All plants require water, air, sunshine, and soil to exist. Native plants and some adopted plants have become efficient at accessing, storing and using water. Despite that, it is possible to have a very beautiful garden in areas that lack water. You can have a garden of drought-tolerant plants to solve this issue. These plants are regarded as xeric but once they establish, they will no longer need supplemental watering. More so, the leaves or foliage of these plants can be used to decorate your garden, making it more attractive.
When most people hear the term drought-tolerant plants, they only think of cactus, not knowing there are colorful grasses, shrubs, and flowering vines that are drought resistant plants as well. At The Landscape Expert, we will transform your yard into the envy of your whole neighborhood using drought-tolerant foliage. Our services are available to everyone in the Orange County area.
Drought Tolerant Landscaping
Drought-tolerant can be defined as the degree to which a plant becomes adjusted to dry conditions. The name drought-tolerant is most often perceived to mean desert-like or dry, but this description is inaccurate. Plants that naturally adapt to arid conditions are known as xerophytes.
A major part of California is a desert and needs considerate drought-tolerant landscaping to sustain a great looking yard. For homeowners around the desert areas of California, scarcity of rain may cause major destruction on their yards.
Most towns and cities in California have tough rules on the use of water, putting a stop to water overuse on yards and for other purposes that aren’t essential. To avoid getting in trouble with the law, homeowners in California have sought to use drought-resistant landscape to make beautiful yards.
Drought-resistant landscaping comprises of several options, for example, making use of natural elements, using certain plants and innovative design. Combining these elements will transform your yard into a lawn, maintaining the good look all year round.
Two major things to put into consideration when drought-resistant landscaping are:
- To make use of elements and plants that require little water;
- Creating spaces that will naturally water your shrubs, trees, and additional
Drought-tolerant landscaping can be done on your outdoor living space including pathways, lawn substitutes, patios, and pool areas. First, learn if a particular plant will be suitable for your region before implementing your landscape idea.
Caring for Drought Tolerant Plants
Drought-tolerant plants also need water to establish; but once established, they are able to persevere for long without water. They can go for a number of weeks or even an entire season between deep watering. They can flourish on less water than we are used to providing them. You can water the plants deeply for the season or two then reduce the amount of water. Factors like weed control, soil conditioning, and mulches also assist drought-tolerant plants to flourish. Ensure the soil is in good condition, then mulch and weed your plants. Nasty weeds usually absorb water very fast.
By doing these, your drought-resistant plants should grow beautifully, and eventually, the drought-tolerant foliage will be more appealing.
Ways to Eliminate the Use of Water
The following are some ideas on how to eliminate the use of water on lawns to provide an excellent environment for your drought-tolerant foliage:
- Establishing natural elements that produce garden effects. Examples of natural elements include pebbles, large rocks, which are used to design gardens that do not require plants.
- Using gravity and creating a design that will allow water to flow naturally to the plants when it rains. This can be done by creating tiered flower beds that will hold water or planting shrubs and plants on a slope.
- Installing an artificial grass lawn. There are many types of unnatural grass that feel and look natural. Artificial grass remains green throughout and it’s an option that costs very low to maintain.
- Installing pavers, stones, and walkways all over your space. This will provide a fascinating central point and implies there is less yard requiring water.
How to Make a Plant Become Drought Tolerant
Plants which are irrigated frequently, for example, during lawn irrigation, become shallowly rooted, thus depend on constant watering. However, inconsistent but deep watering in the first year will stimulate deep rooting. This watering will help a plant that isn’t drought-tolerant to become so. Deep roots allow a plant to reach deeper into the earth to get the needed water, therefore, helping the plant become drought-tolerant.
Plants which are shallow-rooted cannot reach into the earth to get water. Therefore, they depend on water that is available near the surface of the soil, which is much drier.
Gardening Practices that will Help Plants Become Drought Tolerant
Developing a drought-resistant landscape design needs a lot of thought and research but the outcome is superb. The good thing is it is cheap to maintain as well. Besides drought-tolerant plants, a large number of landscape plants, once established, are comparatively drought-tolerant.
The following gardening practices will assist plants to become drought-tolerant or grow well with less water:
- Installing soaker hose or drip irrigation systems
- Prepare the soil prior to planting, to make it easier for the roots to grow. Preparing the soil will increase water holding capacity and air spaces, allowing the roots to breathe
- Water the soil where the roots actually are right now for each and every plant on the ground
- Water to saturate the entire root zone of the plant. Ensure the water penetrates through the upper layers of powdery soil or crust
- Let the water dry out a bit before watering again
- Using organic mulch on the ground where the plants are growing. This reduces soil water loss and helps water surface infiltrate better and strengthens soil fertility and health
- Controlling water throbbing weeds adjacent to landscape plants
- Using organic materials or water holding polymers during planting
Most people water more than necessary when using an automatic sprinkler system to provide water for a thirsty lawn and surrounding landscape. The bushes, trees, and shrubs do not need that amount of constant water. There are high chances that your landscape will thrive with less water.
