5 Flowering Garden Plants That Scoff at Drought

By Ramon Gonzalez, TreeHugger

I have mentioned before, in the post on converting lawns to gardens, that my garden survives on rainfall. The only time I supplement watering is when I am trying to establish a new plant. Annuals, perennials, spring-blooming, and fall-blooming bulbs all get the same treatment. If they cannot live on rainfall, they cannot grow in my garden.

Most years this is not a problem, but this year’s drought really tested the toughest of plants in my garden. These five plants performed particularly well, and they seemed to scoff at the drought while other plants around them wilted.


1. Rudbeckia — above

The Rudbeckia genus is perfectly suited for drought-tolerant garden plantings and is commonly available at garden centers. Black-eyed Susan, R. hirta, is so frequently used in landscaping projects that a lot of home gardeners may turn their noses up at them, but give them a shot too.

2. Celosia

Cockscomb’s crested form makes it my favorite in this genus, but the feather/flame-shaped blooms are just as drought tolerant.

Photo Credit: Digigalos (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

3. Coneflower

There are a lot of coneflower cultivars available, but none of them seem to hold up as well to drought in my garden as the common purple coneflower.

4. Nicotiana

Several species of Nicotiana are grown as ornamental plants, and their sweet-smelling flowers will have you walking through the garden in the evening to inhale their wonderful aroma.

Photo Credit: Swaminathan from Gurgaon, India (Flowers in the WildUploaded by Epibase) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

5. Zinnia

There are lots of cultivars available for the garden, ranging in color, height and flower size. For my money, there is no other annual that is able to withstand the heat and drought and still produce beautiful blooms.

What plants endured in your garden this year despite the dry weather? Did the drought make you consider replacing your lawn?

Check out our slideshow on summer-blooming bulbs you can plant this fall, plus 10 Gardens Prettier Than a Lawn for some lawn-to-garden transformations, and tips for a drought-tolerant veggie garden.



5 Tips For a Water-Saving Veggie Garden
4 Simple Ways To Help Hummingbirds
3 Houseplants for Water Conservationists

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Sonia Minwer-Barakat Requ

Good to know,thanks for sharing

Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla2 years ago

Good info, thanks, sharing.

Jennie C.
Jennie C.2 years ago

The TickleMe Plant does flower but kids are growing these at home because the TickleMe Plant is more like a pet then a plant! The leaves fold and the branches droop when you Tickle It!
See video..if you need a fun gift

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson3 years ago

we have two of these here at our house. pretty. thanks

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener3 years ago

Thanks for this handy list!

Elizabeth M.
Elizabeth M.3 years ago

Thank You for these Lovely flowers that I will remember to plant next year, as I have cut down on watering...I was surprised about nicotinia. Now going to read about the 15 drought resistant prennials!

Marie W.
Marie W.3 years ago

Gonna need these.

Debrah Roemisch
Debrah Roemisch3 years ago

I will have to try the celosia--interesting looking flowers. I would add butterfly bush--ours has done really well this summer though the flowers are smaller than usual, but we have lots of bees and butterflies which is good! And they flower for months and smell wonderful!

Kerin Worth
Kerin Worth3 years ago

thank you! I am always looking for pretty flowering plants that will hold up in the warmer temps

Linda Vega
Linda Vega3 years ago