Top 8 Drought Tolerant Shrubs for Low-Maintenance Landscaping

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If you live in a place where the weather is extremely hot and droughts are a common occurrence, then you know all about the challenges of growing anything in your garden. Still, this doesn’t mean that you should give up the idea of having a lovely garden. It only means that you should reconsider the plants that you grow there. For instance, a great option for people who live in hot climates are drought tolerant shrubs. They don’t only do great despite the scorching heat, but also look amazing and can spruce up the look of any garden. Which is why we designed a list of 8 drought tolerant shrubs that you should consider planting.

Top 8 Drought Tolerant Shrubs to Keep in Mind

1. Flowering Quince

This drought tolerant shrub blooms in late winter and delights us with its gorgeous flowers up until late spring. Depending on the variety that you decide to go with, the flowers can be white (Jet Trail) or red (Texas Scarlet). While the flowers do make for a spectacular landscape, the real appeal of this shrub is the fact that it keeps its foliage no matter the weather conditions. The foliage starts to take shape after the flowers fade away in late spring. Moreover, even the branches in themselves have a red or gold shade to them, making for an eye-catching view.

red flowering quince blooms

If you get extremely hot weather in the summer, and then plenty of rain in the fall, the chances of this shrub reblooming are quite high. Even if in excessive temperatures, the foliage might drop, the fall weather will take care of the growth of new leaves. Moreover, this won’t stop the shrub from blooming as beautifully as ever during the next growing season.

2. Heavenly Bamboo

If you’re looking for drought tolerant shrubs that look great all year round, then you’re going to like the heavenly bamboo. Its reddish foliage that you would normally only see on other plants in fall provides any garden or backyard with a touch of color. As if the foliage wasn’t enough, this shrub also blooms and produces berries. The flowers are white and they bloom in spring, providing a lovely contrast against the red foliage. In winter, the flowers make room for the berries, which are bright red.

heavenly bamboo shrub foliage

When it comes to drought resistance, the heavenly bamboo is perhaps one of the most impressive shrubs on today’s list. Even under extremely hot and dry weather conditions, it grows as nicely as ever, without requiring water. Droughts don’t cause the shrub to lose its vigor or the foliage to have a less intense color.

3. Chaste Tree

One of the main attractions of this drought tolerant shrub is its flowers. They bloom in summer, they’re cone-shaped, fragrant, and they come in multiple colors. Regardless of whether you choose a chaste tree variety that has purple, white, pink, or dark blue flowers, you can be sure that it will be one of the stars of your garden in summer. If what you want are versatile drought tolerant shrubs, you’ll be happy to know that the chaste tree can be grown either as a large shrub or as a small tree. Another lovely added benefit is the fact that hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to it. This means they’ll be visiting your garden more often.

purple chaste tree flowers

What’s interesting to notice about the chaste tree is the fact that even if it’s a drought tolerant shrub that many people living in warm and dry climates choose to plant, it has no problems growing when it rains a lot either. Moreover, people who live in places where the weather is cooler can also grow this shrub variety as a dieback shrub.

4. American Beautyberry

The name of this drought tolerant shrub gives away most of what makes it so appealing. If you’re interested not only in drought tolerant shrubs, but also in shrubs that grow beautiful berries, then this is definitely the right choice for you. The berries are quite small and they grow in clusters, covering a large percentage of the stem. The most interesting thing about them is their color, which is an intense lavender-purple. Moreover, they decorate the shrub even in fall.

American beautyberry berries

When it comes to the branches and leaves, the shrub is bare in winter. In spring, it forms leaves that are bright green, while in late summer, it grows pink blooms. While the American beautyberry doesn’t stand dry and hot weather as well as other drought tolerant shrubs, it’s appearance more than makes up for it. If the weather becomes extremely hot, the shrub will wilt and perhaps even lose its foliage. However, this shouldn’t concern you that much. If you provide it with some water, it will quickly go back to normal.

5. Pink Fairy Duster

Another shrub whose name alludes to the uniqueness of its blooms, the pink fairy duster is a real treat for the eyes. Not only does it have an airy foliage that is quite spectacular by itself, but it also grows pink blooms that look exactly like feather dusters, providing the shrub with a fairytale look. These flowers don’t only attract people, but also hummingbirds.

pink fairy duster blooms

The shrub develops pretty well under drought conditions. Even so, if you want it to thrive, we advise you to make sure it gets water at least once a month in fall and spring, and twice each month during the summer. Ensuring that your shrub has plenty of water increases the number of flowers that it will grow and the way they’ll look as well.

6. Little-Leaf Cordia

If you’re looking for more neutral drought tolerant shrubs, you might want to consider the little-leaf cordia one. It’s perfect for gardens that are full of color. That’s because it balances things out with its dark green foliage and white flowers. Another lovely contrast is provided by the fact that the shrub is quite large, while its flowers are extremely small and delicate.

little leaf cordia shrub

If the flowers are delicate, that doesn’t mean that the shrub itself is as well. On the contrary, it can stand extreme heat and direct sun for long periods of time. It also develops nicely even when it lacks water. This explains why many people looking for drought tolerant shrubs choose to plant it in their garden. All in all, the little-leaf cordia shrub reaches the perfect balance between low-maintenance and an attractive look. It indeed has the best of both worlds.

7. Yellow Bird-of-Paradise

Yet another drought tolerant shrub that makes a statement, the yellow bird-of-paradise captures everyone’s attention with its huge yellow flowers that come with red stamens. A rather unique characteristic of this shrub variety is the fact that its foliage is textured but in a really delicate way. In fact, it resembles lace, which is definitely something not everyone can say they have in their garden.

yellow bird of paradise flowers

We should also mention that the yellow bird-of-paradise doesn’t only stand temperatures of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but also ones of minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the perfect choice for almost anyone. Just remember that this shrub is toxic, so be careful not to accidentally ingest any part of it.

8. Natal Plum

Finally, the last type of shrub we want to discuss today is called natal plum and it’s a medium drought-tolerant shrub. It looks a lot like boxwood, successfully replacing it in places where the boxwood can’t grow due to hot and dry weather. The first thing that draws our attention when looking at this shrub is its dark green foliage. Then, the white flowers that are shaped like tiny stars make it even more attractive. Especially due to the fact that they smell like orange blossom and jasmine.

natal plum fruits

As if this wasn’t enough, the natal plum also grows fruits which you can safely eat. While this shrub has no problems growing under drought conditions if the weather becomes too cold and the ground freezes, they might suffer from frost damage. Finally, unlike most drought tolerant shrubs, this one has thorns that can cause some damage. Moreover, its sap can cause irritations on the skin, so be very careful when you handle it.

Summing It All Up

People who live in places where droughts are a common occurrence are less lucky when it comes to growing plants in their garden than people who enjoy plenty of rain where they live. If you’re part of the former category, and this has discouraged you from trying to plant anything in your garden or backyard, then you should put your worries aside and give gardening another chance.

The first step in doing so is planting some drought tolerant shrubs. Since they develop nicely even without rain, they’re naturally low-maintenance. This means that even people who don’t have any gardening experience can grow them. Moreover, as we hope we’ve managed to show with today’s top 8 heat-tolerant shrubs, they’re also gorgeous. From their foliage to their blooms, even to their fruits, drought tolerant shrubs are a must-have for anyone living in hot and dry places.

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