Drought-Tolerant Plants

Despite what was a colder-than-normal winter for us in Texas, you know it won’t be long before we’re are dealing with drought-like conditions and oppressive heat. And if you get sick and tired of daily waterings of tropical plants later this summer, you may stand there with hose in hand asking yourself this question: There’s got to be plants that are drought-tolerant?

The answer is YES! There are a number of native Texas plants and adapted varieties that can not only tolerate but actually thrive in such drought-like conditions. Long, dry summers like we experience don’t have to be torture to certain plants if you get them established soon. By the way, even in a well-drained bed, as long as the roots of the plant do not drown, they will also do just fine if we get too much rain. With all that in mind here are some proven performers that understand how to take on a Texas heat wave.


  • Green Ash – Fraxinus Americanus
  • Caddo Maple – Acer Saccharum
  • Bald Cypress – Cupressus
  • Chinese Pistache – Pistacia chinesis
  • Crape Myrtle
  • Golden Raintree
  • Hackberry
  • Mesquite
  • Pine – Loblolly
  • Russian Olive
  • Sumac

    SHRUBS -

  • Barberry
  • Blue Plumbago
  • Elaeagnus
  • Holly
  • Nandina
  • Rose of Sharon
  • Texas Sage
  • Broomweed
  • Cotoneaster
  • Flowering Quince
  • Juniper
  • Oleander
  • Rosemary
  • Spirea

    VINES -

  • Bittersweet
  • Carolina Jessamine
  • Crossvine
  • Trumpet Creeper
  • Potato Vine
  • Boston Ivy
  • Coral Vine
  • Trumpet Vine
  • Virginia Creeper
  • Lantana (also a Perennial)


  • Artemisia
  • Liatris
  • Iris
  • Lantana
  • Yarrow
  • Sage
  • Blanket Flower
  • Celosia
  • Lamb’s Ear
  • Mexican Heather
  • Zinnia
  • Vinca Major

    Please remember that while plants noted as “drought-tolerant” can eventually take such heat, they do need to be babied for their first year of life. You cannot plant a drought-tolerant specimen during a drought and forget to water it either. Again, they can handle the heat once they’ve established themselves.

Randy Lemmon is the host of the GardenLine radio program on Newsradio 740 KTRH. Randy has been doing GardenLine in one capacity or another since December of 1995, for all three of the now Clear Channel AM stations - KTRH, KPRC & KBME. When Randy took over GardenLine, he replaced long-time Houston radio veteran and GardenLine originator, Bill Zak. For those who remember that far back, GardenLine was a weekly radio staple on KTRH from 10 a.m. to Noon Mondays through Fridays - along with a Saturday show as well. Now GardenLine is heard exclusively on Newsradio 740 KTRH on weekend mornings.