This Article is About
drought conditions
native plants
heat of the sun
How To Save Money With Drought Tolerant Plants
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How to Save Money With Drought Tolerant Plants

Water. It's the single most important feature plants need to survive. During excessive heat spells and times of water rationing, providing that necessity can become quite expensive and sometimes impossible. With the rise of drought conditions worldwide, many gardeners are turning to water wise gardening and introducing drought tolerant plants to the landscape.

Just what is a drought tolerant plant?

A plant that can survive with minimal care during periods of low to no rainfall would be considered drought tolerant. Plants that are native to your climate and region are usually considered drought tolerant. They don't require pampering and watering every day because they’re designed to tolerate the climate they were born in. This does not mean they can be neglected and forgotten: they are not drought resistant plants such as the cacti family. They still need watering once a week if the weather requires it.

How do they conserve water?

The most obvious way drought tolerant and drought resistant plants save you money is a lower water bill. These amazing conservation-minded plants are specially built to be water misers. Here are some of their unique features:

  • Extensive Root System -Many native perennials are water wise due to their long-reaching roots which allow them to search far down in the soil to access water.
  • Fat Leaves – This plump shaped leaf allows moisture to be stored..
  • Waxy Leaves – The shiny surface of a waxy leaf reflects the glare of the sun and slows down evaporation. The waxy coating also helps seal in moisture.
  • Lacy Leaves -Another feature of some water wise plants is the small, lacy leaves that leave little area for evaporation.
  • Silver or Hairy Leaves – Silver hued plants usually are not really silver, but covered with a fuzzy surface. These small “hairs” help keep in moisture and also protect the leaf from the heat of the sun.

Native plants are hardier.

Another way drought tolerant plants can save you money is with their longer lifespan. They're much hardier than non-native varieties and will have a better chance of survival during adverse conditions. You can have a garden full of lovely gardenias or exotic roses, but if they are not indigenous to the area or climate, you will have to pamper them with your attention constantly. Exotics and non-natives are much more likely to succumb to disease, incorrect watering conditions and climate changes. Natives are scrappy and built to survive in their particular climate, able to prosper even in adverse conditions.

Drought tolerant plants still need initial watering.

There's one way gardeners can waste money when planting drought tolerant plants. Once these are transplanted into their new beds don’t assume they will take care of themselves right away. During the first month, all new plants need additional watering to allow growth of a good root system. They need ample water to give them a good start, then they can survive on one good soaking (about 15-20 minutes) a week if the weather dictates.

Save money with drought tolerant plants.

Why force a plant to grow where it naturally would not? Try a water wise garden with native drought tolerant plants. These plants help you save money because they're hardier, require less maintenance and have naturally built-in water conservation features. Exchange water guzzling flowers with drought tolerant water sippers and see how easy gardening can be.


Street Talk

These plants are really cool. There are so many different types of plants. I am glad you can tell them apart and share them with us!

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Always nice when the number one author of SA stops by to write a comment. thanks Shawn.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

I have some kale and mizuna growing in a cold frame. Although there have been more than a few days well below freezing and most nights now, they are still plodding along. The problem is I have never tried this before and as they get so little sun at this time of the year and grow so slow I have no idea about how often to give them water. Had any experience with cold frames?

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Hi Jim. good for you using a cold frame. Yes, they may not grow to much over winter but even if dormant, they'll be healthy and ready to go come spring time. You'll really be glad you tried the cold frame then. If you haven't gotten much precipitation, they still will need some watering - but not much due to their dormant state.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Really cool, I had no idea that the waxy leaves i see on some plants served to slow down evaporation and seal in moisture. I am curious tho about some of the plants are they still really pretty and do they have a nice fragrance?

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Tropical-type flowers are more colorful and showy than the native flowers of my region and would not be considered drought tolerant for my area. many of the native flowers for my region are still bright and colorful and often fragrant, but the exotics (tropical and not drought tolerant) are definately more show-stopper.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

fair enough but the drought ready plants are still colorful in their own way right? I just don't want a cactus garden

  
  about 9 years ago

Yes, there are some great eye popping colorful ones such as the Ice Plant.

  
  about 9 years ago

I just looked up ice plant in Google Images and WOW, they really are beautiful, please let me know if you ever do up a post that has some pics of the different types of drought plants.

  
  about 9 years ago

Great article Lisa, you have some detailed info here. Not much of a problem here in N Ireland with rain as it never seems to stop. If it does i will keep this in mind for my garden.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Ahhh, Northern Ireland where everything is so lush and green.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

I've found my biggest problem with plants has been over watering. I have a bougainvillea that I winter over in the basement and it's amazing how little water it uses

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Yes, more plants are killed by over watering than under. bougainvillea is gorgeous. Yes, if it's not getting all that extra sunlight, it doesn't use as much water. good thinking about over wintering it!

Reply
  about 9 years ago

So what you are saying is "Plants Need Water" Let me go see about watering some plants around here right now!

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Thanks very much for reading, Shawn.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
Dom Wells  

I like your "why force a plant to grow" line. It seems pretty obvious but then again we seem pretty good at trying to grow everything everywhere. How can I find out the best situation to grow something that I am interested in? ie, if it is really suitable or if I am just going to end up killing the thing

Reply
  about 9 years ago

I like this idea. I am always forgetting to water the plants. :)

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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