Outdoor Xeriscape Plants

As many areas face drought, gardeners are presented with the problem of adjusting their gardening methods. Xeriscape is a style of landscape design that utilizes native and drought-tolerant plants in conjunction with careful planning to create a garden that needs less water. All of these plants will be drought-tolerant after a period of regular watering to establish the roots.

Amur Maple

Plant an Amur maple (Acer ginnala) for a beautiful fall show when the leaves turn red. These trees grow best in USDA zones 3 to 8, reaching a height of 20 to 30 feet at maturity.

Blue Flax

For a perennial plant that will re-seed easily in USDA zones 5 to 9, plant blue flax (Linum perenne). The plant is covered with small blue or white flowers throughout summer.

Blue Grama Grass

Blue grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis) is a warm season prairie grass that needs little water after the establishment period. It works well planted together with buffalo grass.


The Shepherdia genus can be grown in harsh conditions like cold and drought. The berries can be made into jams, jellies and condiments. They contain saponins, which produce foam in water and are used in soaps.

Buffalo Grass

Plant buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides) in USDA zones 3 to 11 for a lawn that is very drought-tolerant and needs little mowing.

Colorado Spruce

The Colorado spruce (Picea pungens) serves as a focal point in the garden with its distinctive blue-green needles. Plant these evergreens in USDA zones 4 to 7.


Members of the Juniper species (Juniperus) are evergreen trees and shrubs that perform well in xeriscape gardens.


A welcome addition to any xeriscape garden in USDA zones 3 to 7 is the common lilac (Syringa vulgaris), which produces fragrant clusters of white, pink or purple blossoms.

Russian Sage

Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) plants thrive in USDA zones 4 to 9. Bees are drawn to the tiny purple flowers that appear amidst the silver leaves.

Shrubby Cinquefoil

Cheery yellow flowers dot the shrubby cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa), a short shrub that is suitable for USDA zones 2 to 7.

Siberian Peashrub

Siberian peashrubs (Caragana arborescens) are hardy from USDA zones 2 to 7. The shrub produces yellow flowers and pea-like fruit. They can reach up to 18 feet when fully grown.

Sunset Hyssop

Gardeners in USDA zones 5 to 9 should consider planting the sunset hyssop (Agastache rupestris) in a xeriscape garden. In addition to being drought-tolerant, it has a sweet smell and attracts hummingbirds.

Keywords: xeriscape plants, native plants, drought tolerant plants

About this Author

Marie Notnats enjoys learning about new topics and teaching people new skills. She has been writing professionally since 2008. She is a professional horticulturist with a Bachelor of Science degree in horticulture from Brigham Young University. She writes for About.com, Examiner.com, eHow, and assorted gardening blogs.