16 Best Drought Tolerant Succulents For Your Garden Or Home

drought tolerant succulents
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When drought season comes around, it is important to have drought tolerant succulents plants in your garden. Especially if you live in a hot and dry climate like Southern California. Succulents are the perfect drought tolerant plants for any type of landscape or garden style because they can withstand periods of drought, heat, cold, and many other types of environmental stressors without succumbing to disease or death.

One, out of the drought tolerant succulents, is not enough, you need to plant several drought tolerant succulents in your garden. These drought tolerant succulents are also known as xerophytes and can be grown indoors or outdoors. They grow well in the hot arid climate and will survive with little water for a long time.

When drought strikes, it is important to have drought tolerant succulents plants in your garden. The following drought tolerant succulents are perfect for surviving drought conditions and add a variety of colors to any garden.

These drought tolerant succulents can also be used as bonsai trees and will survive in the desert. They have thick leaves that store water for long periods of drought, making them the perfect drought tolerant succulents choice to add color and beauty to your landscape. These drought tolerant succulents are also known as money tree because the leaves are shaped like coins.

16 best drought tolerant succulents

We all know that drought is a serious problem. The drought tolerant succulents in this blog post will help you combat drought and save water with their low-maintenance attitude. They can also tolerate partial shade during drought. These plants are perfect for any home or garden!

Aloe Arborescens

drought tolerant succulents

Aloe arborescens is one of the drought tolerant succulents plants with rosettes of grayish leaves. This aloe, also called panini or mountain Aloe, blooms from winter to spring. Native to the mountains of southern Africa, it tolerates both drought and frost conditions well enough that some growers consider this plant to be succulent.

Some say that this Aloe is not reliably hardy in Zone 11, but it has done very well for us when kept dry and partially protected from the wind. Aloe arborescens is a small plant, seldom more than 18 inches tall. It makes an excellent groundcover in dry regions and looks good spilling over the top of large pots as well.

This aloe is also often used for bonsai because it develops into interesting shapes when kept pruned low to the soil line.

Frost hardiness: USDA Zone 11a

Water needs: Low to Moderate

Sun exposure: Full Sun or Partial Shade

Mature size: Height up to 18 inches

Bloom time: Winter-Spring

Flower color: Orange-red

Aloe vera

drought tolerant succulents

Aloe vera is probably the most famous of all the drought tolerant succulents. Its notoriety comes from its ability to soothe minor burns, sunburns, and scrapes when applied to the skin. It can be grown outdoors in USDA Zones 11 or 12 where it will grow into a small tree with showy yellow flowers that attract butterflies.

Aloe vera is also sometimes called the ‘medicine plant’. It has been used for thousands of years by cultures all over the world. The ancient Greeks and Romans knew Aloe as a powerful medicine that could heal wounds, skin infections, and digestive problems.

This aloe can be grown indoors in bright light but will do best outdoors in a sunny spot. Outdoors, it can grow into a small tree with long lanceolate leaves that get up to four feet tall and two or three inches wide.

Aloe vera is frost-sensitive but will tolerate some cold down to the low 20 degrees Fahrenheit if kept dry. It’s common for Aloes to drop their leaves when they are exposed to cold and then regrow them as temperatures rise.

Frost hardiness: USDA Zone 11 or 12

Water needs: Low to Moderate

Sun exposure: Full Sun

Mature size: Height up to four feet tall; width depends on pot size, but a six-inch pot will support a plant that is about two feet across

Bloom time: Spring and summer

Flower color: Yellow.

Agave Attenuata

drought tolerant succulents

Agave attenuata is a popular ornamental succulent with rosettes of gray-green leaves. This Agave has two forms: one form, called ‘Lipstick’ develops red edges on the tips and margins of its long narrow leaves while the other variety, commonly called ‘Variegata’, or sometimes just plain old ‘Marginata’, forms a fountain of green leaves with yellow margins.

