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Drought-Tolerant Shrubs

Examples of Some Popular Types

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11. Privet

Privet hedge photo.
David Beaulieu
Privet enjoys quite the legacy as a hedge plant. Commonly used as such in England, the bush was brought over to America to serve in the same role. Unfortunately, it is invasive in North America, so its popularity is slipping as many homeowners now seek substitutes.

12. Blue Mist Shrub

As my picture shows, blue mist spirea shrub has blue, airy flowers.
David Beaulieu
I barely water my own blue mist shrub at all here in New England, yet year after year it performs well for me. Sure, it would flower even more if I could remember to provide it with a bit more water, but I'm content to grow it as a low-maintenance bush that I simply prune a bit in spring. After that, I can pretty much forget about it. But in late summer, when most other bushes have stopped blooming, blue mist does not, fortunately, forget me, reliably putting on that misty floral display for which it is named.

13. Bougainvillea

Arid-region standout variegated bougainvillea has nice leaves, as my picture shows.
David Beaulieu
It's no surprise that this plant qualifies as a drought-tolerant shrub. Many of you who live in or have traveled to arid regions know bougainvillea well. The image that comes to my mind is one of a Mediterranean courtyard, its stucco walls scaled by a lovely bougainvillea. I occasionally see them in the North as container-grown plants, which give growers the needed flexibility to move these heat-lovers out of harm's way when cold gusts sweep through the landscape.

14. Mexican Bird of Paradise

View my picture of Mexican bird of paradise, a bush for arid zones.
David Beaulieu

Mexican bird of paradise is another drought-tolerant shrub that's more of a desert plant than a specimen suited to colder climes. I took the photograph you see on your left in Needles, California, near the Mojave Desert. The common name notwithstanding, this plant and the "bird of paradise" you may be used to seeing at your local florist shop are not birds of a feather: they're two entirely different plants.

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