13 Drought-Tolerant Plants That Will Improve Your Home's Curb Appeal

Plant pros reveal the prettiest, low-water plant options.

For many of us, spring means breaking out our gardening gloves, digging into the soil, and beautifying our yards. You may already know how you'd like your landscaping to look. But there are several factors to consider when choosing outdoor plants, from your growing zone to how much time and energy you're willing to put in. Another big consideration—especially when it comes to making eco-conscious choices—is how much water your plants will need to survive.

Drought-tolerant plants may bring to mind barren rockscapes and boring curb appeal, but that doesn't have to be the case. "There are countless options for dry-climate curb appeal," says Noelle Johnson, a horticulturist, landscape consultant, and the pro behind the plant advice site AZ Plant Lady. "From the vibrant colors of drought-tolerant ground covers, shrubs, and vines to the unique shapes of cacti and other succulents, there are many options to add beauty to outdoor spaces."

The key to acing a landscape design that's both climate-friendly and attractive lies in finding the right balance. "I like to think about adding beauty and benefit," says Arianna Iappini, the gardening expert and coach behind The Birch Arbor Gardens. "A lovely flowering aromatic will add visual interest and feed the native pollinators. Many drought-tolerant plants offer both eye-catching appeal and help to elevate biodiversity."

Check out some pro-approved, drought-tolerant plants below. They will thrive with very little water and still give you one of the prettiest yards on the block.

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Lantana (Lantana camara)

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A heat-loving bloom known for its colorful palette and vine-like structure, lantana is an excellent choice for gardeners who want a pollinator-friendly plant that will establish itself quickly in the landscape. "Lantana is one of the best options for color," says Johnson. "They come in ground cover and shrub forms, easily attract butterflies, and will continue to bloom over a long period."

Hardiness Zone: Perennial in Zones 9 through 11, but can be grown as a summer annual in Zones 1 through 8

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Coneflower (Echinacea)

Coneflower (Echinacea)
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Bold, cheery, and able to grow practically anywhere, coneflower is a hearty little bloom that thrives on near-neglect while adding a punch of playful color to your landscape. "Coneflower is a fantastic option for a drought-tolerant flower that stands up well to high heat and dry conditions," says Iappini. "It also attracts loads of butterflies!"

Hardiness Zone: Zones 3 through 8

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Lavender (Lavandula)

Drought Tolerant Plants, Lavender
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A charming cottage garden staple, lavender plants contribute an effortless, wildflower effect in your yard without sacrificing buckets of water. "Lavender is a great plant that prefers full sun and well-drained soil," says Iappini. Choose from a range of colors, including blue, purple, and white. "Lavender smells wonderful, attracts beneficial insects, and will only get better and more vigorous from year to year."

Hardiness Zone: Zones 5 through 9

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Pink Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris)

Drought Tolerant Plants, Pink Muhly Grass
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Characterized by dream-like wisps of cotton candy-colored grass, pink muhly grass adds an ethereal vibe to any landscape. "I like to plant these grasses in groups of three or five," suggests Johnson. "They also have beautiful burgundy plumes in fall that add cool-season interest."

Hardiness Zone: Zones 5 through 11

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Sage (Salvia officinalis)

Drought Tolerant Plants, Sage
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Often thought of as a vegetable garden crop, sage can make a great landscape addition for homeowners on the hunt for drought-friendly plants. "Bush sage, meadow sage, and Russian sage are all stunning, flowering perennial plants that happen to be drought-tolerant," says Iappini. "They're a great way to add visual interest to your landscape and help to provide food for hummingbirds and other pollinators."

Hardiness Zone: Zones 5 through 8

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Red Emu Bush (Eremophila maculata 'Valentine')

Red Emu Bush with red flowers

Delivering both vibrant color and desirable greenery, the red emu bush is a drought-tolerant plant that produces eye-catching, bell-like red flowers. "Red emu bush is a must-have for winter color that extends into spring," says Johnson. "Reddish-pink flowers add interest around the home when not much else is in bloom. I recommend planting them in groups of three in bare spots throughout the garden."

Hardiness Zone: Zones 8 through 11

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Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
“This plant flowers most actively in May and June, so use it in your garden as a seasonal color accent since they come in different colors like pink, purple, and yellow,” says Chris Lambton, professional landscaper and host of DIY Network’s Yard Crashers. “Place it near plants that flower earlier in the spring, such as tulips, or ones that flower later in the summer, like Black-eyed Susans.” It thrives in hot conditions and can also be grown in high elevations. Mark Turner/Getty Images

"This plant flowers most actively in May and June, so use it in your garden as a seasonal color accent since they come in different colors like pink, purple, and yellow," says Chris Lambton, professional landscaper, and host of DIY Network's Yard Crashers. "Place it near plants that flower earlier in the spring, such as tulips, or ones that flower later in the summer, like black-eyed Susans." It thrives in hot conditions and can also be grown in high elevations.

Hardiness Zone: Zones 3 through 9

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Shrubby Germander (Teucrium fruticans)

plant with light purple petals and green stems
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A member of the mint family, the shrubby germander is a full, woody bush with gray-green leaves and a sweet, mild scent. "The gray-blue foliage of shrubby germander creates nice color contrast with green ground covers and shrubs and is a good option for planting under a window," says Johnson. "Their startling blue flowers are a delight when they appear from winter into spring."

Hardiness Zone: Zones 8 through 9

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Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzantina)

Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantina)
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This flowering perennial herb has a unique fuzzy texture. "It does well in partial-to-full sun," says Lambton. "It doesn't love hot and humid, so it's a great choice for dry climates." In colder climates, it will appear "dead" in the winter, but will come back to life in the spring. A word of caution from Lambton: This herb spreads as it grows, so keep that in mind when you're deciding where to plant it.

Hardiness Zone: Zones 4 through 8

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Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
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"These plants yield beautiful clusters of bright orange flowers that attract butterflies, especially monarchs," says garden expert Christy Dailey of christygardens. This perennial prefers well-drained, sandy soils, requires very little water, and blooms from May to September.

Hardiness Zone: Zones 4 through 9

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Russian Sage (Perovskia atiplicifolia)

Russian Sage (Perovskia atiplicifolia)
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"These billowy and fragrant woody stems produce pretty purple flowers that bees and butterflies love," says Dailey. "They bloom from late spring through October." A mature plant grows to 3 to 5 feet tall and requires plenty of sun. It's sturdy enough to withstand wind and cold weather.

Hardiness Zone: Zones 4 through 9

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Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
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Rosemary is a great addition to your garden because it's nice to look at and edible. "Since this is an evergreen plant, you'll want to prune it regularly to maintain a good shape—and if you're using it to cook, the freshest taste," says Lambton. "It loves the sun and can hold up well in dry conditions." If you live in a warmer region, rosemary will have no problem growing year-round. In colder climates, replace the in-ground plant when the weather starts getting chilly, or bring the plant inside if it's grown in a container.

Hardiness Zone: Zones 7 through 10, but can be grown as an annual or brought indoors for the winter in colder zones

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Stonecrop (Sedum)

Stonecrop (Sedum)
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The fleshy leaves on this plant help it retain water in dry conditions. "It comes in all shapes and sizes," says Dailey. "Some are upright, while others creep low to the ground, but all have attractive blooms of hot pink, lime green, and other vibrant colors." They thrive in soil that can drain well.

Hardiness Zone: Zones 4 through 9

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