees:

  • Trees native to an area better adapted to local soil, moisture, climate and pest problems.
  • Trees with small leaves (linden, elm, ash, willow oak) are more efficient at cooling; they use water more efficiently then large leaves trees that lose more water through the evapotranspiration off the leaf surface ie. Liquidambar styraciflua (sycamore), Tilia heterophylla (cotton-wood).
  • Trees growing on slopes are usually more drought tolerant then those growing on river-flats. 
  • Early colonisers (the first trees to re-colonise disturbed sites) such as wattles, pines, black locust elms (plants native to an area or sometimes those that have become weeds to an area), use water more effectively than those that are later colonisers (that tend to grow once the first colonisers have stabilised the area).
  • Trees that have wide spreading crowns are not as efficient in water use as those that fastigiate (upright crowns).
  • Trees that have layered branches in their crowns (such as oaks, ash, eucalypts, willow oaks etc) are more water efficient then those that only have a leaf canopy.
  • Trees with large root systems, thick waxy leaves and bark and efficient stoma control are water efficient trees eg. many eucalypts, red cedar).
  • Trees that are not drought tolerant tend to shed their leaves during prolonged dry conditions (eg. birches, dogwoods etc.).


Here are a few drought tolerant plant options... read on for a comprehensive list...


Wormwood, southernwood and tarragon are all commonly grown Artemisia. Some Artemisia prefer regular watering; but many are also relatively drought resistant.

Family: Asteraceae (syn. Compositae)

Approximately 200 species of herbs and shrubs; some species are grown as herbs for culinary, medicinal or other purposes (eg. the aromatic foliage of most will repel some pests). They are hardy and grow fast.

Most have aromatic foliage; leaves can be entire lobed or dissected, and very often coloured silver to blue or grey green.

Most are attractive as bedding plants for foliage effects (colour or texture), some are also good as a hedge or container plant. Most can be are picked as cut flowers.

A mixture of silver leaved Artemisia (often with lavenders) can be used to create a stunning foliage effect in any size garden. They are popular plants to use in colour themed gardens.

Artemisia thrives in poorer, dry soils, but excessive humidity or wet soil can kill most.

They grow well in full sun or light shade, in open, exposed or protected positions.

Transplant easily, propagate readily from cuttings, withstands hard pruning, prune for shape. Few pest or disease problems, though they can suffer root rots occasionally.



A. abrotanum (southernwood)

0.5-1m tall

Yellow flowers, attractive grey-green and soft fern like foliage, can become straggly if not pruned regularly.

A. absinthium


to 1.8m tall

Very hardy, greyish foliage, yellow flowers.

A. arborecens

(Silver Wormwood)

1m – 2m

Silver grey foliage, more silvery in spring.

A. dracunculus


to 70cm

requires drier soil than others, for quality herbal harvest it needs annual or biennial replanting

Learn more about Artemisia here  

Bromeliads are grown mostly in mild temperate through to tropical climates. Though they do respond well to watering; many Bromeliads will survive for long periods of time on very little water.

Bromeliads can be grown in containers, on tree trunks or slabs as epiphytes or in well drained, preferably high organic soil. They are generally low growing rosettes, grown for their colour (flower and foliage), hardiness, and unique form and texture.

Bromeliad Growing Hints:

· provide good light but not direct sun

· in dry climates, mist foliage in hot weather

· generally prefer temperatures above 75 degrees F

· don't water (or reduce watering) in cool weather when growth stops

· after flowering the rosette which produces the flower often dies but is replaced by offshoots -this is natural

· brown or dead leaf tips indicate lack of humidity

· brown patches on foliage may be sunburn

· scale and mealy bug sometimes a problem


Some of the commonly grown Bromeliad Genera:



Generally very hardy, widely grown, size shape and colour extremely variable amongst around 200 species, tolerate full sun or shade,



8 species - all with spiny leaves; A. comosus (the pineapple) is the most widely grown, both as a commercial crop and in home gardens; hardy in well drained but moist soil; takes up to 2 years to bear fruit.



61 species, foliage generally taller, tubular and with less leaves than other bromeliads, stalks bearing tubular flowers spring from the centre of the plant, very hardy, tolerate full sun.