Agave attenuata is hardy in USDA Zones 15-23 where it will grow into an attractive clump that can reach four feet high by about the same wide, but it has been known to sucker and form colonies as well. This Agave is cold tolerant and will survive temperatures as low as 23 degrees Fahrenheit if kept dry.

Frost hardiness: USDA Zone 15

Water needs: Low to Moderate

Sun exposure: Full Sun or Partial Shade; full sun in coastal zones (USDA Zones 18-23). In hotter inland areas, protect from afternoon heat by providing some shade.

Mature size: Height up to four feet tall; width depends on pot size, but a six-inch pot will support a plant that is about two feet across.

Bloom time: Spring and summer

Flower color: Yellow.

Aeonium arboreum (schwarzkopf or atropurpureum)

drought tolerant succulents

Aeonium arboreum is an evergreen shrub native to many Mediterranean islands. This plant has become popular as both a houseplant and garden ornamental for its attractive branching habit, ease of care, cold tolerance, drought resistance, and long life.

It has the common name ‘Zwartkop’ because it produces bright red flowers that look a bit like the head of a zebra. It grows best in USDA Zones 14-24 where it can grow into an attractive shrub with dark green leaves and branching habit, reaching three to five feet tall by about as wide.

Aeonium arboreum is cold tolerant but may drop some or all of its leaves when exposed to cold. It will recover from the cold once temperatures rise above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Frost hardiness: USDA Zone 14

Water needs: Moderate, but if growing as a houseplant, water only enough to keep it from wilting between watering and let dry completely before next watering. In zone 14, plant in well-drained soil, mulch well in winter and let dry between watering.

Sun exposure: Full Sun or Partial Shade; full sun along the coast (USDA Zones 14-24) where it will grow into an attractive shrub with dark green leaves and branching habit, reaching three to five feet tall by about as wide. In hotter inland areas, protect from afternoon heat by providing some shade.

Mature size: Height up to three feet tall and as wide; width depends on pot size, but a six-inch pot will support a plant that is about two feet across.

Bloom time: Spring and summer

Flower color: Bright red or yellow.

Aeonium canariense (Canary Island Aeonium)

drought tolerant succulents

This plant is native to the islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain. It does best where summers are cool, but not freezing as it’s somewhat frost-sensitive. This succulent has rosettes that are a beautiful silvery gray-green color with small spines along the margins.

It is great for containers and can be used in landscaped areas where it will form clumps that are about three feet tall but remain relatively short when grown as an indoor plant. In zone 12 or higher, this succulent should only need to be watered about once a month during the winter.

Aeonium canariense is cold tolerant to about 28 degrees Fahrenheit but may lose some of its leaves if exposed to colder temperatures for long periods of time. It’s best in USDA Zones 11-24 where it will grow into an attractive clump that reaches three feet tall by two feet wide, but it has been known to sucker and form colonies as well.

Frost hardiness: USDA Zone 11

Water needs: Low; in zone 12 or higher, this succulent should only need to be watered about once a month during the winter.

Sun exposure: Full Sun; full sun along the coast (USDA Zones 11-24) where it will grow into an attractive clump that reaches three feet tall by two feet wide, but it has been known to sucker and form colonies as well. In hotter inland areas, protect from afternoon heat by providing some shade.

Mature size: Height up to three feet tall; width depends on pot size, but a six-inch pot will support a plant that is about two feet across.

Bloom time: Spring and summer

Flower color: Yellow, orange, or red.

Crassula ovata (Jade Plant)

crassula ovata

The jade plant is a slow-growing succulent shrub that has thick, rubbery branches and small green leaves with red edges. If left to grow naturally, it’s an attractive multi-branched shrub that can reach six feet tall by five feet wide over time; but it can be pruned into any shape or size.

