5 Drought Resistant Plants for the Busy Gardener

With the heavy reminder of plant mortality surrounding our every outdoor experience we wanted to put together a guide of some great drought tolerant options. So ladies and gents, it’s officially time to turn that brown induced frown upside down and revive our precious yards!

One of the best ways to be a successful gardening champion MVP (too much or not enough? YOU ROCKSTAR YOU) is to know what plants are native to your area. By working drought-tolerant native plants into your garden you can help conserve even MORE water and help make your hard work even MORE productive.

Native plants are also more inviting to insects, birds, and animals, which help support local ecology. We all thrive best at home because home is where the heart is, where you get that perfect meal and the surroundings alone revive you. Plants are no different! These five fellows below are native to California and will be so happy to be home in your yard.

1. CHALK DUDLEYA / / This gorgeous succulent has another known name of “live forever” because this puppy is close to self-sufficient and thrives off of neglect. THAT’S RIGHT it’s an independent introvert that prefers to be left alone, especially in summertime when it is recommended that you do not water it at all due to dormancy. Fall and Winter rains reawaked the dudleya from it’s dormancy – plumping up it’s leaves and preparing it for growth and flowering during the following Spring and Summer.
2. CALIFORNIA POPPY / / An easy-going native perennial that can help add that POP of color to it’s fellow low maintenance garden neighbors. It is best to plant this golden beauty by seed early spring or Fall due to it’s preference for moist conditions at first. BUT don’t let that first impression fool you, they are drought friendly and very low water desiring once established. Plus, they are a symbol of the golden state and the phrase “WEST COAST, BEST COAST” ain’t there for nothing.
3. CALIFORNIA BUCKWHEAT / / Buckwheat brings A LOT to the table and earns it’s keep by taking care of the plants around it by it’s superpower of transferring nitrogen (which is vital to plant growth) from the air and into the soil. It also sprouts seeds that can be eaten raw, cooked and used as cereal grain, or made into a tasty gluten-free flour. Buckwheats are very important butterfly plants and look beautiful as their light pink flowers delicately bloom. If California Buckwheat were apart of a yearbook we’d like to think it’d be easily voted “Most Popular” due to the various ways it helps others.
4. LESTER ROWNTREE MANZANITA / / A breathtaking Manzanita with blue-green leaves, red-brown bark and dark pink flowers is perfect as a hedge for a dry garden or slope. This stunner looks great year round as it has no down season. The honey scented blossoms it produces attracts hummingbirds and bees which promote pollination. They are best in direct sunlight and recommend only the occasional shower to clean smog off of the leaves. Slow growing, long-lived and self-sufficient - it’s almost like everything you desire for your children but in a small tree instead. HIGH FIVE FELLOW MOMMAS.
5. CLEVELAND SAGE / / This perennial shrub grows up to 4 ft tall and wide. It seduces those commuting past, as well as hummingbirds and bees, with it’s fragrant gray foliage and lavender to blue flowers. Preferring sun, drainage and infrequent watering, this perennial is a great counterpart to your drought friendly garden that is also oh so easy on the eyes.

The drought may have brainwashed our current plants to strike and shout “HECK NO WE WON’T GROW” but now you have some options to use as water wise weapons in this battle of the dryland. Let’s band together on the front lines and FIGHT BACK so we can have our precious, lively, and thriving yards once more!

Amber Hawthorne
Amber Hawthorne


Amber Hawthorne is the founder and formulator of Bambu Earth, a natural handcrafted skincare line made in small batches based out of Southern California where Amber resides with her husband and children.

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