B. nutans

B. pyramidalis


Cryptanthus (Earth stars)

26 species, form low flattish rosettes, hardy, grow in sun or shade, dry or wet, foliage colours variable, flowers white,



158 species, native to wet humid forests, usually growing on trees, flowers yellow to red and orange, avoid cool areas, best in wet tropics,



94 species, great variety in foliage colour and texture, vary from small (3 cm diameter) to large (over 1 metre diameter) plants,



42 species, medium size plants, flowers red, white or blue, leaves have fine spines.


Plant size can vary considerably, Difficult at high altitudes, most gave bluish tubular flowers.

T. usneoides

(Spanish moss).

Approx. 290 species, very adaptable though commonly native to tropical rainforests, ideally part shade, spineless leaves, cold tolerant, foliage variable in texture and colours.

Love Bromeliads? Learn more here:

Most Brachychitons are relatively drought hardy.

Genus: Brachychiton

Common Name: bottle tree or Sterculia

Family: Sterculiaceae

Appearance: long-lived, generally slow growing trees and large shrubs; often have swollen trunks.

Flowers: some shed foliage prior to flowering, clusters of bell shaped flowers followed by large woody seed pods.

Features: attractive hardy tree.

Requirements: tolerate poor soil, prefer fertile deep soil, avoid waterlogged soils.

Warm climates preferred; once established will withstand dry periods.

Culture: may be pruned to shape. Good drainage is essential for some species. Propagate with seed collected from current season’s capsules. These may take several months to germinate.

Pest and Disease: some subject to leaf chewing insects.


Species and Varieties: about 12 species, including:

B. acerifolius (flame tree)

Tree commonly to 8m, sometimes to 20m, bright red, showy, summer flowers, deeply lobed leaves

B. bidwillii (little kurrajong)

Open medium shrub to 5m with hairy red new foliage and red flowers. Maple shaped leaves. Well adapted to a range of soil types and climatic districts.

B. discolour (lacebark)

A tree to 30m, with pink flowers, and maple-like leaves. Deciduous in cooler areas.

B. diversifolius

Semi deciduous 10-15m tall, greenish yellow flowers with brownish spots inside, slow growing, adapts to most well drained tropical sites.

B. Gregorii (desert kurrajong)

A deciduous tree with yellow flowers with red margins.

B. paradoxum

Small tree 3-6m tall, spectacular red flowers, grows well in semi arid tropics in a sunny position.

B. populneus (kurrajong)

An adaptable tree to 18m, with poplar-like leaves. Hardy in most soils, but prefers lime soils, flowers white to green-yellow sometimes with reddish inside.

B. rupestris

A large tree to 15m tall, with a swollen trunk. A good fodder tree.



Olives are one of the better fruiting trees to grow in low rainfall areas. They do respond to watering; but also prefer a drier climate, and in fact do well in much drier conditions than most other fruit trees.

Genus:  Olea

Common Name: Olive

Family: Oleaceae

Appearance: evergreen trees or shrubs with foliage usually silver-white underneath.

Flowers: small, white flowers in panicles.

Features: source of olives and olive oil.

Requirements: deep, fertile, well drained soil. Dry conditions best, but the olive is very adaptable.

Culture: commercial growers may require a combination of varieties to improve pollination and yield. Olives have a high cold requirement ‑ as much as 1500 hours or more, depending on the variety ‑ and this will greatly affect flower production. The trees will not tolerate water-logging, so good drainage is essential. Cropping will tend to follow a biennial pattern under good conditions, as a heavy crop will tend to inhibit flower production in the following year. For this reason (and to produce good sized fruit), proper thinning is important. The variety `Sevillano' appears to be an exception to this rule. Olives tend not to grow too well in the tropics due to humidity.

Pest and Disease: brown Olive Scale is the main problem. Weevils, Peacock Spot fungus, Crown Gall and Nematodes, are occasional problems or localized to particular areas.

Species and Varieties: about 20 species, including:

Olea europaea

(Olive) – is an extremely hardy, long-lived tree with almost legendary drought tolerance. Trees are occasionally seen as garden escapes, even in cooler areas. It has a preference for Calcareous soils and can tolerate steep slopes with shallow rocky soil. Of course, the best crop production will come from far less harsh situations. The trees are long lived, wind pollinated and requiring about 8 years to come into production.Plants are normally spaced at about 10m and pruned to an open vase shape to keep them as low as possible. Subsequent pruning is only to maintain this shape. Heavy pruning may reduce yields and encourage the development of suckers, and so should be avoided. Propagation is generally by budding or grafting onto seedling stock, although root grafts, semi‑ hardwood and hardwood cuttings are also successful.
Read on for a comprehensive list of drought tolerant plants...