Frost hardiness: USDA Zone 11

Water needs: Moderate; do not let this plant dry out completely between waterings, but don’t keep it too moist either. It’s best to allow the soil to become slightly drier than normal between watering during its winter dormancy period. This is especially true if grown indoors where air circulation is less than ideal. In zone 11, it may need to be watered a few times per month during the winter months if grown indoors.

Sun exposure: Full Sun or Partial Shade; full sun along the coast (USDA Zones 11-24) where it will grow into an attractive shrub with thick branches and small green leaves with red edges. In hotter inland areas, protect from afternoon heat by providing some shade.

Mature size: Height up to three feet tall and as wide; width depends on pot size, but a six-inch pot will support a plant that is about two feet across.

Bloom time: Spring and summer

Flower color: White.

Aeonium haworthii (Haworth’s Aeonium)

drought tolerant succulents

This succulent plant has fleshy, blue-green leaves with reddish tips. The rosettes are about six inches in diameter and it forms an attractive clump over time.

Frost hardiness: USDA Zone 11

Water needs: Low; in zone 12 or higher, this succulent should only need to be watered about once a month during the winter.

Sun exposure: Full Sun; full sun along the coast (USDA Zones 11-24) where it will grow into an attractive clump that reaches three feet tall by two feet wide, but it has been known to sucker and form colonies as well. In hotter inland areas, protect from afternoon heat by providing some shade.

Mature size: Height up to three feet tall and as wide; width depends on pot size, but a six-inch pot will support a plant that is about two feet across.

Bloom time: Spring and summer

Flower color: Red or orange during the spring and summer months.

Euphorbia tirucalli (Pencil Cactus)

drought tolerant succulents

This is an easy-to-grow succulent with long, pencil-thin stems and small green leaves. It’s also known as the Pencil Plant or Milk Bush because of its milky sap that oozes out when the plant is cut or damaged; it has a very invasive root system so give some thought to where you plant this succulent.

Frost hardiness: USDA Zone 11

Water needs: Low; in zone 12 or higher, this succulent should only need to be watered about once a month during the winter months. However, it will tolerate light frosts and even snow with no problem if grown indoors. Also, remember that its root system is very invasive so be sure that the container has drainage holes.

Sun exposure: Full Sun; full sun along the coast (USDA Zones 11-24) where it will grow into an attractive clump with pencil-thin stems and small green leaves, but if grown indoors in zone 12 or higher, it can tolerate partial shade during the winter months. In hotter inland areas, protect from afternoon heat by providing some shade.

Mature size: Height up to three feet tall and as wide; width depends on pot size, but a six-inch pot will support a plant that is about two feet across.

Bloom time: Spring and summer

Flower color: White or green.

Echeveria agavoides

drought tolerant succulents

Echeveria agavoides is also one of the common drought tolerant succulents for your home or garden. The leaves are fleshy, gray-green, and pointed at the ends. The flowers are pinkish in color.

Frost hardiness: USDA Zone 11

Water needs: Moderate; do not let this plant dry out completely between waterings, but don’t keep it too moist either. It’s best to allow the soil to become slightly drier than normal between watering during its winter dormancy period. This is especially true if grown indoors where air circulation is less than ideal. In zone 11, it may need to be watered a few times per month during the winter months if grown indoors.

Sun exposure: Full Sun or Partial Shade; full sun along the coast (USDA Zones 11-24) where it will grow into an attractive shrub with fleshy, gray-green leaves and pinkish flowers; however, if grown indoors in zone 12 or higher it can tolerate partial shade during the winter months. In hotter inland areas, protect from afternoon heat by providing some shade.

Mature size: Height up to two feet tall and as wide; width depends on pot size, but a six-inch pot will support a plant that is about one foot across.

Bloom time: Spring and summer

Flower color: Pinkish in the spring and summer months.

Echeveria topsy turvy

drought tolerant succulents

As one of the most common drought tolerant succulents, echeveria topsy turvy is a fun plant with fleshy, pointed leaves that are bright green in color.

