Keeping an attractive and lush looking lawn in drought prone areas can be easier said than done sometimes. However, there are a variety of drought resistant plants you can consider to help fill in your yard and move from a full grass lawn to a more decorative but drought hardy area.


Ferns are a unique option that can be extremely stylish as well as perfect for many drought prone areas. Many people might think ferns need high humidity and moist conditions, but this is not always true.

Hardy Fern

Durable and tough perennial ferns such as the South Carolina Hardy Fern, or Pteridopsida, is a great choice for partial shade areas. These ferns can also thrive in full shade and partial sun, and will mature to a maximum size of 3 feet.

Not only are these ferns very drought tolerant, but they are cold tolerant as well making them a great option for areas that get cooler winter temps or have desert-type morning and night temperature swings.


Ornamental grasses can be a great addition to any yard that needs a bit of something in a shaded area. Some grasses can reach an extremely large size, while others will remain small and very manageable.

Black Mondo

This grass has a unique deep charcoal color which is unlike many other grass plants. It remains small, reaching tufts with a maximum height of about 10 inches and does exceptionally well in full sun or partial shade.

Mondo grass is also known as Ophiopogon planiscapus, and is a perennial grass native to Japan. It’s an outstanding option for any spot that needs a dramatic and eye-catching centerpiece plant, or in an area where you need some bordering plants for defining specific areas of your garden or yard.

Leafy Plants and Flowers

There are dozens of leafy plants and flowering plants that do well in partial shade. If you are looking for something specific, such as a broad left vining plant or a clustering flower producer, you can find it!

Bleeding Heart

This lovely flowering plant known as Lamprocapnos spectabilis produces small arched stems with drooping heart-shaped flowers. They can be found in white or pink colorations. This plant is very drought resistant and perfect for partial shade or full shade areas.

Butterfly Weed

Perfect for areas where you want to attract beneficial insects and hummingbirds, Butterfly Weed is a great bushy perennial for partial shade or full sun areas. Also known as Asclepias tuberosa, this plant is a weed and may be restricted in some areas so be sure to check your local regulations before adding it to your garden.


Extremely common broad leaf vining or shrub type plant, Hosta can reach up to 5 feet in size and may produce pastel colored blooms. It’s great for both full and partial shade areas and does exceptionally well in drought prone areas, or areas where sandy soil won’t hold moisture for long.