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Good Plants for Hot Sunny Dry Gardens

By Angie Mohr ; Updated September 21, 2017

Hot, sunny, dry gardens can pose a challenge to the home gardener. The lack of natural water and the intensity of the sun can damage delicate plants. Fortunately, many flowers, shrubs and grasses that grow well in this type of environment.


The bright, cheery colors of portulaca flowers and the plant's tolerance of heat and dry conditions makes this one of the most favored flowers in the Southwest. Portulaca are easy to grow from seed or can be purchased in cells from garden stores. They are a short-lived perennial and should be replaced every 2-3 years. Their compact growth habit makes them perfect candidates for border plantings or container gardens.

California Poppy

California poppies are a perennial flower when conditions remain above 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and a self-sowing annual if winter temperatures dip below that. They grow wild in the Southwest but many new varieties are available from garden stores. California poppies grow best from seed as they do not like transplantation. Once a bed is established, they will continue to seed themselves even in the hottest and driest conditions.

Trumpet Vine

Trumpet vine is a great choice for dry hot gardens as it has a deep root system that finds its own ground water. The vines can grow 30 feet or more, and are often seen climbing trees. They can be considered invasive as the vigorous vine reproduces itself quickly but would do well in semi-wild area.

Feather Grass

Feather grass is a drought-tolerant decorative grass that fits well with any southwestern garden. Its flowering ends look like clouds or fog and they provide a good contrast to heavier plants. Feather grass will self-seed and can become a nuisance if not culled periodically.


About the Author


Angie Mohr is a syndicated finance columnist who has been writing professionally since 1987. She is the author of the bestselling "Numbers 101 for Small Business" books and "Piggy Banks to Paychecks: Helping Kids Understand the Value of a Dollar." She is a chartered accountant, certified management accountant and certified public accountant with a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Wilfrid Laurier University.