Frost hardiness: USDA Zone 11

Water needs: Moderate; do not let this plant dry out completely between waterings, but don’t keep it too moist either. It’s best to allow the soil to become slightly drier than normal between watering during its winter dormancy period. This is especially true if grown indoors where air circulation is less than ideal. In zone 11, it may need to be watered a few times per month during the winter months if grown indoors.

Sun exposure: Full Sun or Partial Shade; full sun along the coast (USDA Zones 11-24) where it will grow into an attractive shrub with fleshy green leaves; however, if grown indoors in zone 12 or higher it can tolerate partial shade during the winter months. In hotter inland areas, protect from afternoon heat by providing some shade.

Mature size: Height up to two feet tall and as wide; width depends on pot size, but a six-inch pot will support a plant that is about one foot across.

Bloom time: Spring and summer

Flower color: Pinkish in the spring and summer months.

Portalucaria afra

drought tolerant succulents

This plant has leaves that are stout, pointed, and grayish-green in color.

Frost hardiness: USDA Zone 11; however, it is not frost tolerant so if you live in zone 11 where temperatures can get below freezing for extended periods of time the best place to keep this succulent is indoors or on a patio/deck during the winter months.

Water needs: Moderate; do not let this plant dry out completely between waterings, but don’t keep it too moist either. It’s best to allow the soil to become slightly drier than normal between watering during its winter dormancy period. This is especially true if grown indoors where air circulation is less than ideal. In zone 11, it may need to be watered a few times per month during the winter months if grown indoors.

Sun exposure: Full sun; full sun along the coast (USDA Zones 11-24) where it will grow into an attractive shrub with grayish-green leaves; however, if grown indoors in zone 12 or higher it can tolerate partial shade during the winter months. In hotter inland areas, protect from afternoon heat by providing some shade.

Mature size: Height up to two feet tall and as wide; width depends on pot size, but a six-inch pot will support a plant that is about one foot across.

Bloom time: Spring and summer

Flower color: Yellow, orange, and red flowers in the spring and summer months.

Note* This succulent is covered with small bristles which can be dangerous for young children. Be sure to keep it out of reach or use gloves when handling this plant.

Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia Milii)

drought tolerant succulents

These drought tolerant succulents have leaves that are fleshy, green in color with yellow margins.

Frost hardiness: USDA Zone 11; however, it is not frost tolerant so if you live in zone 11 where temperatures can get below freezing for extended periods of time the best place to keep this succulent is indoors or on a patio/deck during the winter months.

Water needs: Moderate; do not let this plant dry out completely between waterings, but don’t keep it too moist either. It’s best to allow the soil to become slightly drier than normal between watering during its winter dormancy period. This is especially true if grown indoors where air circulation is less than ideal. In zone 11, it may need to be watered a few times per month during the winter months if grown indoors.

Sun exposure: Full sun; full sun along the coast (USDA Zones 11-24) where it will grow into an attractive shrub with green leaves; however, if grown indoors in zone 12 or higher, it can tolerate partial shade during the winter months. In hotter inland areas, protect from afternoon heat by providing some shade.

Mature size: Height up to two feet tall and as wide; width depends on pot size, but a six-inch pot will support a plant that is about one foot across.

Bloom time: Spring and summer

Senecio mandraliscae

drought tolerant succulents

These drought tolerant succulents have leaves that are fleshy, blue-green in color, and have a reddish tint to them when exposed to bright sunlight.

Frost hardiness: USDA Zone 11

Water needs: Moderate; do not let this plant dry out completely between waterings, but don’t keep it too moist either. It’s best to allow the soil to become slightly drier than normal between watering during its winter dormancy period. This is especially true if grown indoors where air circulation is less than ideal. In zone 11, it may need to be watered a few times per month during the winter months if grown indoors.

