Growing Guide To Beat The Heat: Drought Resistant Plants

You are capable of growing and producing your own food, you just have to be knowledgeable on the conditions and care your plants need! Find out what grows well in your area and give your favorites love and a little less water some plants thrive in the heat!

If you find yourself in a location experiencing drought, here are some vegetables and food plants that thrive in low water conditions:

  • African basil
  • Arugula sylvetta – the small-leafed, intensely-flavored perennial arugula
  • Arugula
  • Chicory
  • Grapes
  • Cowpea / blackeyed pea – especially the varieties developed by Native Americans in the desert southwest
  • Cumin
  • Fennel – Produces fennel seed under severe drought conditions.  Bulbing varieties needs some irrigation to form the succulent stems we call “fennel bulbs”
  • Garbanzo beans – need water supply turned off once the pods form
  • Italian dandelions
  • Lentils – need water supply turned off once the pods form
  • Mediterranean herbs such as oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme, and lavender
  • Egyptian spinach- tolerates searing heat quite well
  • Low prickly pear cactus- has edible fruits and leaf pads
  • Nopales – both the paddles and the fruit of this large cactus are edible
  • Okra
  • Olive Trees
  • Pomegranates
  • Quinoa – source of the high-protein “grain” that is gaining in popularity, the young leaves are edible as a potherb
  • Spanish mint
  • Tomatillos, especially varieties from the desert Southwest
  • Watermelons, especially varieties from the desert Southwest
  • Heirloom varieties that were developed for drought-tolerant conditions.  For instance there are squash, bean, melon, and corn varieties that were developed by Native Americans in the desert Southwest.  There are drought-tolerant rice varieties developed over generations in India.
  • Certain medicinal herbs, like aloe vera, calendula, California poppy, feverfew, horehound, white sage, and yarrow.

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Low-to-moderate watering plants:

  • Artichokes
  • Bay leaf
  • Chili peppers – the hot kinds tolerate drought conditions better than the sweet/bell kinds
  • Citrus (lemons, oranges, tangerines, limes, grapefruit, kumquats) – most want to dry out between waterings
  • Fava beans
  • Figs
  • Feijoa / pineapple guava
  • Chinese date
  • Strawberry guava
  • Sunflowers
  • Some tomatoes – some of the wilder varieties of cherry and currant tomatoes are remarkably drought-tolerant


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