Add Color to Your Western Fall Garden With These 6 Drought-Tolerant Plants

By Noelle Johnson, Houzz

Before you lament a fall season devoid of colorful fall foliage in the arid West and Southwest regions of the U.S., here are some favorite water-wise shrubs and trees that will add glorious color in varying shades of orange, red and burgundy to your arid autumn landscape.

Like most water-wise plants, the following do best in well-drained soil. The watering guidelines given are approximate and may need to be adjusted in response to variables such as sun exposure, soil and climate. In general, drought-tolerant plants do best when the soil is watered deeply and then allowed to dry out before the next watering. Plant in fall or wait until spring, and enjoy fall color for years to come.

western plants
Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting, original photo on Houzz

Pink Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) Native to the eastern U.S.



In spring and summer, this ornamental grass provides an attractive backdrop with its graceful green foliage. As temperatures begin to fall and days begin to shorten, burgundy-pink plumes softly wave above the green blades, and pink muhly grass takes center stage in the garden. Its color slowly fades to a lovely wheat color in winter. Plant it in groups of three, five or seven for the greatest effect.