How to Choose Plants for a Xeriscape Garden

Two Parts:Choosing Plants Based on Your Garden TypePlanning Your Garden

Xeriscaping is a method of landscaping and gardening that reduces or eliminates the need for watering, which is very useful in drought-prone areas. The type of plants that can be used in xeriscaping will depend mainly on your local climate and soil conditions. This wikiHow will help you to choose the right plants for your garden type, so you can create a beautiful xeriscape garden without the stress of trial and error. Just see Step 1 below to get started.

Part 1
Choosing Plants Based on Your Garden Type

  1. 1
    Pick plants that can be used to cover large areas. If you decide to cover a large swathe of ground with a single plant, you will need to choose plants that spread easily and look good in large clumps. Such plants include:
    • Hairawn muhly: A tall breathtaking plant. With up to 4-foot pink stems this plant will be the star of any bed you place it in. Plant it by itself under trees or on a hillside for a wave of color. Everyone will want to know where you got it!
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    • False Indigo: Nearly 4-feet wide, this plant stands tall as a perfect cover for a large area. Stunning indigo blooms in summer time. Full sun loving and drought tolerance this plant will withstand most soil and habitats.
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    • Wall Cotoneaster: If you need large impact with unlimited space to plant the common wall spray will give you height, size, ease and color. Bright red berries and pink flowers bloom in spring and autumn. Wall cotoneaster is a slow growing plant that fills large areas in nicely.
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    Choose plants that grow well in shallow ground. If you discover that the soil in your garden doesn't extend very deeply, you will need to choose plants that grow well in shallow ground.
    • Succulents: They become the backbone of your new garden but they provide foliage too. Flowering Succulents are stunning plants which bloom in cascading waves of pink, blue, white, and yellow. These plants will adore you for not watering them. That’s right! They prefer a dry habitat and will wilt if over-watered.
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    • Rock rose: A stunning white plant blooming in summer is a perfect fit for a shallow area. Spreading quickly and container friendly this plant quickly fills areas in your garden
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    • Lavender: Fragrant blooms will fill your yard when you use Lavender in your shallow beds. Growing to a fair size lavender shines with shallow roots and well-drained soil.
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    Opt for plants that grow best in deep rich soil. If you're lucky enough to own a garden containing deep, rich soil, you can take advantage of this fact by choosing more demanding plant types, such as the following:
    • Vegetables: Take advantage of good soil in your garden to plant vegetables to produce food for your table. For flowering plants, grow broccoli, cabbage, verbena, chives, and asparagus.
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    • Berries: Blackberries, raspberries, and other tall vining plants will grow well in deep rich soil. When planted properly these plants will need little additional water and provide an ample supply of berries during the spring.
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    • Premium Flowers: If you prefer to grow plants alone choose a premium flower for your deep soils. Hydrangeas, Roses, or other plants will grow well in this soil.
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    Go for plants that do well in full sun. If your garden is exposed to a lot of sunlight throughout the year, it's best to go for plants that enjoy the heat. These include:
    • Apache Plume: A stunning native to American soil this gorgeous plant will flower white in the summer then turn pink with amazing plumes. Perfect for a center piece within your garden this plant loves dry weather and needs little pruning.
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    • Asian Firethorn: A drought resistant large shrub with white flowers and orange and red fruit. The Asian firethorn is a very hardy plant that thrives in nearly any location with good soil.
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    • Boxed-leaved Honeysuckle: This is a fragrant leafy plant with cream blooms in the spring. Purple berries will arrive in the early summer. The box honeysuckle is a large easy to care for plant that withstands most water conditions and soil types.
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    Grow plants that need partial sun. If your garden is exposed to partial sunlight throughout the year, you should opt for plants that are best suited to these conditions, such as:
    • Balloon Flower: A late summer bloomer, this blue tall flower is a perennial that will fill your yard as well as your vases. Perfect for cutting and designed for dry habitat, place this tall plant within your rock gardens, containers, or along borders.
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    • Mont Rose: Planted as a flower border, small shrub or in containers Mont Rose is drought tolerant and requires very little maintenance to enjoy in your garden. Completely hardy Mont Rose will survive even severe winters with minimal protection from the elements.
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    • Deutzia "Veitchii": A medium height flowering shrub ideal in beds and flower borders. deutzia stands alone or as a compliment to other flowers with pink and white foliage. A common cousin of the Hydrangea Deutzia is far more drought tolerant while still providing large flower heads.
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    Choose plants that prefer partial shade. Some plants prefer slightly cooler conditions, so if your garden gets partial (but not full) shade, these plants are for you:
    • Honeysuckle Baggen’s Gold: A rare and hard to find variety of Honeysuckle this plant will thrive near and in rock gardens. Extremely drought resistant the Baggen’s gold is also resistant to most weather conditions and diseases. Berries are pale violet very few blooms with evergreen leaves.
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    • Oregon Grape “Apollo” : Preferring dark cool areas this evergreen bushy plant will overwinter in all but the harvest climates without protection. Short but fast spreading Apollo blooms bright yellow in the spring with small fruits in the summer. Their fruits are edible if extremely tart, sweeten them with sugar to make amazing jam.
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    • Lesser periwinkle: Periwinkle is a common and adaptable shade plant. Year round color and foliage and adaptability in a wide variety of soils, beds, and sun types makes periwinkle a favorite for difficult spots in your garden. Periwinkle is very invasive and will grow everywhere except in barren land; use borders and buried pots to prevent the periwinkle from spreading beyond where you want it to grown.
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    Pick plants that do best in full shade. If your garden is constantly in the shade, you will need to opt for plants that thrive without the need for sunlight. These include:
    • The American Beautyberry: Birds will flock to your yard come fall with this dense shade loving plant that flourishes without added water or maintenance. If you’ve run out of alternatives for your dark shade areas try this plant, it's often found wild in back roads and under trees.
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    • Portugal laurel: A stunning and gorgeous evergreen shrub with dark red shoots and small fragment white flowers in early summer will produce purple fruits in the fall. Takes well to trimming and shaping and can climb and spread proving versatile in many gardens.
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    • Japanese laurel:Unlike the Portugal laurel the Japanese laurel is a compact plant that will flourish everywhere except in permanently wet soil. Perfect for indoors, containers, pots, and dry areas the Japanese laurel is a shade loving plant that is intolerant to direct sunlight. Its large leaves are leather like and produce full green/yellow color throughout all 4 seasons.

