12 great drought-tolerant plants
These unthirsty succulents, flowers, and grasses will thrive with little care — even on a roof
Agastache rugosa: Stems of glossy green, licorice-scented leaves reach 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide. This perennial from Korea has purple-blue summer flowers that hummingbirds love. Zones 4–24.
Helictotrichon sempervirens: Thin, blue-gray blades of this Mediterranean grass grow in clumps that reach 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. Blond flower clusters form 2 feet above foliage in spring. Zones 1–12 and 14–24.
Especially when that roof belongs to the much-lauded Margarido House, the first residence in Northern California to earn LEED-H Platinum certification. For this Oakland project, landscape designer Lauren Schneider mixed California natives that thrive in hot, dry conditions with plants that evolved in similar climates.
“I love the juxtaposition of the coarser and finer plant textures,” she says. “And I like to use the foliage colors as streaks and splashes.”
Design: Lauren Schneider, Wonderland Garden and Landscape (510/836-3990)