The following lists are trees and other plants that will tolerate drought or dry conditions once they are established.

Drought Tolerant Trees

Acer saccharum (sugar maple), Acer floridanum  (southern maple), Acer campestre, Acer rubrum (red maple),, Acer buergeranum (trident maple), Acer negundo (box elder), Acer truncatum (purple blow maple)

Aesculus x carnea 'Briottii'  (red horse-chestnut), Aesculus California, California buck-eye

Albizia julibrissin (mimosa)

Alnus japonica (Japanese alder)

Betula nigra  (river birch)

Carpinus caroliniana (American hornbeam), Carpinus betulus (European hornbeam) Carpinus betulus fastigiate (upright hornbeam) Carpinus japonica (Japanese hornbeam)

Carya illinoenensis  (pecan)

Catalpa bignonioides, C. speciosa (catalpa)

Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca' (blue atlas cedar) Cedrus deodara (deodar cedar)

Celtis occidentalis (hackberry)

Cercis canadensis (red-bud), Cercis chinensis (Chinese redbud)

Chionanthus virginicus (fringe-tree)

Cotinus coggygria (smoke-tree)

Crataegus phaenopyrum Washington hawthorn, Crataegus laevigata (English hawthorn) Crataegus viridis (green hawthorn)

Cunninghamia lanceolata (<st1:country-region>China</st1:country-region> fir)

Cupressocyparis leylandii (Leyland cypress)

Cupressus sempervirens (Italian cypress)

Cydonia sinensis (Chinese quince)

Elaeagnus angustifolia (Russian olive)

Eriobotrya japonica (loquat)

Fraxinus pennsylvanica  (green ash)

Ginkgo biloba (ginkgo)

Gleditsia triacanthos (honey-locust)

Gymnocladus dioica (coffee-tree)

Halesia carolina (Silverbell)

Ilex opaca (American holly), Ilex latifolia  (lusterleaf holly), Ilex x 'Nellie R. Stevens' Holly, Ilex decidua

Ilex x attenuata 'Savannah' (Savannah holly)

Juniperus virginiana (eastern red cedar)

Koelreuteria paniculata, K. bipinnata (golden rain tree)

Lagerstroemia indica (crepe myrtle)

Liquidambar styraciflua (sweet-gum)

Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)

Maclura pomifera  (Osage-orange)

Magnolia grandiflora, Magnolia x soulangiana (Magnolia)

Malus spp. (crab apple)

Melia azedarach (Chinaberry)

Metasequoia glyptostroboides (dawn redwood)

Morus alba (white mulberry)

Nyssa sylvatica  (black gum)

Oxydendrum arboreum  (sourwood)

Picea pungens (blue spruce)

Pinus taeda, Pinus thunbergiana, Pinus elliottii, Pinus virginiana , Pinus strobus  (pines)

Pistachia chinensis (Chinese pistachio)

Prunus caroliniana (Carolina cherry), Prunus Laurocerasus (cherry laurel)

Prunus serrulata (Japanese flowering cherry)

Prunus x yedoensis (Yoshino cherry)

Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford' (ornamental pear)

Quercus falcate (southern red oak),  Quercus acutissima (sawtooth oak), Quercus virginiana (live oak), Quercus shumardii (Shumard oak),  Quercus palustris (pin oak),Quercus nigra (black oak), Quercus phellos (willow oak)

Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust) 

Sophora japonica (Japanese pagoda tree)

Taxodium distichum  (bald cypress)

Tilia tomentosa (silver linden)

Ulmus parvifolia (lacebark elm)

Vitex agnus-castus (chaste-tree)

Zelkova serrata Zelkova


Very Drought Tolerant Trees (Australian Natives)

Agonis flexuosa  (willow myrtle)

to 14 m

A medium sized tree with weeping branches and narrow leaves. Tolerates medium dry conditions for cool temperate districts. Some success is achieved in Brisbane localities. Dwarf and variegated cultivars are available. Now available is an attractive new cultivar ‘After Dark’ with blackish leaves.

