Louis’s Picks: Drought Tolerant Plants for Summer

It’s the hottest time of year again, and any plants we have that are not well adapted to the heat may be needing some special love and care to get through the summer. If you prefer to keep your gardening tasks to a minimum, this is a great time to consider planting some drought tolerant plants in your garden. These tough plants, once they are established, can take the heat and will be more resistant to dry periods during the summer season.

Annuals & Perennials


This family of plants features a wide array of colors, leaf shapes, bloom types and growth habits. All of them are incredibly drought tolerant once established, with waxy, succulent foliage.

Some varieties can be grown as groundcovers, while others, like the popular ‘Autumn Brilliance’ stonecrop, have an upright growth habit. The larger plants can be very popular with pollinators while they are in bloom.

These plants prefer full sun, and will die back each winter. Leave them up if you enjoy the browned blooms, then cut them back in early spring before


Epimedium is a wonderful choice if you need a shade and drought tolerant plant to place under large trees. These plants make excellent choices for groundcovers between trees or in shady garden beds due to their low growth habit, generally growing to between 8 and 12 inches in height. It has a delicate appearance, with thin stems and spiderlike flowers. It does gain a yellow-orange fall color before it dies back for the season.

Epimedium blooms in early spring with clusters of flowers, whose color varies depending on the cultivar.


This annual is a must-have in your garden if you are looking to attract pollinators with summer long blooms. Once established, you will hardly ever need to water it.

Bees and butterflies alike love this brightly blooming plant, which comes in a wide variety of colors and features appealing clusters of tiny blooms arranged in a flat circle – the perfect landing pad! Annuals are a great choice to swap into perennial beds and containers for seasonal blooms, just remember that they will need to be replanted each year. This plant likes plenty of sun, so plant it in a sunny spot and enjoy the pollinators it attracts.



There’s a juniper for ever garden! If you need a drought tolerant shrub, this plant comes in upright forms, shrub forms and groundcover forms. These conifers feature a wide array of leaf color in addition to their varying growth habits, so you can pick one that meets your garden’s needs. These plants perform well in hot sun and are extremely drought tolerant once established.

This group of plants includes our native juniper, Juniperus virginiana, the Eastern Red Cedar, which is an excellent tree that can grow far taller than other shrub forms. Be sure to consult with a plant specialist before purchasing a Juniper if you are not sure of the growth habit and mature size of the cultivar you are selecting!

Japanese Plum Yew

This plant is a flexible evergreen that can handle both sun and shade conditions as well as being highly tolerant of drought. It comes in an upright for, a groundcover form and a shrub form, giving it a variety of uses in the garden.

Consider using these plants in your foundation plantings, or to fill in beneath trees.