Kalanchoe Plant

I live in a semi-arid region in California. Technically speaking, based on the USDA plant map, I live in zone 10b which determines a plant’s hardiness based on temperature and rainfall patterns. Since our area receives about 15 inches of rainfall each year, some might say we are border on being a desert biome. This means that I can’t plant water-hungry plants unless I want to pay through the nose for water, and I honestly can’t bring myself to waste water on plants that just can’t survive in this kind of climate.

Local nurseries and home goods stores are starting to catch on to the trend of planting plants that will flourish under these conditions, some call it Xeric landscaping; finding plants that are native to the area. Since I still don’t own my own chunk of land, I’m learning which plants do well using container gardening to experiment with different varieties.

What I’m finding is that delicate flowers wilt under our blazing sun where blooming succulents thrive. I’ve pretty much given up hope on planting a garden of tulips, snapdragons, and pansies – they become high maintenance plants in a semi-arid region. Instead, I’ve found a few colorful succulents that are low maintenance, hardy blooming species that are just as colorful and pretty as their water-hungry cousins. Using pots or containers to test out different varieties is a great way to save money before planting an entire garden.

So far, my favorite low maintenance, drought-tolerant plants are Spanish Lavender, Feather Grass, and Kalanchoe. Someday, when I have my own little house, I’ll add these low maintenance plants to my garden.

Some additional low maintenance varieties for a semi-arid region:

  • California poppy
  • Broad-leafed Sedum
  • Hummingbird Trumpet
  • Black-Eyed Susan
  • Sea Pink
  • Desert Evening Primrose
  • Lily of the Nile
  • Sea Lavendar
  • California Fushia

Better Homes and Gardens has a terrific list of regional plants with gardening plans to boot.

Have you selected plants that grow naturally in your region?


  1. Well Heeled Blog Reply

    I don’t own a house (and therefore, no lawn), but when I become a homeowner I know I am going to do landscaping with native plants. It makes more sense for the environment, and definitely more sense for the budget.

    • @Well Heeled Blog – I love the native California varieties; they are so beautiful and very low maintenance. The frugalness and environmentally friendly aspects of them make them a great choice for landscaping.

  2. I absolutely love feather grass. It goes well with the region (I’m in SoCal too) and it just makes me happy to look at it. I live in an apartment so no planting for me, but it might be time to do some potted plants from your list!

    • @American Debt Project – You can plant feather grass in a large pot and it does quite well. I love it to, especially on breezy days!

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