Plants that grow in the wild where you garden are called native plants. They are best suited for local climate and terrain conditions. Specialty nurseries and garden centers often carry plants native to the local area. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center of the University of Texas maintains a database of native wildflowers for all areas of the United States. They state that native plants are important in xeriscaping because "They help conserve water, reduce mowing costs, provide habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife, protect the soil and save money on fertilizer and pesticide." There are many drought-tolerant flowering plants available.
Evening Primrose and Hummingbird Sage
Evening primrose is an herbaceous perennial that spreads easily by reseeding. It grows 1 ½ to 2 feet in height but lies flat on the ground. The flowers are 2 inches in size, pink, fragrant and they bloom spring through fall. This plant needs only occasional water and does very well in rock gardens or as a border to taller plants.
Hummingbird sage is frost tolerant as well as drought tolerant. It flowers March to May with dark rose-lilac colored blooms that have a fruity scent. Its mature height is 2 feet tall, with a 2-foot-wide spread. This is a salvia species and the blooms have the characteristic spike shape of many salvia flowers.
Desert Mallow and White Bark California Lilac
Clusters of coral flowers bloom in spring to fall on this drought-tolerant plant. Desert mallow is a hardy evergreen perennial that prefers dry winters. It benefits from pruning after blooming and grows to 3 feet in height.
Flowers on the white bark California lilac are sky blue in the spring. It is a tall evergreen shrub, native of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, that reaches a height and width of 8 feet. It has an extensive root system that is beneficial for soil stabilization. The flowers bloom in the familiar shape of lilac clusters.
Desert Willow and Purple Sage
Desert willow is another tall, deciduous shrub that grows to a height of 15 feet. Its flowers are fragrant, trumpet-shaped and pink. It attracts hummingbirds and blooms in the spring, dropping its seed pods in winter. Desert Willow can be pruned to keep it shapely.
Purple sage is an evergreen shrub that blooms in late spring with light purple, spiked plumes of flowers. It has fuzzy white-green leaves. Purple sage prefers direct sun and no water once it has become established in the garden. It attracts many types of butterflies.