There are some amazing plants that grow admirably in drought-tolerant landscaping. The best alternative is to pick plants that are naturally growing in your area. Plants natural to the area will likely grow best in your yard.
Characteristics of Drought Tolerant Plants
Drought resistant plants have grown a good root system that will allow them to sustain themselves in arid conditions. Chunky fleshy roots or deep taproots can allow the plants to store energy and water even after shedding their leaves.
Besides a good root system, the plants adjust to modest rainfall by using the available water efficiently. Some plants will stash water in rhizomes or water-swollen bulbs on the earth surface. Other plants use leaves to prevent evaporation and store water efficiently. Leaves can also be a significant source of losing water for plants. The most effective way to discover drought-resistant plants is by looking for the adjustments they’ve made. Some features for identifying drought-tolerant plants include:
- Leathery foliage - They lose less water compared to soft leaves
- Leaf needles - They are thin, tough, and waxy and they try to avoid loss of water. Some plants like rosemary and lavender also contain essential oils
- Small leaves - They shade heat and decrease evaporation, therefore, reducing water loss. Examples include yaupon holly and thyme
- Long slender leaves - They are great at losing heat without evaporation. Many native kinds of grass fall into this category
- Slow growth - Plants can conserve a limited supply of water by restricting the growth of their stems and leaves. Succulents and cacti have utilized this strategy
- Silver and Grey leaves - They reflect light and heat to indicate drought-tolerant. Examples include Russian sage and Artemisia
- Aromatic leaves - They have scented evaporative compounds that seem to cool foliage and intensify the air density around them as they evaporate. Examples include rosemary, lavender, germander, catmint, yarrow, sages among others
- Fleshy or succulent leaves - They preserve moisture for dry periods. Plants like yucca, sedum, and ice plant have broad waxy skin and fleshy leaves to assist in water conservation. Other plants like euphorbia have a fleshy stem to conserve water as well
- Wooly or hairy leaves - They cast a shadow over themselves using their leaves. The hairs on the leaves’ bottom increase the amount of moisture of the air around and slow the movement of air which decelerates evaporation. An example is the lamb's ear plant
- Waxy leaves - Their shiny surface helps to reduce water loss, mostly when the weather is windy. Examples include pittosporum and pine trees
- Underground storage devices - enables plants to preserve water for a while. Almost all bulbs flower while there’s plenty of water but are passive during driest and hottest months
Examples of Plants that Produce Drought Tolerant Foliage
Below are some drought-tolerant plants that can transform your landscape:
- Oleander - This is an equatorial shrub that grows in abundance. It produces attractive, nice smelling flowers of various colors. It is also familiar with adapting well to hot and arid conditions and blooms well in coastal areas. It can use some shade but prefers full sun;
- Poppies - All you need to grow them is modest watering and adequate exposure to sunlight. They have vibrant colors, making them the biggest fascination in any yard or garden;
- Sedum - They are known for being drought-tolerant. They can survive with watering once weekly in summer and spring, and once monthly in winter, if necessary. They desire a lot of sunshine and light and grow well in all types of soil. There’s a variety of sedum available and almost all are low care. You can decide to plant either the variegated foliage ones or those with flowering;
- Yarrow - They are low maintenance plants appropriate for rock gardens, borders, and wildflower meadows. The plant has tiny, tightly packed fancy flowers, with fern-like decorative foliage;
- Cactus and Succulents - They are easy to grow, low maintenance, and require less water. During dry seasons, they shrink and use the conserved water. There’s a lot of cactus and succulent types that you can decide to grow;
- Agave - They accumulate water in their thick foliage and dispatch their roots underneath the soil surface to assemble the available water. These plants are drought-tolerant, have low maintenance, and have sharp-edged leaves. Landscapers love them because of the unusual shape of their foliage;
- Lithops - They are also known as living stones because of their unique stone-like nature. They are easy to keep, require less water, and are suitable houseplants;
- Blanket flower - This plant does not require special needs. Anyone without gardening skills can make it grow in abundance. It only requires occasional watering and some sunlight. The plant grows both in warm tropical and cold climate;
- Verbena - It is a magnificent ground cover that extends very quickly and blossoms in little water and high heat. It grows in various colors and grows in clusters all year round in warm weather conditions;
- Sage - Sage is a drought-tolerant herb known for its aromatic seasoning. It grows best when the weather begins to get warm after a frost and when there’s plenty of sunshine. It requires very little water and overwatering might kill it;
- Lantana - This is a robust equatorial plant that is grown because of its sweet-smelling, colorful flowers. It has flowers throughout the year, although it grows all through spring and summer, in warm areas. It is a less demanding plant, loves heat and drought and can be grown in any type of soil. It can also grow easily in flower pots.
Contacting a Orange County Landscape Expert Near Me
Most gardeners are looking to conserve water in their gardens. Conserving water is advantageous no matter where you live. Whether you are experiencing drought or you are seeking for low-maintenance plants for your sunny landscape, drought-tolerant plants are a great choice. At The Landscape Expert, we will transform your lawn into what your heart desires. If you are in Orange County, California, and you want a beautiful landscape, contact us today at 714-855-3479.