Last updated on August 25th, 2023 at 12:29 pm
Plants are an essential part of any garden, and knowing which low water plants to choose can make all the difference between healthy, thriving plants and wilted, yellow leaves that die before they even reach maturity. Whether you live in the desert or in the cold tundra, there are many beautiful low water plants that will thrive in your climate.
Some plants require more water than others, but what about those plants that thrive even with little or no water?
Not all plants are created equal, and some need more water than others to thrive. If you have limited space or water available, it’s important to select low water plants that will do well in your conditions without needing constant care and maintenance to stay alive.
These 12 best low water plants for your garden have been chosen based on their beauty, hardiness, and adaptability so you can find the perfect fit in your landscape.
Best low water plants
Ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)
The ponytail palm is a unique-looking plant that’s perfect for adding a touch of the exotic to your garden. This slow-growing palm can reach up to 20 feet tall, but is just as happy in a pot on your patio.
Ponytail palms are drought-tolerant and only need to be watered about once a week. They don’t need much sun either, so they’re great for shady areas like under trees or close to buildings.
They prefer an acidic soil with good drainage and do well in containers or pots. If you want to add this unusual specimen to your yard, make sure you pick out one that has three or more trunks.
You’ll find them at specialty nurseries and many home centers as well. Be careful not to overwater these low water plants because if you give them too much water they will rot from the inside out.
Devil’s backbone (Pedilanthus tithymaloides)
Devil’s backbone is a drought-tolerant succulent that’s perfect for hot, dry climates. It can tolerate long periods of neglect and still look amazing. The plant gets its name from its unique shape–the stems resemble the spine of a devil.
To care for this plant, water it once a month and keep it in a sunny spot. You’ll need to fertilize every three months with a liquid fertilizer. If you’re not looking for a flowering plant, then Pedilanthus tithymaloides is your best bet.
A pink variety called ‘Rosie’ even comes complete with variegated leaves! These plants make great additions to any container garden or rock garden because they are compact and will do well in little soil.
They will thrive when planted alongside other low-water plants like petunias or verbena.
Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
The spider plant is one of the best low water plants for your garden. It’s a fast grower and can tolerate some neglect, making it ideal for busy gardeners. Plus, it’s easy to propagate from cuttings, so you can share it with friends. The spider plant is also said to be helpful in purifying indoor air.
Just keep an eye on the watering: too much or too little will damage this thirsty plant. You’ll need a bright spot indoors or outdoors for this shade-lover. Remember to give them plenty of light, but avoid direct sunlight.
When looking for a place outside, place in shady spots where they can get at least six hours of sun per day. Their dark green leaves make them perfect as ground cover underneath trees and shrubs – just make sure that the tree doesn’t block their access to light.
Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
The bamboo palm is a versatile plant that can thrive in both low light and low water conditions. This palm is perfect for adding a touch of the tropics to your home, and it is also known to be one of the best air-purifying plants.
Bamboo palms are relatively easy to care for, and they can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. With proper care, these palms can grow up to six feet tall. They need at least three hours of sun per day and should be watered once every two weeks.
Plant them in well-drained soil with plenty of organic material such as peat moss or compost mixed in. If you live in a cooler climate, you may want to consider bringing your bamboo palm indoors during the winter months.
Star of Madeira (Echium fastuosum)
A native of the Canary Islands, Echium fastuosum (Star of Madeira) is an evergreen subshrub that grows 6-8 feet tall and wide. It has glossy, dark green leaves and produces an abundance of blue to purple flowers from late spring to early summer.
Star of Madeira is drought tolerant once established and does best in full sun to partial shade. It tolerates a variety of soil types but prefers a well-drained location.
The USDA zone for this plant is 8-10. Plant spacing should be 18 inches apart with 12 inches between rows. After planting, water it thoroughly and add mulch to the area around it. In addition, it can also be grown as a container plant or planted on slopes or embankments.
The Royal Horticultural Society has given this plant their prestigious Award of Garden Merit designation which means it is long-lasting, vigorous, pest resistant, and generally easy to grow; all factors that make these low water plants perfect for your landscape!