Sun exposure: Full Sun; full sun along the coast (USDA Zones 11-24) where it will grow into an attractive shrub with fleshy blue-green leaves; however, if grown indoors in zone 12 or higher it can tolerate partial shade during the winter months. In hotter inland areas, protect from afternoon heat by providing some shade.

Mature size: Height up to two feet tall and as wide; width depends on pot size, but a six-inch pot will support a plant that is about one foot across.

Bloom time: Spring and summer

Flower color: Pinkish in the spring and summer months.

Note* This succulent has thorns along its stem which can be dangerous for young children. Be sure to keep it out of reach or use gloves when handling this plant.

Stonecrops (Sedum)

drought tolerant succulents

These drought tolerant succulents are very common, having leaves that are green in color with yellow, orange or red tips.

Frost hardiness: USDA Zone 12; however, it is not frost tolerant, so if you live in zone 11 where temperatures can get below freezing for extended periods of time the best place to keep this succulent is indoors or on a patio/deck during the winter months.

Water needs: Moderate; do not let this plant dry out completely between waterings, but don’t keep it too moist either. It’s best to allow the soil to become slightly drier than normal between watering during its winter dormancy period. This is especially true if grown indoors where air circulation is less than ideal. In zone 11, it may need to be watered a few times per month during the winter months if grown indoors.

Sun exposure: Full sun; full sun along the coast (USDA Zones 11-24) where it will grow into an attractive shrub with green leaves; however, if grown indoors in zone 12 or higher it can tolerate partial shade during the winter months. In hotter inland areas, protect from afternoon heat by providing some shade.

Mature size: Height up to one foot tall and as wide; width depends on pot size, but a six-inch pot will support a plant that is about three inches across.

Bloom time: Spring and summer

Desert Rose (Adenium obesum)

drought tolerant succulents

Although these drought tolerant succulents are not very common, when compared to others like lithops or echeverias, they have leaves that are green in color with red margins.

Frost hardiness: USDA Zone 11; however, it is not frost tolerant so if you live in zone 11 where temperatures can get below freezing for extended periods of time the best place to keep this succulent is indoors or on a patio/deck during the winter months.

Water needs: Moderate; do not let this plant dry out completely between waterings, but don’t keep it too moist either. It’s best to allow the soil to become slightly drier than normal between watering during its winter dormancy period. This is especially true if grown indoors where air circulation is less than ideal. In zone 11, it may need to be watered a few times per month during the winter months if grown indoors.

Sun exposure: Full sun; full sun along the coast (USDA Zones 11-24) where it will grow into an attractive shrub with green leaves; however, if grown indoors in zone 12 or higher in the winter months. In hotter inland areas, protect from afternoon heat by providing some shade.

Mature size: Height up to two feet tall and as wide; width depends on pot size, but a six-inch pot will support a plant that is about one foot across.

Bloom time: Spring and summer

Flower color: Pink

Lithops

drought tolerant succulents

As one of the most common drought tolerant succulents, lithops have leaves that are gray-green in color.

Frost hardiness: USDA Zone 11; however, it is not frost tolerant so if you live in zone 11 where temperatures can get below freezing for extended periods of time the best place to keep this succulent is indoors or on a patio/deck during the winter months.

Water needs: Moderate; do not let this plant dry out completely between waterings, but don’t keep it too moist either. It’s best to allow the soil to become slightly drier than normal between watering during its winter dormancy period. This is especially true if grown indoors where air circulation is less than ideal. In zone 11, it may need to be watered a few times per month during the winter months if grown indoors.

Sun exposure: Full sun; full sun along the coast (USDA Zones 11-24) where it will grow into an attractive shrub with green leaves; however, if grown indoors in zone 12 or higher in the winter months. In hotter inland areas, protect from afternoon heat by providing some shade.

Mature size: Height up to two inches tall and as wide; width depends on pot size, but a six-inch pot will support a plant that is about one inch across.

Bloom time: Summer

Flower color: White with red or purple center


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