Part 2
Planning Your Garden

  1. 1
    Research to find out which plants you like. Now that you know what area you’re planting in and what plants work best in your locality, you'll need to narrow down which of the suitable plants you like best. Use online or in print books to help you with your search..
    • At this point, you should already know which plants will work best in terms of your area’s weather, height, depth, sun, and moisture. Now you need to narrow down your choice of plants by their color, smell, and looks.
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    • While it may seem tedious, research is very important when planning a xeriscape garden your and will save you time in the long run.
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    • The following websites allow you to search for your perfect plants using several characteristics: plants.usda.gov, www.garden.org, www.rhs.org.uk
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    Take your garden's measurements. Key measurements are: Height, length, width and depth.
    • Height: Measure from the ground to height of any area within the bed you do not want obstructed.
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    • Width and length: Measuring the width and length of your bed will give you an idea of how much space you have to work with while you’re away from your yard. If you can draw this out to scale on paper and take it with you.
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    • Depth: Many people don’t think about the depth of their soil before buying plants, but soil depth will determine what kind of plants do best in your garden. Call 811 ( a federally-mandated national "call before you dig service" to find out about any utility lines in your area and make sure it's safe to dig. Then conduct a dig test to find out the soil depth.
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    Find out your sun type. Take some time to analyse the amount of sun your garden receives. This will have a considerable influence on the type of plants you choose.
    • Full sun: The area in question receives 8-10 hours of sun and is naturally dry.
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    • Partial Sun: The area gets 6-10 hours of direct sun a day.
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    • Partial Shade: This area only receives 2-6 hours of sun
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    • Full shade: This area receives fewer than 2 hours of sun a day.
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    Measure your water levels. The next step is to measure your water levels to figure out how damp or dry the soil is. You can do this by digging down a few inches and feeling the soil under the top layer.
    • If the soil is still dry you have barren conditions (this may be caused by poor soil or tree roots). If there is wet dirt under the top layer of soil, plants will typically grow in the area, provided that they have deep roots and are drought-tolerant.
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    • Use a rain gauge to find out what the typical rainfall in your area is, so you can choose plants that do best in those conditions. Be sure to watch out for rain gutters and other sources of water that may provide a false reading.
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    5
    Seek advice from local horticultural experts. Armed with lots of information from your personal research, approach your local horticulturist, extension office, or greenhouse with the questions you have about your garden. They’ll appreciate the work you did and you’ll appreciate the expert tailored advice you’ll receive.

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Categories: Landscaping and Outdoor Building | Growing Flowers