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Drought Tolerant Plants for a Florida-Friendly Landscape – Zone 9

Are you getting spring planting fever? Consider choosing drought tolerant plants for your landscape.

Selecting drought tolerant plants for your yard will ensure an aesthetically pleasing landscape that can survive dry periods in the spring and fall. These plants can be native or non-native and trimmed to their natural form or shaped for a manicured look. Keep in mind that even drought tolerant plants need regular water until well established.

So what exactly does drought-tolerant mean?

Drought-tolerant plants require less water. They can survive dry periods without suffering major damage. Physiologically, plants under drought have adaptation techniques, such as stomatal closure or change in leaf orientation. Some plants, such as turfgrasses, go into dormancy when stressed with lack of water and then return to normal when water conditions are favorable. Drought tolerance is not to be confused with soil moisture tolerance, for example bald cypress trees can tolerate extremely wet conditions as well as dry conditions.

What are some examples of drought tolerant plants in zone 9?

There are a number of plants that can tolerate drought in Central Florida. These include annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees. A short list with a few featured plants is below. Detailed plant information can be found online in the Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM Guide to Plant Selection and Landscape Design.

Annuals and Perennials

Blue daze flowering

Some drought tolerant annuals and perennials include: aloe, blue daze, bush daisy, coontie, cardboard plant, lantana, rosemary, passionvine, shore juniper, butterfly milkweed, coreopsis, black eyed susan, purple coneflower, beach dune sunflower, blanketflower, portulaca, salvia, lavender, gaura, gazania, spider lily, plumbago, society garlic, vinca.

Grasses

Many native grasses, like this Fakahatchee grass, have very high drought tolerance

Many grasses, especially native grasses, are drought tolerant. Cordgrass, muhly grass, fakahatchee grass, lovegrass, and crown grass all have high drought tolerance.

Shrubs
coral bean

Flower of a native coral bean shrub

Shrubs are great for low-maintenance landscapes. Once established, drought tolerant shrubs can survive off rainfall alone in many Florida landscapes. Walter’s viburnum, Simpson’s stopper, podocarpus, sweet almond bush, Texas sage, yucca, agave, beautyberry, golden dewdrop, coral bean, firebush, jatropha, lyonia, oleander, pittosporum, chaste tree, indian hawthorne, bougainvilla.

Palms

European fan palm

Palms, such as European fan palm, jelly palm, sabal palm, sago palm, date palms, and saw palmetto have wind, heat, and drought tolerance.

Trees

Edible fruits on a loquat tree

Live oak, pine, cypress, cedar, elm, Japanese blueberry, loquat, many hollies, seagrape, and bottlebrush are just a few of the many drought tolerant trees for your Florida-Friendly landscape in Central Florida.

Resources

Twenty-Two Ideas for a Low-Care, Low-Cost Landscape

Frequently Asked Questions about Landscape Irrigation for Florida-Friendly Landscaping Ordinances