From agave to lavender, water-wise gardeners have plenty of container plants to choose from
1 of 14Andrea Gómez Romero
Hens and chicks
Easy-going sempervivums look especially beautiful in vertical, pallet planters or tucked tightly in small containers. Fitting for a drought, these perennials grow well with very little watering. Sprinkle just enough to avoid shriveling.
2 of 14Linda Lamb Peters
Rosmary 'Tuscan Blue'
(Rosmarinus offcinalis ‘Tuscan Blue’)
This edible, fragrant plant works well in large containers, needing just sparse amounts of water. Its flower-studded leaves stretch up to seven feet tall and two feet wide, so be sure to give its woody base plenty of room to grow.
3 of 14Jerry Pavia
Black spined agave
A small blue-gray agave is a welcome thing ― most are much larger. Modest 1½-foot size makes this drought-friendly species useful in containers, on patios, and in borders.
4 of 14Thomas J. Story
Mangave and Aeonium ‘Sunburst’
(Mangave and Aeonium ‘Sunburst')
Perfect for long-term, drought-tolerant containers, this speckled, hybrid looks gorgeous alongside the bursting Aeonium. The low-growing Mangave grows up to 15 inches wide, while Aeonium ‘Sunburst’ tops out at four feet, leaving sufficient space for groundcover succulents.
5 of 14Thomas J. Story
Those looking for lush, drought-tolerant shrubs will enjoy willow wattle's gray-green leaves and yellow seasonal flowers. Container-friendly, it requires little to no water and grows up to twelve feet high and 15 feet wide when untamed. Pair with a trailing wooly bush (adenanthos drummondii), or an attractive Aeonium arboretum zwartkop.
6 of 14Thomas J. Story
Common throughout the Southwest, this cylindrical knob boasts yellow flowers and 2-inch spines. Stretching just 2 ½ feet wide, barrel cacti can be planted liberally in water wise container gardens.
7 of 14Linda Lamb Peters
(Echeveria and Graptopetalum)
Craft a petite, tabletop centerpiece with low-maintenance rosettes. Between their shallow roots and lengthy water retention, fleshy succulents also make exceptional balcony buds.
8 of 14Thomas J. Story
Torch Aloe and Sedum ‘Lemon Coral’
(Aloe arborescens and Sedum rupestre ‘Lemon Coral’)
Dually drought-tolerant, aloe and trailing sedum form a colorful, complementary pair. Torch aloe’s 10-foot base casts a tall frame above the sedum’s low-growing, fleshy stems.
9 of 14Thomas J. Story
Phormium ‘Maori Queen’ and Blue Chalksticks
(Phormium ‘Maori Queen’ and Senecio mandraliscae)
The Phormium’s apricot-colored, evergreen leaves nestle well in small spaces. Surround the three-foot high strands with an icy blue succulent for an eccentric, low water combination.
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This California native brings a wildflower look to any container. Its vibrant, red flowers grow just over two feet high and 12 inches wide. Known for attracting hummingbirds, this long, slender plant makes a great addition to drought-tolerant designs, as it survives solely on seasonal rainfall.
11 of 14Thomas J. Story
Slow to grow, the felt-like, copper succulent takes full sun and moderate water. While it can grow as high as six feet, the water wise option is often at lower heights, dwelling in containers.
12 of 14Linda Lamb Peters
Lavender ‘Goodwin Creek Grey’
(Lavandula ‘Goodwin Creek Grey’)
This bird, bee, and butterfly magnet grows up to four feet wide and three feet high. For optimal growth, plant in large containers, and water moderately.
13 of 14Linda Lamb Peters
A symbol of the golden state, this low water, native perennial makes a fine potted plant. Its orange, satiny petals often inhabit California mountains, but generally grow just 12 inches high and 1 1/2 feet wide.
14 of 14Thomas J. Story
(Sedum spurium ‘VooDoo’)
Small, rounded burgundy leaves cover this quick-spreading, low water succulent from the Caucasus. Its tiny, reddish flowers bloom in summer and thrive in small spaces.