Drought Resistant Evergreens: Lush, Low-Maintenance

Drought Resistant Evergreens

Many places are facing longer droughts and water shortages as a result of climate change’s ongoing effects on global weather patterns. Because of this, maintaining lush, green landscapes that need regular irrigation and watering may be difficult. But there is a solution that ticks both the aesthetic and functional boxes: drought-tolerant evergreens.

As their name suggests, evergreens are trees and shrubs that keep their leaves for the whole year, adding a steady pop of color and texture even in the dead of winter. Although many evergreens are known to be thirsty plants, there are many kinds that are exceptionally drought tolerant and may survive with very little water once they establish themselves.

The best drought-resistant evergreen alternatives, their distinctive qualities, and ideas for incorporating them into your outdoor settings will all be covered in this blog post.

Top 5 Drought Resistant Evergreens

1. Junipers

A varied family of evergreen shrubs and trees, junipers are well-known for their resilience to severe weather, especially drought. There are many different juniper cultivars available, and each has a distinct growth style, color of leaves, and size.


One of the most popular drought-tolerant junipers is the Hollywood Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Torulosa’). This low-growing shrub features twisted, blue-green foliage that provides year-round interest. Once established, it requires very little water to maintain its health and vigor.

Another excellent choice is the Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum), a native of the western United States. This upright tree or shrub has a pyramidal shape and silvery-blue foliage that thrives in hot, dry conditions.

2. Yuccas

Evergreens with stunning architectural forms that thrive in arid areas are yuccas. Their towering flower spikes and sword-like leaves provide any landscape a striking, sculptural aspect.


The Spanish Dagger (Yucca gloriosa) is a particularly drought-tolerant yucca species, with rigid, blue-green leaves and clusters of white, bell-shaped flowers. It is a low-maintenance option that can thrive in even the harshest desert environments.

Another excellent choice is the Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora), which features spiky, reddish-pink blooms atop its tall, evergreen stalks. Despite its tropical appearance, this plant is incredibly drought-resistant and requires very little supplemental water once it is established.

3. Pines

While some pine species can be water-hungry, there are several drought-tolerant varieties that make excellent additions to water-wise landscapes.

The Pinyon Pine (Pinus edulis) is a hardy evergreen tree native to the southwestern United States and Mexico. It features a rounded, bushy shape and distinctive edible pine nuts. This slow-growing tree is highly drought-resistant and can survive on as little as 12 inches of annual precipitation.

Another excellent option is the Afghan Pine (Pinus eldarica), a tough, long-lived tree that can withstand extreme heat, cold, and drought. Its silvery-green needles and distinctive reddish-brown bark add visual interest to any landscape.

4. Cypresses

A genus of evergreen trees and shrubs that thrive in hot, dry areas is the cypress family. Once established, many plants are highly drought-tolerant and require very little water.

The Arizona Cypress (Cupressus arizonica) is a standout choice for its bluish-green foliage and pyramidal shape. This low-maintenance tree is a popular choice for xeriscaping and can thrive in areas with as little as 8 inches of annual rainfall.

Another excellent option is the Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), a tall, slender evergreen that adds a striking vertical element to any landscape. Despite its Mediterranean origins, this drought-resistant tree can adapt to a wide range of climates and soil types.

5. Texas Sage

Texas Sage, also known as Purple Sage or Cenizo, is a genus of evergreen shrubs that are native to the deserts of the southwestern United States and Mexico. These tough plants are highly drought-tolerant and require minimal water once established.

Texas Sage

One of the most popular varieties is the Texas Ranger (Leucophyllum frutescens), which features silvery-green foliage and vibrant purple blooms that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. This low-maintenance shrub is an excellent choice for xeriscaping and can thrive in even the harshest desert conditions.

Another stunning option is the Green Cloud Texas Sage (Leucophyllum laevigatum ‘Green Cloud’), which features a rounded, mounding shape and clusters of deep purple flowers that bloom throughout the warm season.

Using Evergreens That Can Withstand Drought in Your Landscape
Drought-resistant evergreens provide water-wise landscapes with a host of advantages, such as year-round color and interest, less upkeep, and lower water usage. However, while adding these plants to your outdoor settings, there are a few critical things to bear in mind.

First, ensure that you select plants that are well-suited to your specific climate and growing conditions. While the evergreens mentioned in this post are generally drought-tolerant, their water needs may vary depending on factors such as soil type, exposure, and local weather patterns.

It is also crucial to adequately prepare the planting location. In locations with thick, clay soils, try building raised beds or berms to further increase drainage. You may also amend the soil with compost or other organic matter to assist drainage and water retention.

Once your drought-resistant evergreens are planted, be sure to water them regularly during the establishment period, which typically lasts one to two years. After this initial period, you can gradually reduce watering, allowing the plants to develop deep, drought-resistant root systems.

Mulching around the base of your evergreens can also help conserve moisture and suppress weeds, reducing the need for frequent watering.

Finally, consider incorporating other water-wise design elements into your landscape, such as permeable hardscapes, rainwater harvesting systems, and drought-tolerant groundcovers or perennials. By combining these elements with drought resistant evergreens, you can create a beautiful, low-maintenance outdoor space that thrives even in the face of water scarcity.

To sum up, drought-resistant evergreens provide an environmentally friendly and aesthetically beautiful way to design water-wise landscapes that are resilient to even the worst weather. You may create a lush, colorful outdoor oasis while using less water and having a less negative impact on the environment by choosing the right plants and adhering to recommended planting and maintenance procedures.