10 Best Drought Tolerant Trees to Grow in Your Garden

Drought Tolerant Trees

When you hear the word ‘drought’, does your mind wander to nothing but barren land? Think again! Even in the most unforgiving climates, your garden can be lush and beautiful with drought tolerant trees. In this article, I’m going to list 10 of the best drought resistant trees that will survive and even thrive in any environment – no matter how dry it is.

Join me on a quest to uncover the best drought tolerant trees that can bring beauty, protection and shelter to your garden in any environment. Not only are these trees hardy enough for dry conditions – they will also give your landscape an added aesthetic appeal!

A Story of Survival – Why Grow Drought Tolerant Trees in Your Garden?

Grow Drought Tolerant Tree

To truly appreciate the resilience of drought-tolerant trees, let me share a story with you. In the 1930s, a horrific drought and dust storms swept across the Great Plains of America, leaving behind mass destruction to crops and ultimately forcing numerous small farmers out of their homes.

Yet, amid this catastrophe, a few farmers were able to survive and even thrive during this time thanks to the mesquite tree (a drought tolerant tree). These farmers discovered that the mesquite’s deep roots were able to access water that was beyond the reach of other crops, making it a valuable source of food and forage for their livestock.

What do we learn from this? Drought-tolerant trees are not just a must for any garden – they also add aesthetic charm and environmental advantages. Whether you’re looking for the hardiest of all drought-tolerant trees, small ones, or shade varieties, there is an option out there that will suit your needs! Invest in some resilient plants today and both your wallet and our planet will thank you!

Benefits of Drought Tolerant Trees

Benefits of Drought Tolerant

1. Strong and resilient:

Drought tolerant trees are the epitome of strength and resilience, able to persist even in the most demanding environments. Not only do they need minimal watering while still providing stunning shade, beauty, and aesthetic value for your garden; but if you grow them successfully through these hard times too then you can really call yourself a survivor!

2. Require less maintenance:

True to its name, drought tolerant trees require minimal maintenance – so you can spend less time on tedious yard work and more time enjoying your garden with a refreshing beverage in hand.

3. Money saving:

These trees are an ideal way to not only save money on your water bill, but also make a positive contribution to the environment – since they don’t require as much watering. An eco-friendly and cost-efficient option that’s too good to pass up!

4. Sunscreen for your home:

Drought tolerant shade trees provide you with natural shade, reducing the amount of heat entering your home. This means lower energy bills and a more comfortable living environment, making them the perfect sunscreen for your home!

5. Bug off:

Some drought tolerant trees, like cedar and eucalyptus, have natural insect-repelling properties. This means less time spent swatting away pesky bugs and more time enjoying your garden bug-free.

6. Less fuss, more flowers:

Drought tolerant small trees can still provide you with beautiful, vibrant flowers without the high maintenance. It’s like having a high-maintenance friend who suddenly becomes low-maintenance – a rare and wonderful thing!

7. No more waiting:

They have a shorter growth cycle than other plants, meaning you don’t have to wait as long to see the results of your hard work. In addition to that, who doesn’t love instant gratification?

8. Climate change proof:

These trees are a smart choice in an era of climate change. They’re adaptable to a variety of climates, and they’re better equipped to handle the effects of unpredictable weather patterns. By planting them, you’re helping to protect your environment and your future.

So, you see, drought tolerant trees aren’t just great for the environment – they’re great for you too! So, go out there and plant some of these trees to experience all the amazing benefits they have to offer.

Drought Tolerant Trees Categories

Drought tolerant trees are ones that can survive and thrive in hot and dry conditions, with minimal water. They require no special care or treatment, yet can still pull through the toughest of droughts. These trees are typically divided into:

1. The Most Drought-Tolerant Trees

First on our list are the most drought tolerant trees. These trees have adapted to survive in the most arid of environments, making them the ultimate survivors in times of drought. Some of the most drought-tolerant trees include the mesquite, olive, and eucalyptus. These trees have long roots that allow them to access deep soil moisture, making them well-suited to survive in areas with low rainfall.

2. Drought Tolerant Small Trees

Drought tolerant small trees are perfect for gardens with limited space, as they provide both shade and beauty without taking up too much real estate. One great example is the desert willow tree, which produces stunning flowers and can grow up to 30 feet tall. The crape myrtle tree is another great option, with its vibrant colors and small stature making it a popular choice for urban gardens.

3. Drought Tolerant Shade Trees

Who doesn’t like a cozy shade to relax in, especially on a hot summer day? Thankfully, drought tolerant shade trees provide generous respite from the scorching heat, while also adding a touch of beauty to your garden. One of the most popular drought-tolerant shade trees is the mesquite, which is known for its wide canopy and ability to provide shade for large areas. Another great option is the palo verde, which has a unique green trunk and bright yellow flowers.

10 Best Drought Tolerant Trees to Grow in Your Garden

1. Eastern red cedar:

Eastern red cedar

This tree is mighty in its drought-tolerance, similar to the renowned Hulk of the Marvel universe. It can grow resiliently under extreme weather and soil conditions alike! Plus, it has an attractive scent that will make your garden feel like you’ve been invited into an exclusive spa resort. Reaching heights of up to 35 feet tall this magnificent gem provides excellent shade for all who seek refuge beneath its protective branches.

