10 Best Herbs for a Drought Garden

purple coneflower

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

No matter the location, lack of water is becoming more of a problem. However, there are ways to reduce your watering needs and still successfully garden with herbs. Here are 10 herbs that can be grown during times of drought.

  • 01 of 10



    The Spruce / K. Dave

    Tall and striking, mullein offers soft, fuzzy greenery and stunning yellow flower that towers above the rest of the garden. This would make a lovely focal point for even a small garden. Once rooted, mullein has no problem growing well in low moisture conditions.

    Mullein is also a friendly herb; it is easy to grow and soft to the touch. Children are drawn to the furry nature and unique appearance.

  • 02 of 10



    The Spruce / K. Dave

    With its beautiful (and edible) flowers, borage may be the best pick yet for a stunning dry location. When the leaves are small, they can also be eaten, and some say the taste is reminiscent of cucumbers.

    Borage does very well with little water. In extremely dry locations, you may find it is also easier to keep control of. Borage loves to reseed and become a part of your landscape.

  • 03 of 10


    purple coneflower

    The Spruce / K. Dave

    Yes, echinacea makes it to yet another list. Grow it as a backdrop to the rest of your herb garden, don't worry, it will require very little water.

    Don't just settle for pink! Echinacea comes in a rainbow of colors, from orange to white and ranges of gold, pink, and reds to choose from.

    Echinacea should be divided every three years, but if you have a smaller area to garden in, feel free to go longer than that and keep the spread in check.

  • 04 of 10



    The Spruce / K. Dave

    Sage is one of the easiest herbs to grow in a drought garden. It seems to disregard rainfall and keeps growing no matter what.

    Grow sage as a backdrop to your garden design; it grows large and bushy throughout the season and will fill out gaps in your garden. Not to be outdone, sage can also offer a pop of color in the garden. Salvia officinalis "Tricolor," offers bright and cheerful variegated leaves of cream, mint green, and pink!

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10



    The Spruce / K. Dave 

    Being a Mediterranean herb, Rosemary is a no-brainer as the perfect herb for a drought garden. Rosemary may have more flavor if the soil is dry as well, making it even more delicious when you use it throughout the winter months.

    Rosemary may not be the first thing to come to mind in cooler locations, but here's a tip: Grow your rosemary in a pot that is dropped into another pot in the ground. That way, it can grow and be lovely all season, while making it easy to lift and bring indoors before the cold weather arrives. You can then bring it right back out the following summer and place it back in its original location. Nothing could be easier!

  • 06 of 10



    The Spruce / K. Dave 

    Isn't it wonderful how versatile lavender is? Take a sunny space and well-drained soil, and you have the perfect place to grow this fragrant herb. Lavender can be grown as a hedge, or in pots. It makes a lovely spot of color for a garden that may otherwise lean towards green. Lavender is another herb that doesn't mind reduced water. You may find that it seems to smell even more wonderful. With its soothing smell and insect repellent ability, there is little reason not to include lavender in your drought garden.

  • 07 of 10



    The Spruce / K. Dave 

    If you are looking for a bright color that draws the eye in a dry garden, look no further than calendula. It is incredibly tolerant of lower temperatures and drought and is self-seeding to create a wonderful design of yellow to orange blooms.

  • 08 of 10



    The Spruce / K. Dave 

    Thyme needs a mention in a list of drought-tolerant herbs. It makes a lovely foil around and between taller herbs, and the taste is unbeatable in all your savory cooking. No matter what variety you choose, thyme is a fantastic choice that continues to grow long after other herbs succumb to lack of water.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10



    The Spruce / K. Dave 

    Dandelion is once again on a must-have herb list. Maybe if everyone knew how hardy it is during a drought, they might think twice about their feelings for this unassuming, cheerful herb.

    Why not be bold and grow some dandelion right in your drought garden? It may be the only blossoms that don't get cut down when an overenthusiastic family member gets out the weed whacker.

  • 10 of 10



    The Spruce / K. Dave 

    This historic herb deserves a place in your drought tolerant garden. Although it may not be a perennial in your location, the lovely flavor is perfect for cooking light flavored dishes.

    Try it is tea mixes as well, you may find it just the thing to create your favorite blend.