Allocasuarina cristata (Belah)

To 12m

Fast-growing. Very drought tolerant, also tolerates wet soils

Allocasuarina descaisneana (desert oak)

To 15 m

Very drought tolerant. Pendulous habit

Allocasuarina stricta (drooping she-oak)

To 10 m

Tolerates dry, wet and coastal conditions. Hardy

Allocasuarina torulosa (forest oak)

To 10 m

Rough, corky bark and reddish fine leaves. Tolerates dry, wet and cool conditions.

Alstonia constricta (quinine bush)

To 12 m

Medium tree with milky sap and small yellow flowers in spring. Good shade tree for drier districts.

Angophora floribunda (rough-barked apple)

To 20 m

Medium to large tree. Mature trees have twisted, gnarled trunk and branches. Needs well drained to dry soil.

Brachychiton populneus (kurrajong)

To 20 m

Hardy tree with dense rounded crown. Tolerates very dry soil and cold conditions.

Buckinghamia celsissima (ivory curl flower)

To 12 m

Rarely over 6 m in cultivation. White ivory flowers are produced in summer.

Callitris endlicheri (black cypress pine)

To 10 m

Narrow conifer-like tree. Tolerates dry, arid conditions.

Callitris preissii

Large shrub or small tree. More variable and open habit compared to other Callitris. Tolerates very dry, arid conditions.

Capparis mitchellii (native orange)

To 5 m

Small rounded tree with white flowers and edible fruit. Untidy when young but very handsome and mature. Good for dry areas.

Cassia brewsteri

To 8 m

Medium tree with semi-deciduous habit. Pendulous yellow-red flowers in spring. Very hardy to dry sites.

Denhamia oleaster

to 8 m

Good inland dry tree with spreading and pendulous branches.

Geijera parviflora (wilga)

To 12 m

Small spreading tree with linear leaves and small cream flowers. Well suited to dry areas

Melia azederach (white cedar)

Spreading deciduous small to medium-large tree. Purple and white flowers. Tolerates medium-dry conditions.


Eucalyptus - many species tolerate dry conditions. Some of the more attractive ornamental species include:

  E. caesia ‘Silver Princess’

Small pendulous tree to 8 m with silver stems and large pendant pink flowers.

  E. forrestiana

Small bushy tree with large red bell-shaped buds and red flowers.

  E. leucoxylon rosea

Small to medium tree to 15 m with red flowers.

  E. sideroxylon rosea

Medium tree to 15 m with dark furrowed bark, grey leaves and red

  E. torquata

Small spreading tree to 8 m with profuse pink flowers.


Drought Tolerant Medium to Tall Shrubs

Acacia saligna

Agave attenuata

Banksia ericifolia (heath banksia)

Banksia marginata

Brachysema lanceolata (Swan River pea)

Buddleja - butterfly bush

Callistemon citrinus, C. rigidus

Calluna - heather

Chaenomeles - quince

Choisya ternata (Mexican orange blossom)

Coprosma repens (mirror plant)

Cordyline australis

Correa alba, C. reflexa

Cotinus  (smokebush)

Cotoneaster spp.

Cytisus  (Scotch broom)

Dodonea viscosa (hop bush)

Echium candicans (Pride of Madeira)

Eleagnus ebbingei and E.pungens ‘Maculata’

Erica  (heath)

Escallonia macrantha

Feijoa (pineapple guava)

Hakea laurina (pincushion Hakea), H. sauveolens

Hamamelis (witchhazel)

Hebe spp. and cultivars

Hibiscus syriacus  (Rose of Sharon)

Hippophae rhamoides

Ilex aquifolium (holly)

Juniperus horizontalis

Kunzea ambigua

Leptospermum laevigatum (coast tea tree)

Leptospermum petersonii (lemon-scented tea-tree)

Leucophyta brownii (cushion bush)

Ligustrum (privet)

Lonicera nitida (honeysuckle)

Melaleuca fulgens, M. hypericifolia, M. laterita

Murraya exotica (mock orange)

Myrica pennsylvanica - bayberry

Myoporum insulare (boobialla)

Nerium oleander (oleander)

Olearia sp. (daisy bush)

Philadelphus coronaria (mock orange/sweet syringe)

Polygala sp.


Raphiolepis species and cultivars (Indian hawthorn)

Rhamnus (fernleaf buckthorn)

Rosa rugosa

Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary)

Salvia (many but not all species)



Vitex spp.

Westringia fruticosa (coastal Rosemary)

   Drought Tolerant Groundcovers/Small Shrubs and Perennials

Achillea (yarrow)

Agapanthus sp.

