Saving water is currently priority, however this shouldn’t mean doing without a garden. There are ways to establish a sustainable garden in drought conditions, and one of them is choosing the right water-wise plants.

When selecting water-wise plants, consider whether they’re compatible with your climate and rainfall pattern. Don’t plant shrubs or trees from winter-rainfall areas in summer-rainfall areas and vice versa.

READ MORE: How to Harvest Rainwater

water-wise plants


Look for plants that store water in their leaves, such as succulents and aloes. Also look for plants that store water in their stems, like the Sabi star (adenium) and spekboom (Portulacaria afra), or underground in corms or bulbs, for instance, the March lily and agapanthus. Plants with grey foliage reflect the sun and often have fine or hairy leaves which minimise evaporation so they’re usually more drought tolerant.

 These plants work well in dry conditions:


  • Cistus
  • Dodonaea
  • Plumbago
  • Rosemary
  • Westringia
  • Strelitzia
  • Carissa spp.
  • Coleonema (confetti bush)
  • Buddleja

READ MORE: 10 Vegetables and herbs for small spaces


  • Arcotis
  • Gazanias
  • Plectranthus neochilus,
  • Silver carpet (Dymondia margaretae)
  • Everlastings like Helichrysum petiolare
  • Blue daisy (Felicia amelloides)
  • Erigeron karvinskianus
water-wise plants


Bulbs and corms:

  • Agapanthus
  • Dietes
  • Tulbaghia
  • Asparagus fern
  • Pineapple flower (Eucomis spp.)
  • Clivia
  • Gladiolus dalenii
  • Watsonia
  • Dianella
  • Renga-renga lily (Arthropodium cirratum)

READ MORE: Grow bulbs in a bowl of water


  • Salvia
  • Pelargoniums
  • Mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria spp.)
  • Achillea or tansy
  • Bromeliads
  • Ballota africana
  • Gaura lindheimeri
  • Dusty Miller
  • Verbascum

READ MORE:Growing perennials

water-wise plants

Aloe vanbalenii


  • Aloes
  • Crassulas
  • Kalanchoe
  • Echeveria
  • Senecio spp.
  • spekboom (Portulacaria afra)
  • Bulbine frutescens

READ MORE: Potting up succulents


  • Lampranthus
  • Ruschia
  • Carpobrotus
  • Drosanthemum

Be water-wise. Keep your eye on our How To Save Water page as well as our Facebook page for more tips during a drought. For more ideas on how to save water during a drought, have a look at