Xeric Plants


Plants native to the southwest have learned to survive on little water, but they need regular year-round watering the first two years after they have been transplanted.

A xeric (ZAYR-ik or ZEER-ik) plant is one that has developed a number of possible strategies for coping with low moisture environments, such as

  • reduced leaf-size to delay loss of fluids to evaporation through the foliage
  • far-ranging or deep-delving root-systems for penetrating soil in search of water
  • grey-green or silvery leaves for reflecting heat away from the plant
  • growth-cycles timed to coincide with seasonal shifts in water availability

Even drought-tolerant trees, shrubs, vines, and perennials need some regular year-round watering for the first two years after transplanting. Watering is especially important in the fall because that is when most of a plant’s roots grow. During winter, keeping some moisture in the soil guards plants from stress, making them far more resistant to pests and diseases during the active growing season.

Read more about xeric plants in our Plant Library.