We do not see a lot of the plants from deserts and dry climates in the Coastal Southeast. This is not due completely to issues of cold hardiness. It is possible to grow some desert plants outdoors in the Coastal Southeast by planting them in raised beds or containers of well-drained soil. If the soil drains adequately, many species will tolerate the rains and humidity of our region. Plants like certain agaves, dasylirions, prickly pears and yuccas are tough enough to survive in the ground in the right site. I water them until they are established and then leave them on their own, watering a little during extended droughts. I water my potted plants thoroughly once each week if rainfall is not adequate, allowing them to dry completely before watering again. Placing them under the roof of a covered porch or patio gives me additional control over the moisture that reaches them in winter when the plants' growth slows or stops.
In the following list are plants that grow easily in the Coastal Southeast and some that will grow here with some special considerations. This is one group of container plants that will still be alive when you return home from vacation. The Cactus and Succulent Society of America is an excellent source of additional information about these plants.