All plants need some water during the growing season but some need a lot less than others. If you have an area in the garden that dries out quickly and is not watered there is probably a native plant that likes dry conditions and is drought tolerant. Of course, there are other considerations too. You have to provide the proper light and soil conditions and give the plant a good head start with adequate water to allow it to become established.

Here are five easy to grow native perennials that like dry conditions and are drought tolerant.

Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
The bright orange clusters of flowers are showy and brighten any garden. Their nectar attracts many bees and butterflies and the plants serve as larval hosts for monarch and queen butterflies. After the flowers fade they are followed by large attractive pods.

    Height: 2-3 feet
    Bloom Time: Mid summer
    Light: Full sun to light shade
    Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Coastal Strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis)
A native of meadows and dunes in the Northwest, coastal strawberry spreads quickly by runners and makes an excellent groundcover. Its shiny dark green leathery leaves provide a striking background for the white flowers in summer and turn red in the fall.

    Height: 2-8 inches
    Bloom Time: Early to late summer
    Light: Sun to partial shade
    Hardiness: Zones 6-9

Lance Leaved Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata)
The bright yellow flowers of this meadow and praire native are produced on a tidy plant with attractive narrow leaves. The plant will rebloom if you deadhead it or cut it back mid season and will reseed itself prolifically if you don’t. It does well in sandy nutrient poor soil but also flourishes in average well drained soil.

    Height: 1-2 feet
    Bloom Time: Summer
    Light: Full sun
    Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium)
If you like unusual looking plants, this native of prairies and meadows, is a very good choice. The flowers are white with a tinge of blue and look more like space capsules than flowers. They look well for a long time on the plant and dry well for indoor arrangements. The leaves resemble those of yucca, hence the specific name, and are thick with jagged edges.

    Height: 1-4 feet
    Bloom Time: Mid summer
    Light: Full sun
    Hardiness: Zones 5-9

Rough Blazing Star (Liatris aspera)
The tall straight spikes of deep pink to purple flowers adds a strong vertical accent to any garden. Each stem produced 20-40 fluffy flowers that are rounder and more widely spaced than other blazing stars and attract butterflies, hummingbirds and bees.

    Height: 2-4 feet
    Bloom Time: Mid to late summer
    Light: Full sun
    Hardiness: Zones 3-9

These are only five of the many native perennials that will thrive in dry soil and many more are available. Four of them provide showy flowers that will add a lot of color to any planting while the fifth, coastal strawberry, makes a good ground cover with its attractive foliage. All of them like at least some sun so are not recommended for shady areas.

Native Plant Pointer

By Karen