Plants that need little water and are full sun plants are great for xeriscaped property and other desert gardens. Drought tolerant plants can go 2 to 3 months between rain without harm. For the hardiest water reserving plants, there are several to choose from.
Purple heart, or Tradescantia pallida, is from the Commelinaceae, or spiderwort, family. It is an easy-to-grow perennial with leaves that grow 3 to 5 inches long in various colors. Flowers are three petaled and pink, under 1 inch, and on double bracts. Plant a purple heart plant in full sun in dry soils. Propagate via stem cuttings in sandy soils.
Orange cosmos, or Cosmos sulphureus, is from the Asteraceae/Compositae, or aster/daisy, family. It is a fast-growing annual that attracts butterflies. It can get 1 to 7 feet tall with yellow or orange flowers 2 to 3 inches wide. Plant the orange cosmos in well-drained sandy soils in bright full sunlight; it is highly drought tolerant. Propagate via seed in fall or spring.
Blanket flower, or Gaillardia pulchella, is from the Asteraceae/Compositae, or aster/daisy, family. It will get 14 to 24 inches high with 2- to 3-inch wide flowers in yellow, orange, copper, scarlet or crimson. The blooms also attract butterflies. Plant blanket flower in hot sunny areas in well-drained soil. Propagate via seed or by root cuttings on some cultivars.
Globe amaranth, or Gomphrena globosa, is from the Amaranthaceae, or amaranth, family. It is an annual that will attract butterflies to the garden. This will get 1 to 2 feet tall with 4- to 6-inch long leaves. Flowers are 1.5 inches long on spikes. Plant a globe amaranth flower in full sun. Propagate via seed in spring.
Moss Rose, or Portulaca grandiflora, is from the Portulacaceae, or purslane, family. It is a drought resistant annual that will get 6 inches tall and 12 inches wide. Cylindrical leaves are an inch long with flowers 1 inch wide. Flower colors are pink, white, yellow, red, and orange and rose like in appearance. Plant a moss rose plant in poor well drained soil in full sun. Propagate via seed.
Zinnia, or Zinnia elegans, is from the Asteraceae/Compositae, or aster/daisy, family. This sun-lover is an annual that attracts both hummingbirds and butterflies. It will grow 30 inches high with 2-inch wide daisy-like flowers in different colors. Plant a zinnia in well-drained soil in full sun. Propagate via seed in the spring after the last frost of the season.