• AGM plants

    AGM plants have been through a rigorous trial and assessment programme. They are:

    • Excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions
    • Available to buy
    • Of good constitution
    • Essentially stable in form & colour
    • Reasonably resistant to pests & diseases

Cistus x pulverulentus 'Sunset'

Sun-loving cistus are high on the list of drought-tolerant evergreens and C. ‘Sunset’ is not only one of the best but also one of easiest to find at nurseries and garden centres.Tending to spread with slightly grey-green wavy leaves, the magenta tinted flowers have a cluster of golden anthers in the centre. 60cm (2ft). H4.

Fremontodendron ‘California Glory’

Derived from a Californian and a Mexican species, this is the classic evergreen for a sunny south facing wall and known for its ability to cope with dry soil in such a difficult position. Its flamboyant 6cm (about 3in) yellow flowers often open from May until even October. Plants can be cut back in spring to control their size. 3m (10 ft). H4.

× Halimiocistus sahucii

A hybrid, this time between two noticeably drought resistant Mediterranean shrubs, Cistus and Halimium, it was discovered growing wild in France almost a hundred years ago. The result is a low, unexpectedly hardy, narrow-leaved, spreading evergreen with a long succession of golden-centred, pure-white flowers from May to September. 50cm (20in). H4.

Helichrysum petiolare ‘Limelight’

This is an invaluable plant. Mostly used in containers, and not hardy in soggy soil, it’s the spreading habit and the soft chartreuse foliage which is the big appeal. And not only does it grow in dry conditions, but it needs dry conditions to get through the winter: under an overhanging south-facing bay window is ideal. 45cm (18in). H3.

Lavandula angustifolia Miss Muffet (‘Scholmis’)

Lavenders are amongst the most reliable of drought tolerant shrubs and there’s a rapidly increasing range available. Miss Muffet is unusually neat and compact, with narrow greyish-green leaves, and the impressively prolific spikes of violet-blue flowers sit low over the foliage in summer. Makes fine low edging with a strong aroma. 30cm (12in). H5.

Lupinus arboreus

Originally from the Californian sand dunes - so it can certainly cope with dry soil - this broad, mound-forming evergreen features neatly lobed leaves which make an attractive background for the 25cm (10in) spikes of fragrant, two-tone yellow flowers. Not long-lived, and often resents pruning, but usually self sows, especially in gravel. 1m (40in). H4.

Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’

The combination of upright stems lined with prettily divided silvery foliage, the crowded plumes of violet-blue flowers which open from August onwards and the plant’s ability to grow in a range of dry soils without complaint explain its popularity. It’s also a good cut flower – and of course it takes drought in its stride. 1.2m (4ft). H5.

Spartium junceum

The mass of fragrant, bright yellow, pea flowers, which top the shoots from August into autumn, is its main feature and, although deciduous, its bright green stems give it an unexpectedly colourful winter look. It thrives in poor conditions, in fact the best looking specimens are usually in dry, exposed situations. 2m (6½ft). H5.

Ulex europaeus ‘Flore Pleno’

'Kissing’s out of season when gorse is out of bloom', as the old saying goes. Yes, it flowers in just about every month of the year, with its main display in spring, but the rich yellow flowers of this form are double so each lasts longer than usual to enhance the display. Best in acid soil with all day sunshine. 1.2m (4ft). H4.

Yucca filamentosa ‘Color Guard’

Usually classified with shrubs, although forming an evergreen stemless rosette, ‘Color Guard’ features slender foliage with a broad yellow central stripe running the length of each leaf. The result is dramatic and enhanced by a tower of large white bells in July and August. Insists on sun, good on dry slopes. Rosette length - 75cm (30in), flower spike length - 1.5m (5ft). H5.


The Garden Podcast

Listen now

A peek behind the scenes at The Garden magazine with exclusive interviews, gardening advice and more.

Listen now

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.