Snake Plants (Mother in-law’s Tongue)
Snake plants are one of the best plants for beginner gardeners. They are easy to care for and require little water. Snake plants are also known as mother-in-law’s tongue because of their sharp, pointy leaves.
These plants are native to Africa and can grow up to four feet tall. Snake plants are perfect for adding a touch of greenery to any room in your home. The plant is not picky about light or soil type, so it should be easy to find one that fits your preferences.
Echeveria species (Hens-and-Chickens)
A drought-tolerant classic, the hens-and-chickens (Echeveria spp.) is a low-growing succulent that produces offsets or chicks around the parent plant. The chicks can be left to form a dense mat, or they can be removed and transplanted to other areas of the garden.
Hens-and-chickens are available in a wide range of colors, from pale green to deep purple. Keep an eye out for Echeveria species varieties with yellow flowers, which may require more water than those without flowers.
The leaves will also change color as it gets older and less light, so make sure you choose a sunny spot when planting! Another benefit of this drought-tolerant perennial is its ability to fill in bare spaces where other plants have died off due to lack of water.
Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)
The Bird of Paradise is a stunning tropical plant that is perfect for adding a touch of the exotic to your garden. This low water plant is native to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, and can be found in a variety of colors including orange, yellow, red, and pink.
The Bird of Paradise is relatively easy to care for and will thrive in well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. With proper care, this beautiful plant can reach heights of 6-10 feet tall.
The flowers are available from summer through winter and attract hummingbirds with their nectar. A member of the pea family, it has oval leaves with serrated edges.
Dudleya species (Live Forever)
The Dudleya is a drought-tolerant succulent that is perfect for those who want beautiful, low-maintenance plants in their garden. These sun-loving succulents are native to California and can grow up to two feet tall. They are perfect for rock gardens or as ground cover.
The best part about Dudleyas is that they are virtually indestructible and will thrive with neglect. They require very little water, so you won’t have to worry about over-watering them.
It’s easy to care for them by just giving them some light water every couple of weeks. You can also use the leaves to add an interesting texture to your arrangements!
If you find yourself too busy to water your Dudleya every few weeks, don’t worry! Like other succulents, it stores moisture from rain and dew inside its body.
Orchids are one of the best low water plants for your garden. They are easy to care for and don’t require a lot of water. Plus, they are beautiful and come in a variety of colors.
If you’re looking for a low water plant that is easy to care for and looks great, then an orchid is a good choice. You can place it near a window, but make sure there’s enough sunlight to keep it healthy.
You’ll want to occasionally fertilize the plant with some diluted fish emulsion as well as occasional feeding with a general-purpose fertilizer. The orchid will also need repotting every few years.
Sedum plants (Stonecrop)
Sedum plants are perfect for dry, sunny areas in your garden and they’re easy to care for since they don’t require much water. There are many different varieties of sedum, so you can find one that fits your garden’s needs.
Plus, they’re beautiful and come in a variety of colors! They’re also drought-resistant, so they’ll be happy with the drier soil in your garden. With the intense heat of summer coming up, these are the perfect low water plants for your yard.
Not only will they add color and greenery to your outdoor space, but they will also help retain moisture in the soil. You might want to take note of their light requirements as well: full sun or partial shade is recommended for these beauties.
Calathea Makoyana (Peacock Plant)
The Calathea Makoyana, or Peacock Plant, is a stunning foliage plant that gets its name from its beautiful, large leaves that resemble the tail feathers of a peacock.
This plant is native to Brazil and grows best in humid environments. The Peacock Plant is a low water plant that does best in indirect sunlight. To keep your plant healthy, water it about once a week and mist the leaves regularly.
Make sure to check for insects and pests on a regular basis as they can be detrimental to the health of this delicate plant.
If you are looking for an interesting way to display this lovely, exotic plant consider adding it in an office setting where there is plenty of natural light available.
Alternatively, place one next to a living room window so you can enjoy watching them dance with the breeze during lazy summer afternoons.