35 Drought-Friendly Plants That Will Attract Pollinators

Summer is here, and it’s brought unusually dry conditions along with it. But despite the drought, your garden need not resemble a desert. Your solution? A mix of captivating, drought-tolerant plants that are also friends of our buzzing and fluttering pollinators.

Let’s dive into 35 such marvelous plants that won’t just endure drought but will also magnetize pollinators.

Drought friendly plants for your garden

1. Agastache (Hyssop)

Also known as hummingbird mint, Agastache’s colorful spikes of flowers in shades of pink, purple, or orange will draw bees and butterflies while standing up to dry conditions.

2. Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)

A hardy native plant, the blanket flower offers bright red and yellow blooms that will bring your garden to life while attracting butterflies.

3. Russian Sage (Perovskia)

This plant offers a sweet fragrance and blue-violet flowers, which prove irresistible to bees and butterflies. Its silver-green foliage is also a visual delight.

4. Salvia

These hardy herbs are known for their long-lasting blooms and ability to draw hummingbirds. They are heat-tolerant and don’t require a lot of water.

5. Lavender (Lavandula)

Lavender’s fragrant purple flowers are beloved by bees and butterflies. They prefer well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight.

6. Coneflower (Echinacea)

Coneflowers are drought-resistant and are a favorite amongst butterflies. Their large, bright blooms come in many colors, from pink to orange and even green.

7. Sedum (Stonecrop)

These succulents are equipped to withstand drought and come in various colors. They produce star-shaped flowers that attract butterflies.

8. Yarrow (Achillea)

Yarrow, with its clusters of tiny flowers, is a bee and butterfly magnet. It is a hardy plant that is not only drought-tolerant but also resistant to deer.

9. Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Part of the milkweed family, this plant is essential for monarch butterflies. It blooms bright orange flowers and loves a sunny spot.

10. Sunflower (Helianthus)

Sunflowers are not just attractive to human eyes, but also to bees and butterflies. They are known for their toughness and can thrive in harsh conditions.

11. Zinnia

With vibrant, pom-pom-like flowers, zinnias love the sun and are a favorite among butterflies.

12. California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)

These poppies are not only drought-resistant but self-seeding. Their vivid orange blooms will attract bees to your garden.

13. Cosmos

Cosmos are known for their delicate, daisy-like flowers that come in various colors. They are heat-tolerant and loved by bees and butterflies.

14. Lantana

Lantana’s multi-colored blooms are a crowd-pleaser among butterflies. This plant is also heat and drought-tolerant.

15. Penstemon

With its tubular flowers, penstemons are sure to draw hummingbirds. They are also low maintenance and thrive in full sun.

16. Mexican Hat (Ratibida columnifera)

Also known as prairie coneflower, this plant attracts butterflies with its unique, sombrero-shaped flowers.

17. Goldenrod (Solidago)

Often unfairly blamed for hay fever, goldenrods are a great addition to any garden, providing late-season pollen for bees.

18. Joe-Pye Weed (Eutrochium)

Despite the name, this is an excellent plant for attracting butterflies while tolerating drought conditions.

19. Sagebrush (Artemisia)

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This plant’s silvery foliage is beautiful to look at, and its aroma can deter pests. It also attracts a variety of insects.

20. Dusty Miller (Senecio cineraria)

Known for its striking silver-gray foliage, this plant is very drought-tolerant and attracts a host of beneficial insects.

21. Bottlebrush (Callistemon)

Its unique red, brush-like flowers not only look fascinating but also attract bees and hummingbirds.

22. Beardtongue (Penstemon)

This plant is perfect for hummingbirds due to its trumpet-shaped flowers. It’s also incredibly drought-resistant.

23. Catmint (Nepeta)

Offering delicate blue flowers and a delightful fragrance, catmint is a favorite of bees and butterflies.

24. Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)

A quintessential summer plant, this yellow flower is a favorite of butterflies and can handle drought quite well.

25. Texas Sage (Leucophyllum frutescens)

This shrub, with its purple or white blooms, is not only stunning to look at but also drought-tolerant and attractive to bees.

26. Thyme (Thymus)

This herb is not only good in the kitchen but also great in the garden. It’s drought-tolerant and attracts bees with its tiny flowers.

27. Bee Balm (Monarda)

As the name suggests, bee balm is a hit with bees but also with hummingbirds and butterflies. It’s a hardy plant that can cope well with drought.

28. Rockrose (Cistus)

Rockrose is a hardy shrub that produces a profusion of blooms and is an excellent addition to any drought-tolerant garden.

29. Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

Mountain laurel produces clusters of pink or white flowers and is quite resistant to dry conditions.

30. Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia)

This plant’s unique, torch-like flowers attract hummingbirds while withstanding dry spells.

31. Butterfly Bush (Buddleja)

While it requires some caution as it can become invasive, this plant’s long, fragrant blooms are irresistible to butterflies.

32. Marigold (Tagetes)

Marigolds are robust, drought-tolerant plants that provide vibrant color and attract various beneficial insects.

33. Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos)

A plant native to Australia, the kangaroo paw is adapted to dry climates and its nectar-rich flowers attract birds.

34. Coreopsis

These vibrant yellow flowers are drought-resistant and a favorite for attracting butterflies.

35. Bluebeard (Caryopteris)

This late summer bloomer offers stunning blue flowers that will attract bees and butterflies to your garden.

Tips for Maintaining Your Drought-Friendly Garden

Now that we’ve selected our beautiful, drought-resistant, pollinator-friendly plants, the next step is to ensure they thrive. Here are some top tips for maintaining your drought-friendly garden:

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1. Water Wisely

Though these plants are drought-tolerant, they do still need water. Water deeply but infrequently, as this encourages the roots to grow deeper into the soil, helping plants become more drought-resistant. The best time to water is early morning or late evening when evaporation is minimal.

2. Use Mulch

Applying a layer of organic mulch around your plants can help retain soil moisture, control temperature extremes, and reduce weed competition. Mulch acts as an insulating layer, keeping the soil cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

3. Choose the Right Soil

Well-draining soil is crucial for drought-tolerant plants, many of which are susceptible to diseases caused by waterlogged roots. Consider incorporating organic matter or compost into your garden to improve soil structure and water retention.

4. Group Plants Wisely

Group plants with similar water needs together. This practice, known as hydrozoning, ensures that plants get just the right amount of water they need without overwatering or underwatering others.

5. Minimize Fertilizer Use

Excessive fertilizer can stimulate lush growth, which requires more water to maintain. Use compost or slow-release organic fertilizers instead, and always follow the recommended rates.

6. Regular Pruning

Regular pruning not only keeps plants healthy and looking good but also reduces their water demand. Remove dead, damaged, or diseased plant parts promptly.

7. Implement Rainwater Harvesting

Consider setting up a rainwater harvesting system to capture rainwater. This water can be used to water your plants, thus conserving water.

8. Choose the Right Plant for the Right Place

Ensure plants are placed in locations that suit their sun, soil, and moisture preferences. This will reduce stress on the plants and make them more likely to thrive.

9. Windbreaks

If you live in a particularly windy area, consider installing windbreaks. Wind can dry out plants and soil, so using fences or planting shrubs to block the wind can be beneficial.

These drought-friendly, pollinator-loving plants are perfect for any gardener trying to navigate the challenges of a dry summer. Remember, every plant requires some level of care, so ensure that you’re aware of each plant’s specific needs to ensure your garden not only survives but thrives. Happy gardening!

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