8 Drought Tolerant Plants to Grow in Florida


Drought-tolerant plants can endure dry conditions and are low maintenance. Which ones should you consider?
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Growing drought-tolerant plants in your yard will result in a beautiful landscape that can endure dry conditions. Drought-resistant plants require less water and can withstand dry spells without significant damage.

There are several drought-tolerant plants in Central Florida. Annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees are among them. Drought-tolerant plants that don’t require a lot of water in hot weather make for an easy-to-maintain garden in this region. 

Drought-resistant plants need not be unappealing or ragged in appearance; some plants may be shaped or clipped to their natural form for a manicured appearance.

1. Blanket Flower

Gaillardia, often called blanket flower, is a daisy-like perennial with a short life span and is simple to grow. The plant’s popular name refers to its tendency to spread and blanket an area.

Blanket flowers develop rapidly. The plants grow to a height of about 24 inches and a width of about 20 inches. These drought-resistant flowers are a garden staple that produces large red and yellow flowers throughout the warm season.

It does not require much water but needs well-draining soil to thrive. It can also grow full to partial sun, as the flowers will droop without enough sunlight.

bright red and yellow blanket flower

2. Desert Rose

Desert rose is a low-maintenance succulent that blooms in the summer, with hundreds of trumpet-shaped flowers in pink, rose, or white colors. It looks beautiful on a deck or patio but is sensitive to temperatures below 40 degrees. 

As the name implies, this is a drought-tolerant plant, but it requires a well-drained location. The plant can grow four feet tall, and the leaves may fall in winter. The Desert rose is a garden star that thrives in hot, dry, sunny conditions.

blossoming desert rose flowers

3. Firebush

The scientific name for firebush is Hamelia patens. It is a perennial or semi-woody shrub. Firebush is a popular garden plant that blooms from late spring to winter. It attracts hummingbirds and butterflies with its vivid red flowers.

A firebush plant is perfect for adding color and depth to your patio or deck, especially in areas where other plants may wither due to the hot summers. It works well in mixed borders and as a stand-alone shrub.

The size of the plant is determined by where it is grown. In South Florida, it can grow up to fifteen feet tall, but it can easily be kept under 8 feet.

4. Beautyberry

Beautyberry is known for its brilliant fuchsia-purple fruit clusters during the cooler months. Lavender-pink flowers emerge in the spring and early summer, followed by berry clusters in the late summer, fall, and winter.

Beautyberry is a drought-tolerant shrub that prefers well-drained soil and full light. The shrub is cold-resistant and goes dormant in the winter. The plant grows more branches in full sun and has a spreading, relaxed nature that goes well with a cottage-garden style.

beautyberry tree purple fruit clusters

5. Frangipani

Frangipani’s waxy blossoms have a sweet perfume associated with the tropics and are perfect for crafting traditional Hawaiian leis.

Plumeria may be the plant for you if you want to add tropical beauty and a spectacular flower show to your yard. Frangipani, also known as plumeria, is a reasonably simple plant to grow practically anywhere, as long as you follow a few simple guidelines. Although the plant is salt- and drought-tolerant, it may require watering during dry months. It prefers a frequent drink with plenty of time between watering to dry out.

blooming yellow frangipani flowers

6. Buttonwood

Buttonwoods are striking hedge shrubs, ornamentals, or tiny trees with dark green, leathery leaves that stand out against the surrounding foliage. These plants are outstanding when mixed with red, blue, purple, and white flowering plants. 

They can reach 15 to 20 feet. This Florida native is frequently used in residential and commercial garden designs because it is drought- and salt-tolerant and can grow in various soil types.

7. Longleaf Pine

The longleaf pine is an evergreen tree that retains its leaves throughout the year. Mature plants have tall, airy, scented canopies that are excellent in coastal areas. They have long, flexible dark green blades that can grow 18 inches long. The brown cones are rectangular and measure 6 to 10 inches long. 

Longleaf pines can grow in partial shade but prefer direct sunlight and the well-drained, sandy soil of their native sandhill habitats.

8. Seagrape

Seagrape is a prominent South Florida shrub with rounded leaves on upright stems. As a landscaping plant, seagrapes have a lot of promise. The plant will reach a height and width of 6 to 8 feet with its extended branches.

It is resistant to salt spray and saltwater conditions, making it an excellent choice for beachfront residences. It will also aid in stabilizing sand dunes while providing animal habitat.

a seagrape shrub with ripe fruit clusters
Alaine Connolly
Alaine has been working way too hard in horticulture since 1992, beautifying golf courses, resorts, and hotels. She is a part time landscape designer who works full time caring for a 28,000 square foot public garden. At home, she maintains her own 400 square feet plot. Alaine lives in northern Illinois - zone 5b.
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