Alyssum (sweet Alice)

Arctostaphylos (bearberry)

Arctotis (aurora daisy)

Artemesia sp.

Baptisia (false Indigo)

Carprobrotus glaucescens (pig face)

Caryopteris - blue mist

Chysanthemum nipponicum, C. pacificum and C. superbum (Montauk, shasta and Pacific daisies)

Echinops  (globe thistle)

Eryngium maritimum (sea holly)

Gazania (Gazania)


Hemerocallis (day lily)

Hibiscus scandens (snake vine)

Iberis (candytuft)

Knifophia (red hot pokers)

Lantana montevidensis (lantana)

Lavandula sp. (lavender)

Lonicera caerulea var. edulis Honeysuckle

Mesembryanthemum sp. (pigface)

Myoporum acuminatum (boobialla)

Nepeta sp. (catmint)

Osteospermum cultivars (African daisy)


Pennisetum sp.

Phormium tenax (<st1:country-region>New Zealand</st1:country-region> flax)

Potentilla sp.

Ribes sp.0.5-1.5 meters

Santolina chamaecyparissus   (lavender Cotton)

Scaevola aemula

Sedum sp.

Stachys byzantina (lamb’s ears)


Vinca (periwinkle)

Hardy Climbers


Campsis (trumpet Vine)

Celastrus (bittersweet)

Clematis sp.

Ficus pumila (climbing fig)

Hedera helix (ivy)

Hibbertia scandens (<st1:country-region>Guinea</st1:country-region> gold vine)

Hydrangea petiolaris

Juniperus sp. 0.3-1 meters

Petrea volubilis (purple wreath)

Pyrostegia venusta (orange trumpet vine)

Solandra guttata (cup of gold)

Tecomanthe hillii

Lonicera (climbing honeysuckle)

Polygonum (fleece vine)

Spiraea spp.

Syringa vulgaris (lilac)

Wisteria sp.


Very Drought Tolerant Shrubs (Australian Natives)


Very large diverse genera with tall trees to small ground hugging    plants. All are very tolerant of very dry conditions.

Banksia ashbyi

Rounded shrub to 3 m high with long toothed leaves and large  
orange spikes. Needs very well drained soil at all times.

Banksia ericifolia

Rounded shrub to 5 m high with bright green linear leaves and long
cylindrical orange flowers. Hardy in a wide range of conditions
including dry soil.

Banksia marginata

Variable shrubs to 5 m with yellow cylindrical flower spikes. Very
hardy in a wide range of conditions including dry soil.

Banksia ornata

Rounded shrub to 2 m with 10 cm tall yellow-brown flower cone.
Well adapted to dry sites.

Callistemon viminalis

Variable shrub to small tree with many highly attractive cultivars.
Bright red-bottlebrush type flowers in early summer – autumn,
that make excellent cut-flowers. Adaptable as to soils, but some
forms may be susceptible to frost damage.

Calothamnus quadrifidus

Shrub to 2 m with narrow pine-like leaves and red bottlebrush-
type flowers. Tolerates medium-dry conditions.

Chamelaucium uncinatum

(Geraldton wax)

Highly attractive flowering plant in variable colours. Well suited
to dry soils and low air humidity.

Grevillea ‘Pink Pearl

Tolerates very dry soil.

Grevillea ‘Poorinda’ hybrids

Range of small to tall shrubs and groundcovers, most of which
tolerate medium-dry conditions.

Grevillea rosmarinifolia

Variable shrub to 2 m with narrow leaves and red spider flowers.
Several forms available including dwarf shrubs and
groundcovers. Very hardy in dry and cold conditions.

Hakea bucculenta

An erect, very ornamental shrub to 4 m tall by 2-3 m wide,
with linear leaves to 15 cm or more. Spikes of attractive
reddish-coloured flowers are borne on old wood in winter.

Hakea multilineata

A very ornamental, erect shrub to 5 m tall and 3 m wide. It often
requires staking when grown in an open position. It has
narrow, oblong leaves to 20 cm and attractive spikes to 20 cm
long of red, pink or white flowers in winter – spring. Hardy once
established in a sunny, well drained position.

Hakea petiolaris

An erect shrub to 5 m tall x 3 m wide, with grey-green elliptical
leaves to 10 cm long, and globe-shaped heads of dull red
flowers with brighter yellowish-coloured styles in autumn –

Jacksonia scoparia

Medium to tall shrub to 4 m with leafless pendulous
branches and yellow and red pea flowers. Very hardy in dry soil.

