Draught & Deer Tolerant Plants

Posted by Karen Mattis on Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 at 2:22pm.


Some general guidelines for the care of drought tolerant plants.

Following is the Burning Bush one my favorite accent plants.

SOIL - A good rule of thumb is to have approximately 6 inches of good top soil which will allow for moisture to be held giving the roots an opportunity to grow. It may be a requirement to add organic material to the soil to add nutrients, hold moisture, and protect from heat and cold during the summer and winter months. Adding coarse sand and or gravel  can improve drainage if the soil is too heavy.  

WATER - It is important to note that  the most drought tolerant plants require more water until they are established.  It makes sense that the shallower the root system, that more water will be required, approximately one inch of water per week.  Once the plant is established convert to a deep and less frequent watering which will cause the roots to grow deeper down into the soil.   As the plants begin to grow and thrive on their own, gradually decrease the amount of water.  

Following is the Vitex which is easy to grow and is a showy performer.  


MULCH - Mulch can come in the form of leaves, shredded bark which you can prepare yourself or purchase bags of different colors from your local nursery.  Although rocks, crushed granite can add an interesting texture to your garden design it should not be used around the draught tolerant plants because the rocks can damage the plants by reflecting the light and holding in the heat. 

FERTILIZER - It is recommended that fertilizer is applied sparingly on drought tolerant plants.  Check with your local nursery on how to best care for drought tolerant plants if you see discoloration.

Check your zone to confirm if the following drought tolerant plants  require additional care during winter and summer months.  

Drought Tolerant Suggested Plants

Astilbes - This plant comes in different heights and shades of pink, red, and white with feather like plums.  It is beautiful. Check your zone to see if this is treated move like an annual and should be planted in pots so they can be protected in the winter.

Blackberry Lily - is a bulb and part of the Iris family. The flower is a pretty orange.

Butterfly Bush - looks like the Vitex with purple spike flowers, however they are not in the same family.

Butterfly Weed - Available in Seed and Plants.  This plant brings all types of butterflies including the Monarch Butterfly. 

Daylily - Comes in many colors and makes for a lovely boarder plant.

Hollyhocks - The flower is a showy spike of multiple colors growing 4 to 9 feet.

Hostas - This plant has interesting leaves and shapes and likes the shade.

Candytuft - I have had good performance using seeds.  I have used this delicate flower and an attractive boarder.

Catmint - blooms a purple flower and is easy to grow.

Bearded Iris - May need to be divided after several years.

Yarrow - Is an herb with fern like foliage and grows about 3 feet with white or yellow flowers

Queen Anne’s Lace - This plant has a fern like leaf and a lovely white flower.  It is often considered a weed.  This plant can take over your garden if not careful.  It is important to cut back before it goes to seed.

Lavender - Available in Seed and Plants.  This is a herb and likes sun and a dry environment.  There are may varieties and can get to 2 to 3 feet.

Blazing Star - This plant is also known as gray feather and has white, purple, of magenta colored spikes. 

Blue Flax- 8 to 20 inches with a light blue flower.

Poppies- Come in different colors.  This is a beautiful flower.  

Creeping Phlox - This is a soft carpet of pastel colors often used in rock gardens.

Sweet William- grows 12 to 24 inches.  The flower looks like a small carnation, is very colorful, and has a lovey fragrance.  I like to use this in flower pots for abundant color.

Black-eyed Susan- have 1-2 foot stems with bright yellow blossoms with a black center.  They make good cut flowers.

Foxglove- This plant has a magnificent purple flower.  This plant is poisonous.  

A couple of my favorite bushes are the Burning Bush with brilliant red leaves - great as an accent plant; the Vitex which blooms beautiful purple flowers; and the Esperanza with prolific yellow blooms . Following is the Esperanza.  It is seen all over the Austin area.  It will freeze and if somewhat protected when it freezes, they will come back in the spring.  


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