Drought-Tolerant Plants for Your Yard

Living in the desert doesn’t mean you have to give up on the idea of having plants in your yard. After all, the desert itself is full of native plants that thrive in harsh, low-water-high-sun conditions. But which drought-tolerant plants are best for your yard? Here are some popular, easy-to-maintain options that are great for those who are trying to conserve water.


Agave is a very sturdy succulent and has no problem surviving in the desert heat. They come in many different varieties, so you’re sure to be able to find something that will work for your yard.

Palo Verde

As the state tree of Arizona, you can bet that Palo Verde trees are well adapted to desert climates. With unique green bark and plentiful yellow blossoms, this is one low-water tree that does well in even the driest weather.

Desert Marigold

This cheery yellow flower may seem out of place in the desert, but it is actually native to the southwestern United States and does quite well in the heat. Its flowers bloom from late winter to early summer, making it a sure sign of spring in the desert.

Golden Barrel Cactus

If you are partial to a cactus aesthetic, you should definitely consider incorporating the golden barrel cactus into your landscape. Short, slow growing, and low-maintenance, these drought-friendly cacti bloom in the spring.

Texas Sage

Looking to add some color to your landscape? Look no further than Texas sage. Along with its pale green leaves, this shrub produces purple, pink, or white flowers and requires little-to-no supplemental watering.

Baja Fairy Duster

This bush produces unique looking, bright red flowers that are a favorite of hummingbirds. While the flowers may look delicate, the bush is anything but, and it can withstand desert conditions easily.

Red Yucca

A sun-loving plant that also does well in partial shade, the red yucca produces tall spikes of red or pink flowers that offer bursts of color to any desert landscape. 

Desert Mallow

For southwestern flair with a lot of color, it’s hard to beat the desert mallow. Its bright red blooms flower in the spring and add a little brightness to your yard.

Desert Willow

This can be planted as a small tree or large shrub, making it a very versatile, drought-tolerant option. Pink or purple flowers bloom in the spring, making it a way to add a lot of beauty to your yard with minimal effort.

Related: How to Determine the Best Lawn Type for Your Yard

When these plants are planted properly (in the right soil and with good sun exposure), they will require very little maintenance or additional watering once they are established. Talk to a local nursery expert to make sure you choose the right plants for specific spots in your yard, and to get any tips on care for that specific plant. In no time at all, you’ll be enjoying healthy, thriving plants, right in the heart of the desert. 

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