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12 perennials for hot and dry climates

Updated: Jun 11, 2023

Even though I live in a country where it rains 250 days a year, I know it can be a real challenge to keep your plants thriving in hot and dry climates with sweltering temperatures and scarce rainfall. I also know that the payoff of a beautiful, thriving garden is worth any struggle.


To make your gardening journey a little easier, all you need to do is pick the right plants.


These are the ones tough enough to handle the heat without needing a ton of water. That way, you can enjoy your beautiful garden without constantly stressing about keeping it alive.



Keep scrolling to see which perennial flowers and plants made the cut.


Challenges of gardening in hot, arid conditions


Gardening in a hot and dry climate can feel like a real test of endurance. With blazing temperatures and dry air, it's a wonder anything survives. But don't worry, with the right strategy, you can turn any brown, desolate wasteland into a thriving oasis of vibrant color.


So what are the challenges in a hot and dry climate? Well, water is a precious commodity in these regions, and plants have to fight to get their fair share.


The soil can also be alkaline, which is a problem for some plants. And let's not forget the brutal sun, which can fry the leaves and leave your plants looking like origami gone wrong. But with the right know-how and a little TLC, you can overcome these obstacles and create a beautiful, thriving garden. So let's get to it.



12 perennials that are well-suited to hot and dry conditions


Coneflower (Echinacea)


Why it’s great in hot, dry climates: Coneflowers are drought-tolerant and can handle high temperatures. They also attract pollinators, making your arid garden a place of life, buzzing with bees and butterflies.


Height: 60-90 cm (24-36 inches)

Spread: 45-60 cm (18-24 inches)

Soil Type: Well-drained


Salvia (Sage)


Why it’s great in hot, dry climates: Salvia is a tough and resilient plant that can handle high temperatures and low humidity. They also bloom in shades of blue, purple, and red, adding color to your garden even during hot and dry weather.


Height: 30-100 cm (12-40 inches)

Spread: 30-100 cm (12-40 inches)

Soil Type: Well-drained


Yarrow (Achillea)


Why it’s great in hot, dry climates: Yarrow is a low-maintenance plant that can handle hot and dry conditions. They bloom in shades of yellow, pink, and red and are great for attracting pollinators.


Height: 30-100 cm (12-40 inches)

Spread: 30-60 cm (12-24 inches)

Soil Type: Well-drained


Agastache (Anise Hyssop)


Why it’s great in hot, dry climates: Agastache is a drought-tolerant plant that’s easy to care for. They bloom in shades of blue, purple, and pink and attract all types of pollinators, too.


Height: 60-90 cm (24-36 inches)

Spread: 60-90 cm (24-36 inches)

Soil Type: Well-drained


Sedum (Stonecrop)


Why it’s great in hot, dry climates: Sedum is a low-maintenance plant that’s perfect for hot and dry climates. They’re great for filling in areas with poor soil and can handle harsh sun exposure.


Height: 10-30 cm (4-12 inches)

Spread: 30-60 cm (12-24 inches)

Soil Type: Well-drained


Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)


Why it’s great in hot, dry climates: Blanket Flower is a drought-tolerant plant that is easy to care for. They bloom in vibrant shades of red, yellow, and orange and are great for attracting pollinators.


Height: 30-60 cm (12-24 inches)

Spread: 30-60 cm (12-24 inches)

Soil Type: Well-drained


Lavender (Lavandula)


Why it’s great in hot, dry climates: Lavender is a low-maintenance plant that can handle hot and dry conditions. It is drought-tolerant and produces fragrant flowers that are great for attracting pollinators and repelling pests.


Height: 30-60 cm (12-24 inches)

Spread: 30-60 cm (12-24 inches)

Soil Type: Well-drained


Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)


Why it’s great in hot, dry climates: Rosemary is a drought-tolerant plant that is easy to care for. It produces fragrant leaves that are great for cooking and can be used as a ground cover in hot and dry gardens.


Height: 60-90 cm (24-36 inches)

Spread: 60-90 cm (24-36 inches)

Soil Type: Well-drained


Rock Rose (Cistus)


Why it’s great in hot, dry climates: Rock Rose is a drought-tolerant plant that is easy to care for. It produces fragrant flowers that bloom in shades of pink, yellow, and orange and is great for attracting pollinators.


Height: 30-60 cm (12-24 inches)

Spread: 30-60 cm (12-24 inches)

Soil Type: Well-drained


Chrysanthemum


Why it’s great in hot, dry climates: Shasta Daisy is a drought-tolerant plant that is easy to care for. It produces white flowers with yellow centers that bloom from summer to fall and is great for attracting pollinators.


Height: 30-60 cm (12-24 inches)

Spread: 30-60 cm (12-24 inches)

Soil Type: Well-drained


Artemesia (Mugwort)


Why it’s great in hot, dry climates: Artemesia is a drought-tolerant plant that is easy to care for. It produces silvery-green leaves that are great for adding texture to hot and dry gardens.


Height: 30-60 cm (12-24 inches)

Spread: 30-60 cm (12-24 inches)

Soil Type: Well-drained


Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)


Why it’s great in hot, dry climates: Russian Sage is a drought-tolerant plant that is easy to care for. It produces purple flowers that bloom from summer to fall and is great for attracting pollinators.


Height: 60-90 cm (24-36 inches)

Spread: 60-90 cm (24-36 inches)

Soil Type: Well-drained


How to plant and care for perennials in dry, hot climates

  1. Choose well-drained soil. When planting perennials in hot and dry climates, it is important to choose well-drained soil. The soil should not retain water, which can lead to root rot.

  2. Choose the right location. Place perennials in an area that receives full sun exposure. They need the sun to thrive, but also make sure they are not in an area that is too exposed to the harsh sun, which can cause damage to the plant.

  3. Mulch. Mulch is important for retaining moisture in the soil. A layer of mulch around the base of the plant will also help to regulate soil temperature and prevent weeds from growing.

  4. Water regularly. Although perennials are drought-tolerant, they still need water to survive. Water regularly, especially during the hot summer months. Make sure to water deeply, so that the roots receive enough moisture. Be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot.

  5. Prune regularly. Pruning perennials regularly will help to maintain their shape and encourage new growth. Pruning also helps to prevent the plant from becoming leggy and helps to keep it compact.

  6. Fertilize. Fertilizing perennials regularly will help to keep them healthy and encourage new growth. Choose a balanced fertilizer* and follow the instructions on the label for the best results.

  7. Protect from pests. Pests can be a problem in hot and dry climates. To protect your perennials, make sure to keep them healthy by providing proper care. You can also use insecticidal soap or neem oil* to control pests.


*What does ‘balanced fertilizer’ mean?

A balanced fertilizer contains the three essential nutrients that plants need to grow: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K).


These are macronutrients and are represented by a series of three numbers on the fertilizer label, such as 10-10-10. The first number represents the amount of nitrogen, the second number represents the amount of phosphorus, and the third number represents the amount of potassium.


A balanced fertilizer has equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, maintaining healthy plants, promoting root development, and supporting overall plant health.



*What does neem oil do?

Neem oil is derived from the seeds of the neem tree and is commonly used as a natural insecticide and fungicide. It works by suffocating insects and disrupting their hormonal system, making it difficult for them to feed, grow, and reproduce.


Neem oil also has antifungal properties that control fungal diseases like powdery mildew and black spot. It also improves plant health, stimulates growth, and promotes root development.


When applied as a foliar spray, neem oil protects plants from harmful UV rays and improves the overall health of the foliage — great for anyone living in a hot, dry climate.

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Hi! I'm Lars (Denmark).

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