11 Xeriscape Low Water Plants

One of this year’s biggest housing trends is sustainability, and few things are more sustainable than a drought-tolerant, low-water landscape. Xeriscape, the landscaping practice of reducing or eliminating the need for irrigation, is a growing trend in exterior design. The virtual home design experts at brick&batten can show you new ways to increase  your curb appeal. To give your landscape some color without (very much) water, we’ve put together this list of 11 plants that look great and require very little water.

Although we are not landscape experts, we do know color and home design. The team at brick&batten can design a lively exterior for your home perfectly suited to your region and style preferences. Simply send us photos of your home and tell us a little bit about your goals and preferences, and our virtual design service delivers a custom-made rendering and shopping list for a tailor-made plan that works for you. 

11 Xeriscape Low Water Plants

Courtesy Gardenia.net

#1 Recreate the Desert with Yucca

Yucca is a signature icon of Southwestern desert climates, but this drought-tolerant plant can thrive in dry, sunny landscapes. Yucca grows best in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 11 and comes in many varieties, like the Spanish Dagger (Yucca aloifolia). Its spiky leaves and tall flowering stalk bring visual interest and height to many landscape designs.


Courtesy Jacqueline Hardy

#2 Add Sweeping Color with Ice Plants

Despite the name, ice plants (delosperma) are not cold-weather plants. At brick&batten, we love the dramatic, punchy purple color these drought-tolerant evergreens bring to flower beds. The plant’s succulent-like leaves shimmer in the sun, as if they were covered in ice. Ice plants grow best in hardiness zones 5–9 and crave very dry soil.


#3 Jump Into Juniper

For low, bushy ground cover, consider adding juniper to your flower beds. This evergreen comes in many varieties, but the Blue Star (Juniperus squamata) variety is a dwarf shrub that produces dense, bluish-green foliage perfect for ground cover. This variety is great for xeriscape designs, as it thrives in rock or gravel gardens and compact spaces.


Courtesy Robert Lyle Bolton via Flickr

#4 See What the Buzz is All About with Russian Sage

The bees won’t be the only ones smelling the flowers. Russian sage is a fragrant, drought-tolerant plant that produces clusters of pale purple flowers. The aromatic plant tends to sprawl and thrives in slightly shaded areas, so it makes a great ground cover plant near exterior walls. Its flowers bloom from early spring to late summer, giving you months of color.


Courtesy Costa Farms

#5 Say It With Sedum

Give your landscaping visual texture with sprawling sedum. This incredibly low-maintenance plant requires little water and prefers high-sun, low-moisture areas with plenty of drainage. Their succulent-like leaves can be broad and flat or spiky, like the bright green Angelina sedum. Sedum flowers even attract butterflies as they bloom throughout the late summer and early fall. Who wouldn’t want that?


Courtesy Pikist

#6 Embrace Blooming Bougainvillea

If you crave versatility, look no further than the bougainvillea. This bright showstopper thrives in warm, sunny climates in hardiness zones 9–11. Bougainvillea can be grown as a low ground cover; it can climb up walls, trellises and arbors; or it can thrive in well placed containers. Once established, this drought-tolerant plant can grow up to 20 or 30 feet tall. Although its flowers are small and white, its eye-catching color comes from brightly colored bracts, or leaves, in vibrant magenta, purple and pink.


#7 Line Up the Lavender

Give yourself a spa day without ever leaving the house. Lavender is known for its soothing aroma and relaxing properties — and it makes a great drought-tolerant addition to your yard. This low-maintenance shrub also has many culinary uses. Native to the Mediterranean, lavender grows best in dry, sandy climates with little water, making it an ideal xeriscape plant. Lavender is definitely one of our favorite xeriscape low water plants.


#8 Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to

Even though sweet potato vines don’t produce actual potatoes, they make a colorful addition to any landscape. Sweet potato vines (Ipomoea batatas) are warm season annuals that sprout tendrils in bright chartreuse and deep purple. The plant’s vining nature makes it a great addition to containers, planters and window boxes, where its full leaves spill over the edge for a lush, tropical feeling.


#9 Love Your Landscape, Worts and All

The edible and aromatic herbs mugwort, wormwood and tarragon are all members of the artemisia species. Beyond the kitchen, artemisia is a popular addition to landscape designs because of its subtle beauty and drought tolerance. This species works well in mixed borders with ornamental grasses and low-lying succulents. Mugwort and wormwood are fast-growing in certain climates, so be sure to stay on top of pruning for a tidy look.


#10 Feel the Foliage with Lambs Ear

For foliage that you can touch, consider adding lambs ear (Stachys byzantina) to your landscape. The design experts at brick&batten know that this fast spreading, low-maintenance perennial adds fantastic texture and sumptuous sage green color to flower beds and border walls. This Middle Eastern plant thrives in full sun with dry, well draining soil, and it does exceptionally well in rock gardens and xeriscape landscapes.

#11 Plant Your Own Prairie

Bring vibrant color to your landscape with coreopsis. These rugged plants are also called tickseed and are native to the United States prairies. Their bright daisy-like flowers grow best in sandy, well-draining soil, and with over 33 species of coreopsis, you’re sure to find a variety that will thrive in your yard.

Whether you want to replicate the spiky succulents of the desert or you crave a flower-filled cottage look, drought-tolerant plants bring color and variety to xeriscaped yards. At brick&batten, our experts can create a custom exterior design with a perfect color palette, giving your home irresistible curb appeal.