Drought-tolerant perennials in Utah

Drought-tolerant perennials in Utah

This article about drought-tolerant plants in Utah is sponsored by Utah Landscapers.


One of the most common questions we get asked as nursery professionals is what are the best drought tolerant plants in Utah. Given our climate and altitude, plants must be able to handle cold, snowy winters and extremely dry summers.

The following perennials are just a few of the many drought-tolerant plants we have available at Landscape Supply. These are all full solar plants that can handle high altitudes, alkaline soil, excessive wind exposure, and secondary water use.

Ice factory

Nearby ice plant with purple and orange blossoms

Photo: Utah Landscape Supply

Delosperma spp.

This low-growing succulent works great as a ground cover, but can also be used in rock gardens or as a filler plant in rock retaining walls. It produces vibrant daisy-like blooms in a variety of neon colors throughout the summer and grows just 3 inches tall and 12-18 inches wide.

Blue oat grass

A shot of blue oat grass in pots from top to bottom

Photo: Utah Landscape Supply

Helicotrichon sempervirens

This grass has stunning blue foliage that provides interesting color and contrast to any garden. This grass is very similar in size and color to blue fescue, except that blue fescue tends to be more drought tolerant while also maintaining its blue-colored leaves in the heat of summer.

It reaches 12-36 inches tall and 18 inches wide.

Autumn Magic Stonecrop

Close-up of autumn magic in pots

Photo: Utah Landscape Supply

Lagos phone number.

Sedum (known by the common name “Stonecrop”) is a broad genus of succulent plants that come in a variety of sizes and colors. There are many different Sedum ground covers, but there are also many upright cultivars such as the Autumn Charm Stonecrop. The plant has beautiful, variegated green and white foliage and reaches 12-16 inches tall and 10-14 inches wide. It also produces large light pink flowers during late summer to early fall when most other plants have finished blooming.

Rose Marvel Salvia

Close-up photo of Rose Marvel's saliva blooming in purple

Photo: Utah Landscape Supply

Sage “Rose Marvel”

Sage often refers to plants of the genus Salvia, which includes many different species and cultivars including the well-known May Night Meadow Sage with purple flowers. Rose Marvel Salvia has pink rather than purple flowers and is a more compact variety measuring only 10-12 inches tall and wide. Like other salvias, it blooms continuously from spring through fall.

Sage Foreman Red

Close-up of Foreman's red sage about to bloom

Photo: Utah Landscape Supply

Salvia greggii ‘Foreman Red’

Another type of sage in the genus Salvia is Foreman red sage. This plant has tubular red flowers that attract hummingbirds and other pollinators and blooms from late spring through summer. They also have a more natural look and are great for mixed planting with other drought-tolerant perennials. It reaches 12-18 inches tall and 18-24 inches wide.

Golden Treasure Flower in Colorado

Close-up of Colorado Golden Treasure flower with a hand holding it

Photo: Utah Landscape Supply

Gazania sin

Colorado Golden Treasure Gazania is hardy and hardy and can handle cold winters and hot summers. It produces showy yellow, daisy-like flowers from late spring through summer. At only 3-6 inches tall and 12 inches wide, it is a great drought-tolerant choice for rock walls or for use as a border plant in small spaces.

Penstemons (beard tongue)

Close-up of Penstemons with soil and blue oat grass behind them

Photo: Utah Landscape Supply

Penstemon spp.

Utah is considered the Penstemon Capital of the World due to having the highest concentration of Penstemon species. Some species are only found in Utah and nowhere else!

There are many species of penstemon that grow as wildflowers in our mountains and deserts. It typically blooms in mid to late summer in alpine environments.

There are many different varieties with different colored flowers available in nurseries. Some common varieties are Rocky Mountain Penstemon, Wasatch Penstemon with blue flowers, and Red Rocks Penstemon with red flowers.

Pictured above is Firecracker Penstemon (Penstemon etone). This Utah native plant has tubular crimson flowers and is 1.5-3 inches tall and wide.

Flutterby Petite Tutti Fruitti Pink Butterfly Bush

Close-up of Flutterby Petite Tutti Fruitti Pink Butterfly Bush

Photo: Utah Landscape Supply

Buddleia x ‘Bodaras 13’

Many people love butterfly bushes but don’t have the space to grow them. The Flutterby Petite Butterfly Bush is a new dwarf variety that grows only 24-30 inches tall and wide making it ideal for small spaces. This variety is highly prized for its long flowering season and consistently produces showy purple flowers from spring through fall. It is also one of the best plants to attract pollinators.

Red coneflower salsa hat

Close-up of red coneflower Sombrero Salsa in a plant nursery

Photo: Utah Landscape Supply

Echinacea × “balsomide”

The purple coneflower, botanically known as Echinacea, is one of Utah’s most popular and widely used perennials – and for good reason! It is drought-tolerant, low-maintenance, and has showy flowers from mid-summer through fall that attract pollinators. However, many people do not realize that there are many different echinacea varieties that come in many different colors. The Sombrero Salsa Coneflower features gorgeous red blooms that add stunning color to any garden. It is only 24-26 inches long and 16-22 inches wide and has a more compact shape, giving it a sleek appearance. This variety is also one of the most drought and cold tolerant available making it ideal for Utah’s climate.

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This is a sponsored article brought to you by KSL News Radio in association with the advertiser. The advertiser paid a fee to promote this article and may have influenced or authored the content. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of KSL News Radio, its parent company or its employees.

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