What are your favorite drought tolerant or drought resistant plants? Do you have any with beautiful flowers? How about landscape trees?
The biggest surprise in the requires-dry category for me is snapdragons. They have been reliably hardy here in Sparks, and actually insist on a pretty low-water regimen.
As far as favorite drought-tolerant plants, that's almost my whole front garden. I've learned the hard way that even cacti, agaves and yuccas need SOME water if they are put in the driest parts of the garden in Sparks. I grow lots of Salvias, Echinaceas, Sphaeralceas, Roses, Yuccas, Cacti, bearded Iris, assorted Alliums, Nepetas (catnips), Rosemary, Lavenders, Clematis viticella varieties...ohforgetit I try everything and kill some of it unintentionally. I build on the survivors.
Wow, I never thought Snapdragons would be low water. I was also surprised to see roses, echinaceas, clematis and lavender. Cacti are way too predictable and though reliable, usually not as interesting as the others.
With the exception of the vegetable garden almost all of our plants are drought resistant and lovely.They are good for Las Vegas and just look "right" here in a way that back east plants don't.
For bushes you can't beat the cassias. The australian ones are evergreen or evergray depending on which one you get and they are covered in beautiful yellow flowers in late winter and spring. In fact both my cassia phyllodena and nemophilia are blooming right now and probally will through the winter. Also the texas rangers, the leucophyllum varieties that bloom in the summer in respose to humidity. They have numerous flushes and during these are covered in purple flowers. When in bloom you just can't imagine anything better. The Yellow bells, Tecoma stans are very showy but I have resisted putting more yellow in my yard but seeing the apricot variety now out I think I'm going to have to find a place for it this spring.
For smaller plants the penstemons are great showy low water use plants. Our Parry's pen. gets almost four feet clear pink flower spikes in the spring. Spectacular. Most penstemons are spring bloomers but Baccharifolius is a small evergreen bush that blooms cherry red flowers all summer long. Also looking great in the summer and fall is Russian sage, Perovskia. It goes away in the winter but really handles drought and heat well. Also Salvia greggi which flowers spring summer and fall. Some varieties are better than others, my favorite for looking great in the winter and prolific constant bloom is called "wild thing."
Of course for trees the Palo verdes, Cercidium species, are so very showy. Unfortunately, my husband doesn't like the green branches so I have to enjoy them in other peoples yards but they are great. We have something that you don't see often here, a twisted acacia, Acacia shaffneri. It's only two years old in our yard but we love it already. Also we put a sonoran desert tree to replace our cork oak that died after the heat wave we had this summer. It's an ironwood, Olneya tesota which I hope will be hardy here. It is supposed to get lavender flowers in the spring while most desert trees flower yellow. For a really good deep green we have a texas ebony, pithecellobium flexicaule. It's evergreen, spiny, with fragrant fluffy yellow flowers in the spring.
There are so many colorful drought tolerent plants available to us here in Las Vegas I just can't imagine needing anything else.
Happy Gardening, Maria