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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
'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.
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.