written by Shannon Lubin, Region 10 Nursery Direct Sales Account Manager

Agave Blue Flame

Agave “Blue Flame” (80274-)

PF = Low/Very Low, IG = 2

This bold yet graceful agave has become so popular with designers and landscapers that nurseries can barely keep them in stock. The name ’Blue Flame’ references its blue cast and the effect produced by the graceful, tapering leaves that look like a gas flame. Needs good drainage and some shade in the hotter inland valleys to prevent sunburn.

drought tolerant plants

Limonium perezii (68476-)

PF = Low/Medium, IG = 2

Very long flowering period; pumps out large purple blooms on 2’ stems from early Spring all the way thru Summer. Older flowers remain attractive and fade to light lavender while new blooms appear with machine like regularity, creating a lovely two toned effect. Needs low to moderate supplemental irrigation. Foliage grows to 12-18” with flower stalks reaching 2’. Easy to grow.

drought tolerant plants

Lampranthus aurantiacus (68197-)

PF = Low/Very Low, IG = 2

Always popular with Mid-Century modern designers, ice plant has gone mainstream as we head into the fourth year of this historic drought. Produces vibrant orange, yellow and pink flowers in late winter and early spring. Makes a great weed suppressing succulent groundcover year round. Great planted in large swaths for a brilliant, long lasting display.

drought tolerant plants

Bougainvillea sp. (62220– depending on cultivar and form)

PF = Low/Very Low, IG = 2

If you fear “low water” actually means dry, unappealing and desert-like, fear not. Bougainvillea , with its lush tropical blooms, is actually an excellent xeric addition to a water-wise landscape. Once established, Bougainvillea requires minimal supplemental watering to bloom and thrive. This iconic Southern California plant is widely grown in a variety of forms and colors. Readily available, easy to grow and astonishingly drought tolerant.

Drought Tolerant Plants

Agave desmetiana ‘Variegata’ (79283-)

PF = Low/Very Low, IG = 2

Fleshy sculptural leaves with bright gold margins. Urn shaped. Has tiny, virtually harmless, teeth along the margins. Takes full sun. Suckers from the bottom to make colonies but can easily be kept solitary to better appreciate the outstanding form. Requires only occasional watering once established. Great focal point plant. Also exceptional in a pot.

PF stands for “Plant Factor”, which is a way of assigning and estimating the individual water requirements of each plant type. Plants that have two plant factors L/VL, L/M, etc. are those that are adapted to regular winter moisture and reduced summer watering. For more information see: Water Use Classification of Landscape Species (WUCOLS)

All the plants highlighted in this publication are in Irrigation Group 2. We want to steer away from plants in Irrigation Group 1 which require supplemental watering all year long to appear healthy and focus on plants in Irrigation Group 2. Group 2 plants are often Mediterranean in origin, succulent or California natives well adapted to arid climates and a reduced summer watering schedule.