Growing requirements:

  • Hardiness Zones: 2 through 9
  • Soil Type: Best in well-drained soil; can survive even the worst conditions 
  • Sunlight Requirements: 6 hours of direct sun each day
  • Watering Needs: Lightly during dry periods only

2. Golden rain tree:

Golden rain tree

The Golden rain tree is the life of any garden party, growing quickly and illustrious with its ever-blooming yellow flowers and eye-catching bronze seed pods. It loves basking in the sun and can even survive drought too. However, be aware that it may just become too enthusiastic amongst other plants – so keep watch to prevent your garden being taken over by this lively “party animal”!

Growing requirements:

  • Hardiness Zones: 5 through 9
  • Soil: prefers wet, well-drained soil
  • Sun exposure: full sun
  • Watering: deep water every 10 days

3. Bur oak:

Bur oak

The Bur oak is a timeless tree with a rugged appearance that can withstand the harshest of weather. It has been around since George Washington’s days, so it’s verified through history to be an incredibly strong species. When other trees are wilting away in the heat, this one stands tall and proud – ready for anything! Plus its acorns provide nourishment for animals like deer and squirrels; essentially providing your garden with an outdoor pantry full of treats.

Growing requirements:

  • Hardiness Zones: 3 through 8
  • Soil: prefers well-drained soil
  • Sun exposure: full sun
  • Watering: Needs proper watering in the first year (per week). Once established, watering frequency is decreased.

4. Maidenhair:


Don’t let the enchanting appearance of Maidenhair tree’s lacy, frond-like leaves fool you – this species can withstand a range of weather conditions and is an ideal choice if you’re looking for a low maintenance tree. It loves soaking up the sun, thriving through droughts with ease! Enjoy its beauty all year round while saving your time and energy in caring for it.

Growing requirements:

  • Hardiness Zones: 5 through 9
  • Soil: well-drained soil sandy soil
  • Sun exposure: full sun
  • Watering: water during dry periods, especially in summer.

5. Mulga:


The Mulga tree is an Australian native with a wild and rugged look. These fast growing drought tolerant trees Australia are no less than tanks since they can take a beating from the hot sun and poor soil. As if that wasn’t enough, they can also grow up to 20 feet in height and provide excellent shade.

Growing requirements:

  • Hardiness Zones: 8 through 11
  • Soil: can tolerate any soil
  • Sun exposure: full sun
  • Watering: Although it is drought-tolerant, you’ll need to water it regularly to increase the growth rate.

6. Eastern redbud:

Eastern redbud

In the spring, witness your garden come alive with vibrant pink blooms of the Eastern redbud tree. This low-maintenance beauty has a deep root system which allows it to withstand even heavy droughts and its overall hardiness makes caring for it effortless. Furthermore, you will be enchanted by the stunning pop of color this marvelous tree adds to any landscape!

Growing requirements:

  • Hardiness Zones: 5 through 9
  • Soil: prefers moist, well-drained soil
  • Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade
  • Watering: needs regular watering when young, otherwise can tolerate dry conditions when matured.

7. Mesquite tree:

Mesquite tree

Out of all the trees, this one is undoubtedly my favorite. The Mesquite tree originates from South America and grows at a moderate speed. What’s noteworthy about it is its capacity to endure extended periods of drought conditions – making it incredibly resistant! Moreover, it has an extraordinary appearance with its sheer branches and feathery foliage… not forgetting that you can utilize the beans for tasty meals in your kitchen!

Growing requirements:

  • Hardiness Zones: 6 through 9
  • Soil: prefers all types of soils
  • Sun exposure: full sun
  • Watering: deep watering every 4 weeks.

8. Cedar elm:

Cedar elm

If you live in a hot and dry environment, the Cedar elm is unquestionably your ideal choice for gardens. It’s an incredibly fast-growing tree that can withstand harsh temperatures as well as fend off any pesky bugs or illnesses. Therefore, it won’t be too taxing to maintain this sturdy species!

Furthermore, what makes these drought tolerant trees Texas even more attractive is that they can reach up to 70 feet tall, making it an excellent choice for providing shade from the hot Texas sun. It also produces small green flowers in late spring and dark green foliage throughout summer.

Growing requirements:

  • Hardiness Zones: 6 through 9
  • Soil: well-drained soil
  • Sun exposure: full sun
  • Watering: needs watering in the dry periods. Check the soil – if it’s moist, no need to water. But, if it feels dry on the top 2 inches, water it.

9. Western sycamore:

Western sycamore

If you’re looking for a tree that can handle the California sun without turning into a crispy critter,  the Western Sycamore is your best bet. These fast growing drought tolerant trees California are like the lifeguards of your garden, saving it from the depths of dehydration.

And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want a tree that can grow fast and save the day? So, if you’re on the hunt for the best drought tolerant trees for Southern California, the Western Sycamore should be at the top of your list!

Growing requirements:

  • Hardiness Zones: 5 through 9
  • Soil: moist, well-drained soil
  • Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade
  • Watering:regular deep watering (summer through fall)

10. Olive tree:

Olive tree

Are olive trees drought tolerant? Of course they are! Olive trees are native to the Mediterranean and thrive in hot, dry climates. They have long been cultivated for their edible fruit and are now grown all over Europe, North America, and Australia. These trees can reach heights up to 30 feet tall, making them a great addition to any garden or patio. Aside from being drought-tolerant, they are also resistant to pests and diseases, an added plus, isn’t it?

Growing requirements:

  • Hardiness Zones: 10 through 11
  • Soil: free draining soil
  • Sun exposure: full sun for 6 to 8 hours
  • Watering: weekly


Whether you have a suburban garden or an urban balcony, planting drought tolerant trees is the perfect way to add character to your outdoor space and reduce water usage. Not only are these types of trees easy to look after, but they also create a stunning atmosphere for you and your family to enjoy all year round! So, why not start today?

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