Do you love gardening but live in an area where water supply is scarce? Or perhaps you’re simply trying to reduce water usage to lower that high water bill? Drought-resistant plants could be the perfect addition to your indoor or outdoor garden.

Vegetables need water to evolve into the healthiest and most nutritious organic foods. Whatever your reason is for wanting to grow vegetables that can withstand heat and have limited soil moisture, these 10 plants will be sure to produce some great results.


Summer is approaching fast, and with less rainfall, building a water-conscious garden doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Using a sprinkler or some other irrigation system comes at a cost. Drought-resistant plants will take less water and still grow into healthy and fully matured crops.

Also, check out,  The Ultimate Guide To Companion Planting, 10 Reasons Why A Raised Bed Garden Is Better, and Benefits Of A Community Garden.

arugula on white background

1. Arugula

Arugula is also known as  Rocket and is a cruciferous vegetable from the Brassicaceae family, similar to vegetables such as kale, cabbage, and broccoli.

It is a great drought-resistant plant as it can tolerate periods of dryness and still grow quite easily. During times of extreme drought, the leaves of the plant will shrink to a smaller size and have a more spicy, peppery, and slightly tart flavor.

Note however that after being planted, these water-conscious plants do need adequate water to spread roots to develop and survive the harsh heat conditions. So don’t hold out on giving the seedlings water just yet. If there happens to be rainfall, still water the plants as much as it is necessary.

Chickpea plants

2. Chickpeas

Chickpeas are usually consumed as being a dry pulsed crop. It is a cool-season annual plant with multiple branches and will spread to other areas in your garden. It is also an excellent crop to grow in the dry climate and this occurs because of the deep taproots.

The roots extend deep into the soil and are able to extract all the water they come in contact with. They produce greater yields in the dry conditions than during the rainy season.

This occurs because too much water is in the soil leading to the plants becoming diseased and stem lodging issues from too much vegetable growth.

They have an 85% germination rate and do not need to be treated with any form of fungicide or insecticide.

To grow well it needs nutrients such as phosphorus, potassium, and other micronutrients that exist in the soil which is commonly required among other legume crops in that field.

They do not compete very well with weeds and must be planted where no major weed problems frequent.

Corn plants in the field

3. Corn

Corn is considered to be a starchy vegetable commonly referred to as a grain or fruit due to how it is grown. It can be classified as a drought-resistant plant as in the late stage, it can go days or even weeks without water.

To secure a high yield, during the early stages of its growth they do need to have adequate water of up to an inch when the soil is dry to touch.

It requires very little care and has long leaves that stem from a wooden cane stalk. The foliage displays a yellow or cream-like color and the borders are green.

When it is time to hydrate, pour the water very close to the base of the plant so the shallow root may absorb as much as possible.

If you are overwatering, the first sign will be the leaves that become yellow. So, reduce the water you pour to a smaller quantity.

Another great benefit of growing corn is that it does not yield to pests very easily. If it does, take a small amount of dish soap and water to spray over the plant to limit the problem.

eggplant plant for drought

4. Eggplant

Eggplant, aubergine, or brinjal is quite the tricky plant to grow in extremely dry periods.

They are known to require up to an inch of consistent water per week but if established will survive with a lot less hydration.

A variety of eggplant that thrives in heat and with low watering is the Ping Tung Eggplant. It produces eggplants of a long and skinnier nature and this vegetable doesn’t need much water to yield.

For your vegetables to turn out healthy, however, they do need to be grown in moist soil. It prefers nitrogen, as well as phosphorus and potassium at modest levels.

Other water-conscious eggplants include the Rosa Bianca and the Listada de Gandia. Note that since eggplant can withstand drought does not mean it should not be watered.

If there are prolonged periods without water, the yield may suffer from severe drought stress.

mustard green plants in garden

5. Mustard Greens

Mustard greens are a vegetable that comes from the mustard plant Brassica juncea. They are a part of the Brassica family that contains collard greens, kale, and broccoli.

Its leaves are a dark green color with white stalks that look like celery. They are quite adjustable to being grown in containers and raised bed gardens which is an excellent choice as well as directly in-ground.

The key to cultivating drought-tolerant mustard greens is to avoid frequent brief spurts of irrigation that cause shallow roots. Roots will develop deeper and be able to withstand dry times with less frequent and more thorough watering.

okra plant

6. Okra

Trying to cut back on water usage? Try planting okra in your garden. It is a warm-season plant that thrives well in sunny and extra warm weather.

Okra is admired by many gardeners for its ability to withstand drought in comparison to several other vegetables. To prevent the roots from rotting, plant the seeds when the soil is warm to an estimated 65˚ to 70˚ F and after frost has passed to more sunny days.

To get a healthy yield mix compost and other organic matter into fertile and well-drained soil that has a neutral Ph of 6.5 and 7.0.

The sprouts grow very delicate taproots that need adequate watering to get stronger. In the early stages, growth may seem rather slow, but as the summer becomes scorching hot it will grow faster.

hot pepper in garden

7. Pepper

Hot peppers in particular can tolerate long warm periods of drought. This makes them excellent for months when the sun is just as hot as it tastes.

They enjoy dry soil, so clay type that becomes soggy with little rainfall is not recommended for use. Adequate water is needed for it to produce a large number of peppers during the harvest.

A drip irrigation system can be used to conserve water while ensuring the soil has enough moisture. With too much water the leaves on the tree will slowly wilt and this impacts the fruits causing them to fall off.

sweet potato plant

8. Sweet Potato

Sweet potato is a dicotyledonous plant belonging to the morning glory family. They are underground tubers that have a distinctively starchy and sweet flavor with a creamy texture.

The root vegetable has an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, potassium, beta carotene, and other compounds. They are fairly tolerant of dry soil once it is provided with even moisture. It is known to be drought-tolerant and other varieties have been grown to possess that ability.

They include the Cricket Gill and Hucky varieties. Their prolific roots system makes them able to survive on limited access to water but always remember that during the final three to four weeks, they’re not to be hydrated. This is to prevent the mature tuber from splitting. During the first stage of planting, provide enough water to help develop the roots for healthier crops.

Swiss chard growing in drought

9. Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable that is cultivated by the Flavescens Group. It belongs to the Chenopodioideae family, which includes spinach and beets. It has large, tender, and fleshy green leaves and stalks that are thick and crisp.

It appreciates soil that is moderately fertile, well-drained, and has a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Not only does it have drought-resistant qualities, but it is also heat resistant.

However, if the chard plant becomes too dry, it might develop a much harsher flavor. It is a water-conscious vegetable but be advised to grow them in locations where droughts aren’t as severe.

squash in the garden

10. Squash

For plants that germinate fast, be sure to add squash to your collection. Winter and summer squash are both great vegetables to add to your drought-tolerant garden.

They enjoy 6 hours or more of sunlight per day and with well-drained soil rich in compost, will grow quite healthy. Ensure to water the seedlings with 1 inch of water per week. As the plant becomes mature, it has more tolerance for dry weather.


I hope this information was helpful to identify a few of the drought-resistant plants that grow well in warm and cool climates. Continue to frequent my website for loads more interesting posts on gardening, vegan recipes, and lifestyle.

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