Three Drought-Tolerant Herbs to Grow

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner



Want a beautiful garden, but don’t want to spend a fortune on your water bill? Many herbs and flowers are drought tolerant, yet delightful to grow.

Along with these six favorite xeric plants, here are three gorgeous herbs that require only small amounts of water but still deliver big rewards. 

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is a tender herbaceous perennial hardy to Zone 4. As you can see above, this flowering herb grows one to three feet tall in sun to partial sun conditions. In my garden, this pretty plant has morning sun and late-afternoon shade. Although feverfew isn’t picky about soil, the herb grows best in a rich, loamy dry soil. These drought tolerant plants started as a division passed along in the spring from my friend. Feverfew self seeds frequently each year, which provides lots more plants to share among friends.

This herb has a rich history as a medicinal plant. Recent laboratory research and clinical trials have shown that Feverfew is a prophylactic or preventative treatment for migraine headaches, according to Kansas State University Research and Extension. Make a cup of refreshing feverfew tea, using one teaspoon of dried herb steeped covered with eight ounces of just-boiled water for ten minutes.




Sage (Salvia)comes in many different edible and ornamental types of plants. Above is an edible Salvia officinalis ‘La Crema’ by Hort Couture (Zones 6 to 11). This variegated form of Berggarten sage has edible leaves that look pretty alongside asters, daisies and other perennials, even when the pretty, but rare purple flowers aren’t briefly blooming.

Shown in my garden, this sage is like other Mediterranean herbs that thrive in drought tolerant garden spaces. See more here. Plant your sage in average, well drained soil in full sun. These plants tolerate rocky soils too.  Sage also grows well in containers, particularly terra cotta pots that dry out quickly.

Be sure to add a few leaves of edible types of sage to your rich, meaty recipes, as the herb has been known for centuries to aid with digestion. Now you know why sage is added to Thanksgiving stuffing recipes!


Lady’s mantle


Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris) is a low-growing perennial (Zones 3 to 8) that thrives in dappled shade. The pretty scalloped leaves catch rain drops and make them sparkle. The greenish-yellow flowers look delightful in flower arrangements too. Lady’s mantle forms tidy mounds that are reminiscent of coral bells (Heuchera).

This carefree herb isn’t picky about soil, but lady’s mantle does prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil (5.5 to 7.5 pH). Although drought tolerant when established, this old-fashioned looking plant will need more moisture in full sun. 

Renowned for its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties, lady’s mantle is used in soaps and crèmes. For centuries, the herb has been used in Sweden and Germany to treat wounds and stop excess bleeding.  Even without these impressive medicinal qualities, this charming herb is worth planting in the garden.