Aethionema schistosum Fragrant Persian Stonecress
Drought-Tolerant Flower Seeds



Drought-Tolerant Flowers
by Diane Linsley

Why should you grow drought-tolerant flower seeds?

Growing drought-tolerant flowers is the responsible thing to do in a world with an ever-increasing population and declining natural resources. Unfortunately, it hasn't caught on yet in many places.

Looking around my neighborhood, you'd never know that we live in a desert. Nearly every house is surrounded by a sea of lush, green grass. Bluegrass is a terribly impractical thing to grow in a place where the summer temperatures often exceed 100 degrees, and it rarely rains in June, July or August.

Growing Drought-Tolerant Flowers from Seed

Annual and perennial flowers don’t need to be watered every day like bluegrass does. But even drought-tolerant flowers need regular water to get established. Water usage can be reduced by using mulch (wood chips, grass clippings, etc.) and by planting densely. Closely spaced plants shade the soil, keeping it cool and reducing evaporation. Watering at night or in the early morning or late evening also helps to reduce evaporation.

When you grow your own drought-tolerant flowers from seed, the plants have a better chance of acclimatizing and putting down a good root system before the hot weather strikes. Transplants from the nursery often suffer more from heat and drought, and they need to be watered more often until they are established.

Here's a list of our best drought-tolerant flower seeds.

Drought-Tolerant Annual Seeds

African Daisy -- Colorful flowers in shades of orange, apricot, yellow and white.

Alyssum 'Carpet of Snow' -- Masses of tiny, white flowers. Easy-to-grow seeds.

California Bluebell -- Native wildflower with cobalt-blue flowers from seed.

California Poppy 'Mission Bells' -- Colorful mix of flowers. Drought-tolerant.

Chinese Forget-Me-Not -- Small, indigo-blue flowers. Makes a nice filler.

Coreopsis tinctoria -- Native wildflower. Yellow and mahogany-red flowers.

Cosmos 'Sensation Mix' -- For more cosmos varieties, see Annual Flower Seeds.

Gazania -- Colorful mix of drought-tolerant flowers. Best in warm zones.

Gilia tricolor -- Native wildflower with delicate lilac and white flowers. Fragrant.

Marigold -- Popular annual with yellow, gold, orange and red flowers from seed.

Mirabilis jalapa -- Fragrant, trumpet-shaped flowers that attract hummingbirds.

Silene aremeria -- Vivid pink clusters of flowers. Drought-tolerant wildflower.

Tithonia 'Torch' -- Fast-growing annual with orange-red, daisy-like flowers.

Zinnia 'Lilliput Mix' -- For a complete list of zinnias, see Annual Flower Seeds.


Drought-Tolerant Perennial Seeds

Aethionema schistosum -- Rock garden perennial. Fragrant, pale pink flowers.

Agastache foeniculum -- Native wildflower with lavender-blue flowers. Herb.

Alyssum montanum -- Yellow-flowered, compact perennial for the rock garden.

Aquilegia formosa -- For more aquilegia species, see Perennial Flower Seeds.

Asclepias tuberosa -- Native perennial for butterflies and hummingbirds.

Aster azureus -- Fall-blooming, native perennial with lavender-blue flowers.

Aster novae-angliae -- Native wildflower with pink, purple or lavender flowers.

Baptisia australis -- Native perennial. Bushy plant with blue, pea-like flowers.

Callirhoe involucrata -- Native perennial with reddish-purple flowers.

Centranthus ruber -- First-year-flowering perennial with reddish-pink flowers.

Dalea purpurea -- Native wildflower. Magenta-purple flowers for butterflies.

Dianthus arenarius -- For more dianthus species, see Perennial Flower Seeds.

Digitalis obscura -- Sunset-red and gold flowers. Drought-tolerant foxglove.

Echinacea pallida -- For more echinacea species, see Perennial Flower Seeds.

Gaillardia aristata -- Scarlet-red flowers edged in yellow. Native wildflower.

Gaura lindheimeri -- Native perennial with pink-tinged, white flowers.

Hollyhock 'Indian Spring' -- Tall biennial with pink, white or rose-red flowers.

Gypsophila pacifica -- Perennial baby's breath with pale pink flowers. Filler.

Iberis gibraltarica -- Evergreen perennial with lavender-pink flowers. Rare.

Lavender 'Munstead' -- Fragrant, lavender-blue flowers. Compact plants.

Liatris spicata -- For more liatris species, see Perennial Flower Seeds.

Linum perenne -- Drought-tolerant, native wildflower with sky-blue flowers.

Oenothera missouriensis -- Lightly fragrant, lemon-yellow flowers. Native.

Penstemon palmeri -- For more penstemon species, see Perennial Flower Seeds.

Perovskia atriplicifolia -- Large, bushy perennial with lavender-blue flowers.

Platycodon grandiflorus -- Long-lived, drought-tolerant perennial. Lovely.

Ratibida columnifera -- Native wildflower with drooping, yellow petals.

Ratibida pinnata -- Native wildflower. Tall plants with drooping, yellow petals.

Rudbeckia subtomentosa -- Native perennial. Yellow daisies with brown centers.

Rudbeckia triloba -- Native perennial. Small, yellow daisies with black centers.

Ruellia humilis -- Native perennial. Lavender-blue, trumpet-shaped flowers.

Ruta graveolens -- Rue. Blue-green foliage and greenish-yellow flowers.

Salvia 'Violet Queen' -- For more salvia species, see Perennial Flower Seeds.

Scutellaria resinosa -- Small perennial for the rock garden. Vivid blue flowers.

Shasta Daisy 'Silver Princess' -- Pure white flowers with soft yellow centers.

Solidago nemoralis -- Drought-tolerant goldenrod with lemon-yellow flowers.

Thymus serpyllum -- Drought-tolerant groundcover for pathways and rockeries.

Verbena bonariensis -- First-year flowering perennial with rosy-purple flowers.


Related Articles

Rock Garden Perennials -- Rock garden plants to grow from seed.

First-Year Flowering Perennials -- Get more bang for your buck.

Deer-Resistant Flowers -- Annuals & perennials. Tips for deterring deer.


Recommended Books

Designing with Plants by Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury

Perennial All-Stars: The 150 Best Perennials for Great-Looking, Trouble-Free Gardens by Jeff Cox


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