GreenGrass Blog

Drought-Hardy Plants for the Tulsa Area - Zone 7 Lawn Care

Posted by Kathy Wilder on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 @ 09:11 AM

As I discussed in my previous blog, most of Oklahoma is under extreme to exceptional drought conditions, making lawn care difficult!  Tulsa’s ongoing drought, paired with summer heat, has devastated a lot of landscape plants and even some trees.  Many gave up on their gardens last year because they simply couldn’t keep up with the watering.  In 2012, we had 38 days over 100⁰ (9th highest year since 1905) and in 2011 we had 44 days over 100⁰ (6th highest year since 1905.)  None of this makes things easy in the garden.  


So it makes sense to look for some plants and flowers like those listed below that are drought-hardy for our zone 7 gardens.  As an added bonus, some are also deer-resistant and very attractive to butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.


Note: perennials are plants that come back every year.  Also, please don’t shy away from plants that attract bees.  They won't bother you!  Bees are wonderful little creatures that are critical for pollination, and their numbers are dwindling.  Planting plants that produce nectar to attract them will help keep their population up!

 indian blanket

Blanket Flower - Gaillardia aristata – also called Indian blanket.  Occasional watering will allow them to bloom longer; establishes easily from seed, and reseeds itself.

  • Perennial
  • Attracts: birds, butterflies and bees
  • Height: 24”-36”
  • Blooms:  Summer/fall
  • Full sun, moisture average to dry
  • Zone 2-10



crocosmia flowers



Crocosmia – also called falling stars or coppertips.  Grown worldwide, over 400 cultivars exist.  Crocosmia are lovely in cut-flower arrangements.

  • Perennial
  • Attracts: Hummingbirds and bees
  • Height: 24 to 36 inches
  • Blooms: summer
  • Full sun, moisture average to dry
  • Zone: 7-11




crape myrtle



Crape MyrtleLagerstroemia indica – lovely, low-maintenance shrubs or small trees that bloom continuously all summer.  Many, many varieties exist, so understand what kind you are buying.  Crape myrtles range from 3 feet tall to 30 feet tall at maturity, and colors vary from white to all shades of pink, lavender and red.

  • Perennial
  • Height: 3’ for dwarf varieties, up to 30 for others and all heights in-between
  • Attracts: butterflies
  • Blooms: Early to late summer
  • Full sun, moisture medium to low
  • Zone: 7-9

desert willow tree

Desert Willow - Chilopsis linearis – also called Willowleaf Catalpa or Desert Catalpa.  This is a small tree whose irregular shape can easily be pruned into either a small tree or a shrub.  It looks delicate with long, slender leaves and lovely flowers, but it thrives in heat!

  • Deciduous (leaves fall in the winter)
  • Attracts: Bees
  • Height: 5’ to 26’
  • Blooms: May-September
  • Full sun, moisture low to dry (can’t stand constant wet conditions)
  • Zone: 7-11

YarrowAchillea millefolium – this native species can be rather weedy, but there are many cultivars (cultivated varieties) that are spectacular in the garden and colors range from yellow to white, pink, orange and red.  Great for naturalizing, survives with little to no care.  Good for preventing soil erosion, good companion plant (improves health of plants around it) and leaves are a very good addition to the compost pile.

  • Perennial
  • Height: 8” to 36”, depending on cultivar
  • Attracts: Butterflies, ladybugs, predatory wasps that feed on insects like aphids & thrips
  • Blooms: on & off, early spring to late summer
  • Full sun, moisture low to dry
  • Deer and rabbit resistant
  • Zone: 3-9


LavenderLavandula  angustifolia – Beautiful aromatic lavender spikes are drought, heat and wind tolerant.  Tough plant!  And the leaves are evergreen.

  • Perennial
  • Height: 1’–3’; can also grow 1’–3’ wide
  • Attracts: Butterflies, birds, hummingbirds
  • Blooms: early to midsummer
  • Full sun, moisture low to dry – doesn’t like to be waterlogged
  • Deer resistant
  • Zone: 5-9

Topics: drought hardy plants for Tulsa, drought hardy flowers for zone 7