Naturally, all flora requires water to survive. However, some hardly need consistent availability of water to survive thereby qualifying them the name: drought tolerant plants. They are the category of plants that can survive without water for months or even years of scarce rainfall due to their adaptation. With the variations in weather patterns and conditions across different terrestrial regions, plants in drought areas have adapted to survive the harsh climatic conditions of thriving without water.
Climate change and global warming have further made the plants much more tolerant by developing survival mechanisms for enduring dry conditions. Most of these plants can survive in areas with less than 25.4 centimeters (10 inches) of rain per year.
As evident from the survival tactics of the majority of drought-tolerant plants, some have developed thick leaves while some have very thin and need-like leaves to store water and reduce the rate of water loss respectively.
The majority of drought-tolerant plants also have deep roots that extend to great depths to reach the water. To get to know exactly the nature of these kinds of plants, here are the top 15 on the list of drought-tolerant plants.
15 Amazing Drought Tolerant Plants
1. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is a succulent plant species that first originated from the Arabian Peninsula and naturally survived in arid and semi-arid conditions. It also thrives in tropical climates. The plant has thick and fleshy leaves for storing water. As much as Aloe Vera primarily thrives in hot and dry areas, it can also survive in grasslands and the coastal regions. It is mainly grown for both agricultural and medicinal purposes.
Aloe Vera is also among the most known drought-tolerant plants in the contemporary world owing to its medicinal value and used as a key ingredient in various products like body oils, hair shampoo, bathing soaps, detergents, and pharmaceutical gels just to mention a few.
Studies, for example, have shown that Aloe Vera gel can help to limit the growth of harmful bacteria on fruits and vegetables, it can reduce inflammation, and boost the body’s immunity. It is also aids digestion by relieving constipation, prevents sunburn, and can heal wounds.
Agaves is a beautiful architectural perennial monocot that originated from the arid and hot areas of Mexico and the Southwestern United States. They take longer to mature hence the name ‘’century plant’’, but looks good throughout the year upon reaching full maturity. The plant has thick leaves for water storage and deep roots for absorbing water deep below the soil surface.
These are the features that make agaves drought tolerant and enables them to grow without much care. Their flowers, leaves, and stalks of the agave are edible. The sap of the agave also produces the agave nectar used as a sweetener and a substitute for sugar. It is also used in the lubrication process and can be distilled to manufacture tequila.
Bougainvillea is an evergreen thorny ornamental bush of the family Nyctaginaceae. It can also be cultivated in coastal regions because of its tolerance to salty water. It is a colorful plant associated with pink, purple, red, and magenta which makes it an excellent houseplant that can also be grown on walls, hanging baskets, and along fences. It is very easy to grow and maintain.
Portulaca is also known as the Moss rose. It is an annual drought tolerant succulent flower that grows in dry soil native to Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. Because of its succulent leaves and deep growing roots, it can survive without water for a long time. It is mainly cultivated as an ornamental plant because of its charming flowers.
Lantana is an evergreen and hardy tropical shrub native to the Americas and Africa. It is mainly grown for its colorful and fragrant flowers. Lantana flowers are usually very colorful during spring and summer but can also blossom throughout the year in warm areas. The plant does not need much care because it thrives best in dry and hot areas and can grow in any type of soil.
Thus, it is easy to grow the plant at home and even in pots. Plus, the plant usually attracts beautiful insects such as butterflies and hummingbirds, which makes it much more attractive. The lantana berries are edible but only when ripe. The berries can be poisonous if consumed green. The plant can also be used to make furniture because it is resistant to rain and sun damage.