What Are Xeriscaping Plants?

What Are Xeriscaping Plants?

Xeriscaping plants refer to native, eco-friendly plants purposely used in gardens to conserve water usage while maintaining live specimens. Xeriscape plants vary from region to region, and landscape designs follow patterns that preserve water usage throughout the garden.

For example, drought-resistant xeriscape plants feature thicker stems and leaves, so the plant stores more water when liquid is scarce. These thicker plants, known as succulents, include sedums, hardy ice plants and self-sowing annual moss roses. Some of these plants include yarrow, butterfly weed, bellflower, trumpet vine, red hot poker, Russian sage, spiderwort, feather reed grass, fescue, fountain grass, maiden grass, shadbush, chokeberry, butterfly bush, St. Johnswort and Scotch broom. The word "xeriscape" means "dry view."

Plants with smaller leaves, and therefore smaller surface areas, are also adapted for drought-resistance. Thyme, candytuft and mossy saxifrage contain small leaves and provide ground cover in xeriscape gardens.

Zone the area before beginning a xeriscaping project. Zoning entails grouping plants according to how much water they require. This makes it easier to give plants the correct amounts of water without wasting resources. When zoning, also keep in mind each plant's sunlight requirements to ensure correct plant placement.

After the zoning, the drought-tolerant plants can be added. This includes putting down drought-tolerant turf as well. Local nurseries have or know the best local grasses to use in xeriscaping. For instance, centipede grass is a good choice in the Southeast. Before any of the xeriscape plants are exposed to drought-like conditions, they need to be well-established to keep them from dying.

After planting, add a thick layer of mulch underneath the plants. This is critical because mulch not only keeps the soil moist, it also reduces evaporation so the plants retain the necessary water to survive.