Lambertia <st1:country-region>Formosa</st1:country-region>

(mountain devil)

Erect bush plant to 2 m with red flowers. Will tolerate a wide range of dry soils.


Hardy and variable genera with white showy flowers in spring-

Melaleuca armillaris

Tall spreading shrub to 5 m with white bottlebrush flowers.
Tolerates very dry soil.

Melaleuca decussata

Medium shrub to 2 m with small mauve bottlebrush flowers.
Tolerates very dry soil.

Melaleuca hypericifolia

Medium to tall shrub to 5 m with rusty red bottlebrush-type
flowers. Tolerates very dry soil.



Medium sized shrubs that require excellent drainage; low humidity. Species come in a range of flower colours.


(grass tree)

These icons of the bush are excellent is a dry garden
without any supplementary irrigation. Can grow up to 6m but usually only 2-3 m tall.

Very Drought Tolerant Low Growing Shrubs (Australian Natives)


Variable group of natives with yellow puff-ball flowers - mostly scented. Tolerant of very dry conditions.


Kangaroo paws are well known to be perfect for dry and low humidity areas.

Atriplex nummularia (saltbush)

Erect shrub to 1.5 m with grey leaves. Very hardy in hot, arid conditions.

Calytrix tetragona

Variable shrub to 1 m with bright green narrow leaves and white or pink star flowers. Tolerates medium-dry conditions.

Cassia nemophila

Rounded shrub to 2 m with yellow flowers. Tolerates warm and very dry conditions.

Dryandra praemorsa

An attractive bushy, shrub to 2 m tall x 1 m wide, with showy, tooth-leaved foliage, and attractive heads of bright yellow flowers in spring. Needs a semi-shaded, well drained position. Probably the best Dryandra species for the eastern states.

Eremophila maculata

(emu bush)

Variable shrub to 2 m with yellow, pink or red spotted flowers. Very hardy in dry conditions.

Eriostemon myoporoides

Rounded shrub to 1-2 m with white star flowers. Hardy in a range of conditions including medium dry soil.

Grevillea juniperina

Rounded shrub to about 2 m; greenish-yellow or red flowers in early winter and spring; needs a sunny well drained site.

Grevillea lavandulacea

Small native with variable forms mostly with white of pink flowers; needs well drained location.

Leucophyta brownii

Small spreading shrub with silvery branches and leaves.

Leucopogon lanceolatus

Erect shrub to 2 m with sprays of white bearded flower. Tolerates dry soil but can be difficult to grow in the garden.

Westringia fruticosa (coastal rosemary)

Rounded shrub to 2 m with grey linear leaves and white flowers. Very hardy in a range of conditions including very dry soil.

Very Drought Tolerant Low Growing Ground Covers (Australian Natives)

Brachyscome multifida

Low growing plant with daisy flowers. Good for part sun to full sun sites in low rainfall areas.

Grevillea juniperina

Excellent ground cover form of this species likes dry well drained soils.

Grevillea thelemanniana

Variable group of Grevilleas from Western Australia that require full sun and well drained soils.

Grevillea curviloba

Spreading shrub/ground sprawler with white honey-scented flowers and sharp three-lobed leaves. Needs excellent drainage and low humidity.

G. gaudichandii x longifolia ‘Fanfare’

Highly ornamental hybrid with attractive foliage and flowers. Likes well drained soils and can tolerate medium rainfall.

Kunzea pomifera

Prostrate woody plant with feathery white flowers. Tolerates very dry conditions.

Myoporum parvifolium

Prostrate plant to low shrub with long trailing stems and white star flowers.

Tolerates very dry soil.

Helichrysum (Bracteanthum) ramosissimum

(Yellow Buttons) – semi-erect herbs with yellow globular flowers and greyish leaves. Prefers dry sites.

Very Drought Tolerant Climbers (Australian Natives)

Hardenbergia violacea

Growing as a groundcover or climber this plant produces deep mauve flowers or slight colour variations. Prefers full sun to part shade and tolerates low rainfall.

Pandorea jasminoides

Hardy climber growing well in part shade. Slow growing in very dry sites.

Sollya drummondii

Deep blue flowering slender climber adaptable to most soil conditions.


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