Choosing plants that will grow with little water, whether in natural settings or in the garden, is known as xeriscaping, or water-wise gardening. Due to the makeup of the soil in Florida, which tends to be loose, sandy and nutrient deficient, growing drought tolerant plants makes gardening a bit easier. Drought tolerant plants have become more popular in recent years, and are now available at most nurseries and garden centers.
Abelia 'Canyon Creek' (Abelia grandiflora)
Bell-shaped flowers cover Abelia beginning in early summer and lasting until the first frost of winter. Canyon Creek Abelia reaches 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide at maturity, and grows best in USDA zones 6 to 9. Abelia prefer full sun and any well-drained garden soil. The plant is drought tolerant in north and central Florida, but during long periods of drought, Abelia may need occasional watering.
Blue Mist Shrub (Caryopteris x clandonensis)
Blue mist shrub, also known as blue Spirea, is a deciduous shrub grown in USDA zones 6 to 9. An abundance of blue flowers set in late summer on shrubs that reach 3 feet tall and wide at maturity. Plant Blue mist shrubs in any good garden soil that is well draining and where the shrub will receive full sun to light shade. Blue mist shrub is drought tolerant in north and central Florida.
False Indigo (Baptisia x 'Carolina Moonlight')
False indigo is a perennial plant found throughout the state that grows to 3- to 4-feet tall with a spread of 2 to 3 feet. Blooms are yellow, appear in late spring, and resemble lupine in appearance. False indigo thrives in sunny, hot locations in USDA zones 4 to 9. It grows best in north and central Florida, where it is quite tolerant of drought conditions.
Indian Hawthorn Callisto 'Sodark' (Raphiolepis indica)
Indian hawthorn is often used by landscapers in commercial plantings. This little shrub offers interest throughout the year. Its leaves are dark green and remain on the plant throughout the winter. Indian hawthorn welcomes spring with a flush of fragrant, two-toned pink and white blooms. In the fall, black-purple berries adorn the shrub. Indian hawthorn grows to approximately 2 1/2 feet-tall and spreads 3- to 4-feet wide. This shrub grows best in USDA zones 7 to 10 where it prefers full sun and any well-drained soil. This is an extremely drought tolerant plant found throughout the state of Florida.
Rose 'Coral Drift ' (Rosa)
The name of this rose hints at its low sprawling growth habit of approximately 1 1/2 feet tall with a spread of up to 3 feet. Coral Drift roses are winter hardy, drought tolerant and all-around tough plants to fill any bare spot in the garden. This little rose grows best in USDA zones 5 to 10 in full to mostly sunny locations, and in any well-drained garden soil. This is an extremely drought tolerant plant and a good choice for the entire state of Florida.
Sage 'Wild Thing' (Salvia greggii)
Sage is a perennial that grows throughout the state of Florida. Wild Thing sage grows to 20 inches tall with a spread of up to 14 inches, and is loaded with hot pink flowers most of the growing season. Sage will grow in full to partial sun in any good garden soil that is well draining. It is drought resistant, but may need watering during extended dry spells.