Are you looking to bring some life into your home with your favorite houseplants?

New Jersey is home to some beautiful weather and even better nature. Many of us would like to enjoy those with curated gardens, but this can be difficult. Dry summers can be hard to combat, especially with high-maintenance plants.

As such, it’s worth looking into drought tolerant plants. Aside from cacti or succulents, there are many gorgeous plants to choose from. This includes many that are native to New Jersey and a few that play nice with the ones that are.

Read on for a guide on getting drought tolerant plants in New Jersey and what to expect from them.

Define Drought Tolerant

It’s a good idea to clarify what drought tolerance is for plants. Right away, most people think of cacti or succulents. It’s true these plants are hardy and are capable of surviving in arid deserts.

They also come in a significant variety, many of them quite cute and colorful. Not all drought tolerant plants fit into that sort of category. Many plants get by in harsh areas for different reasons.

When we say drought tolerant plants, we mean plants that don’t need regular watering or rain. These plants love dry soil and can live almost in the sun alone. Some require a tiny bit of water, but others grow without needing that much.

There are many drought tolerant flowers that look gorgeous as well. You don’t need to sacrifice the aesthetics of your garden. You also don’t need to live in a dry place to benefit from drought tolerance.

These days people are busy and can’t always get around to regular watering. With increasingly hot summers, many of us are also dealing with water restrictions and a lack of natural rain. Drought resistance plants make a huge difference here.

They can survive long periods in-between watering, so you don’t have to worry. Some plants prefer their solitude because they grow stronger if left alone. Now that you know there are more types of drought tolerant plants than first thought, it’s time to dive into them.

Go Native

When thinking about any new landscaping or gardening project, you should ask this. Do you want to go native or try your hand and establish something unique? New Jersey has a cornucopia of gorgeous native plants for you to experiment with.

By going native, you help strengthen the local ecosystem in New Jersey. This is great for local flora and fauna, which rely on each other. Pollinators like bees and hummingbirds are great examples; you can help by planting more native plants.

Many of these native plants in New Jersey are also super drought tolerant. You can go to to find knowledgeable landscapers. For now, this guide will explore a few native options in detail below.


It would be an understatement to say that Asters are some of the easiest plants to grow. They are super drought tolerant and gorgeous when you have a spread of them in your garden. They’re native to the New Jersey region and are perennials.

As perennials, they’ll always come back next growing season as long as they don’t die. Because they’re drought and disease hardy, the risk of that happening is low. This means you can get many good years of blooms from Asters.

It isn’t uncommon for Asters to grow up to 8 feet tall, and they come in a variety of bright colors. These include lavender, white, pink, and purple. They love full sunlight, and you should expect them to spread out over 3 or 4 feet.

Their typical blooming times are in spring and autumn, so you can often enjoy their beauty.


Ninebark is another plant native to New Jersey. However, there are several species spread out across North America. The common ninebark is a shrub with clusters of white and pink flowers.

The name ninebark comes from the interesting bark of the shrub. The bark on the branches dries and peels off in strips when they’re mature, seeming to show many layers. It’s one of the best candidates for drought-resistant plants and can grow even in poor soil.

Those gorgeous flowers attract plenty of local pollinators like bees. The fruits of the flowers themselves turn into small red berries. Birds and local wildlife love these, and those berries last all winter long.


The interesting thing about yarrow is that it’s common across the Northern Hemisphere. It’s found in Asia, Europe, and North America. What’s crazy is that it wasn’t introduced to these areas but spread across these regions at the same time naturally.

This makes yarrow one of the oldest herbs found on earth. Humans have been gathering, preparing, and cultivating yarrow for millennia. We use it as medicine for wounds, colds, and headaches, and it makes a mean tea.

It’s also a fantastic addition to the garden for more than its vibrant color options. Aside from the typical white, it comes in pink, yellow, and orange. Yarrow attracts pollinators and butterflies from all over and grows super easily.

Of course, it’s drought hardy due to its deep roots. It also gives you good drought tolerant ground cover with its foliage. However, what makes yarrow special is its use as a companion plant.

Companion plants are those which help other plants grow better. Yarrow has anti-pest properties which can keep the rest of your garden safe. It also fights soil erosion, which can be a big deal in arid areas.

Yarrow grows to about 3 feet, loves full sunlight, and will grow in almost any type of soil.

Don’t Be Afraid to Look Outside New Jersey

While going native is admirable, you can think outside the box too. Many plants not native to New Jersey or the U.S. have nevertheless been naturalized here. Many are drought-hardy, attract beneficial pollinators or wildlife, and add beauty.

The only thing to remember is to be careful not to go for invasive species. Find plants that harmonize well with native New Jersey flora and fauna. The last thing you want is to disturb or harm what makes our local nature so beautiful.

Goumi Berries

One of the best plants to have in your garden are edible ones. Berry bushes of all kinds taste delicious, but establishing them is troublesome. There are varieties of blueberries and blackberries that are drought tolerant in New Jersey, but these are once they’re mature.

Goumi, on the other hand, is drought tolerant from the get-go. This berry bush comes from Asia and goes by several other names. In the West, it used to often go by autumn olive or cherry silverberry.

The reddish berries have a mixed sweet and tart taste, not unlike rhubarb. They have a very soft and edible seed and make for a delicious pie if you can get enough of them. The shrubs grow tall and wide, often 8 feet in both directions.

If you go for goumi berry bushes, be careful. There are a variety of ornamental varieties that don’t produce fruit and count as weeds. In some places, these get treated as invasive species.

To avoid that problem, look for specifically-named cultivars known for their fruit. These cultivars don’t just produce tasty fruit. They increase nitrogen levels in the soil, making it more fertile for the rest of your plants.

Russian Sage

Don’t let the name fool you. Russian sage comes from the steppes of southwestern and central Asia. As such, its natural range goes far beyond southern Russia.

This plant, known by its scientific name Salvia yangii, is a popular garden addition. The flowers are blue and purple and usually grow to be quite showy. Its fragrance is unique and attracts many pollinators.

It’s also a herb, hence sage in the name. It’s often used in salads, seasoning, and essential oils. There is also a long history of using Russian Sage in traditional medicine.

The plant grows upright up to 4 feet tall with distinctive square stems and green-gray leaves. Its flowering period goes from around the middle of summer into late October. Although drought-hardy, the winter will wilt it, so that’s something to consider.

Since it’s perennial, it will always come back, even with minimal care. Russian Sage also grows well in any type of soil, making it ideal for propagation the world over. The only thing is that it loves direct sunlight and tends to struggle in the shade.

Add Some Drought Tolerant Plants to Your New Jersey Garden

The best way to avoid dry spells ruining your garden is with drought tolerant plants. You can find some gorgeous ones that are native to New Jersey, as well as a few harmonious non-native ones. Knowing how wide your options are and what you can do with them is the first step.

Looking for more tips on cultivating your garden? Check out our other blog posts to discover more.