This easy-care, drought-tolerant annual is a sure source of perky color. Portulaca grows in low clusters, bloom in a rainbow of hues and thrive in the hot, sunny spots where other flowers might wither. The common name for Portulaca is Moss Rose.
Echinacea spp. • Zones 3 to 9
Often self-sowing, coneflowers need little upkeep, are drought-tolerant and thrive in almost any soil with adequate drainage.
Nepeta x faassenii • Zones 3 to 8
Perfect for borders, rock gardens and containers, this drought-tolerant plant’s aromatic flowers attract butterflies and bees. Catmint blooms from early summer to early fall, with plants that are 1 to 3 feet tall and wide.
Agastache • Zones 5 to 11
A bee’s delight, agastache grows 3 to 5 feet tall and sports purple or white flower spikes. It’s a good choice for the back of a border.
Lantana camara • annual to Zone 8
Abundant blooms make lantana a welcome addition to any sunny garden. Clusters of brightly colored blossoms adorn this plant, which grows 3 to 6 feet tall and wide. With a mounding or trailing habit, it’s a good choice for a container.
Salvia splendens • grown as an annual
A true attention-getter, this tall drought-tolerant flower produces season-long color in just about any landscape. Its vibrantly colored columns range from 8 to 30 inches tall. These summer to fall bloomers are also striking when confined to containers.
Lavandula • Zones 5 to 10
It’s no wonder lavender tolerates drought, since the fragrant plant is native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The mounding plants make attractive specimens or borders
Perovskia atriplicifolia • Zones 4 to 9
With 2- to 5-foot stems in shades of purplish blue, Russian sage is a real garden trouper: It tolerates cold, drought and poor soil. As long as you grow it in a sunny spot, it won’t disappoint.
Eschscholzia californica • grown as an annual
If your yard isn’t the most fertile, look no further than California poppies. They grow best in full sun but don’t mind poor soil a bit.
Artemisia spp. • Zones 3 to 8
Reliable artemisia is valued for its beautiful, slender gray to silver leaves on tall, arching stems or in low mounds, which range from 1 to 5 feet high and wide. These plants are tough and trouble-free
Golden spines cover this slow-growing native Mexican cactus that reaches 4 feet tall and 2½ feet wide. Small yellow flowers top the plant in summer. Sunset climate zones 12–24.
Sedum spathulifolium‘Cape Blanco’
Tiny blue-green leaves form tight rosettes on trailing stems. This low grower from California makes a great groundcover. Zones 2–9 and 14–24.
Lavandula multifida (Lavender)
Felty silver foliage covers these Mediterranean shrubs reaching 3 feet wide and half as tall. Thin stems topped with violet blooms appear from spring into fall. Zones 16–24.
Purple-blue flower spikes rise above aromatic gray-green foliage in early summer. This sage, from Southern California and northern Baja, grows 3 to 5 feet tall, and 5 to 8 feet wide.Zones 8, 9, and 12–24.
Lewisia cotyledon 'Sunset Strain'
This bloomer, from California and Oregon, has evergreen foliage and reaches a foot high and 10 inches wide. It’s great in rock gardens, but needs excellent drainage. Zones 1–7 and 14–17.