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Garden Guide: Drought-Tolerant Annuals

The summer heat is upon us, and that sometimes means that flowers aren’t getting as much water as they should. Luckily, annual flowers - those that live and die in a single growing season - are the quickest to develop drought-resistance. After four to six weeks of watering new ones every two to three days, some in-ground annuals can start to go weeks without water.

If you’re looking to liven up your gardens and planters with annuals, try any of these that are drought tolerant and don’t need much water to stay healthy during a hot, dry summer spell.


Zinnias come in many shapes and sizes, and are a great annual to add to your garden for lots of beautiful blooms. Bauhaus1000 / iStock / Getty Images Plus


Zinnias are great annual additions to gardens as they grow quickly and bloom heavily. Zinnia flowers come in many different colors, shapes, heights, and size - there truly is a zinnia for every garden!


Though its name doesn’t describe its beauty, strawflowers are a stunning annual that will add radiant pops of color to your garden. Schnuddel / iStock / Getty Images Plus


Though the name isn’t overly appealing, the beauty of a strawflower absolutely is. Resembling daisies, strawflowers grow in many different vivid colors. These also love the sun, and will grow to be between 2 and 3 feet tall


Commonly referred to as summer snapdragons, these easy to grow plants grow to be about 18 inches tall, and some people think their foliage smells like apples!

Dusty Miller

This planter features dusty miller - a silvery-gray annual. KIHWAN KIM / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Dusty miller

Dusty miller is a fun landscape addition, as it’s known for its beautiful, silvery-gray foliage. It can grow as tall as a foot, withstands summer heat, but likes to be planted in shady areas.


Geraniums are famous additions to hanging baskets. They love the sunlight and well-drained soil, and grow in many different colors.


Lantana is a beautiful multicolored annual that will add beautiful splashes of color to your garden. Dikti / iStock / Getty Images Plus


If you’re looking for a long-blooming beauty, this is it! Extended bloom time allows you to enjoy the beautiful, multicolored blooms longer than other flowering annuals. They are also known for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds.

Mexican sunflower

Mexican sunflowers add not only a pop of color to your garden, but also height! Growing to anywhere from 3 to 8 feet tall, mexican sunflowers can grow in poor soil and love the sun.


Cockscomb celosia grows in many different colors and produces beautiful wrinkled blooms. Tetiana Kolubai / iStock / Getty Images Plus


If you’re looking for a fun flower that grows in striking shapes and stunning colors, celosia is for you! Plume celosia grows soft flowers in red, yellow, pink, magenta, and orange; cockscomb celosia has wrinkled blooms that will grow in red, yellow, orange, magenta, pink, and bi-color; and wheat celosia, as its name suggests, looks a bit like wheat, with pink or reddish-purple flowers.


Resembling shade-loving impatiens, vinca is opposite in that it loves to be planted in the sun. Though not the showiest flower on the list, it is one that will stand up to some of the worst kept conditions - lots of sun and very light watering.


Marigolds love the sun and will bring warm splashes of gold, copper, and brass to your garden or planters. Shef-time / iStock / Getty Images Plus Marigold

Marigolds love the sun, and bring a beautiful wealth of yellow, gold, brass, and copper colored blooms to your garden. Look for African and signet marigolds to have the highest level of drought tolerance.

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