Water-Wise Plants and Design for Earth Day
In celebration of Earth Day, we’re recycling our favorite articles on water-wise garden design. This collection of eco-friendly articles includes information about plants that are drought-tolerant yet still add color and texture to the garden, and ideas for arranging environmentally-conscious plants into your design.
Along the wall of this Arizona desert garden are heat and drought-tolerant palo blanco trees and coral plant. Designed by Christy Ten Eyck, this garden is both water-wise and chic.
Water-Wise Plants for Desert Regions
'QUEEN VICTORIA' CENTURY PLANT
Agave victoriae-reginae is a striking, slow-growing cactus that may take as long as 40 years to flower. It’s best grown alone and away from paths because of its sharp leaf tips.
'LAVANCE PURPLE’ LAVENDER
Lavandula angustifolia is a dwarf lavender that can grow 18 inches high, making it a good choice for edging. It has deep purple flowers and greenish-gray, very aromatic foliage.
COPPER CANYON DAISY
Tagetes lemmonii is an airy plant with pale-green to deep-green foliage and a distinctive scent. It can reach a height of three to six feet at maturity and has deep yellow flowers that appear from September to November.
PINK MUHLY GRASS
Muhlenbergia capillaris is a drought-tolerant grass that produces a spectacular bloom of billowy, pinkish flowers in the fall. It works well planted en masse in a border—either on its own or mixed with other drought- and sun-loving perennials.
Modern Desert Garden
With the wild mid-desert landscape in the distance, plants suitable to the climate are arranged in a more orderly fashion, like the Euphorbia antisyphilitica lined up along the perimeter wall.
If you're enjoying this article, make sure you don’t miss our related sections in Garden Design magazine including Plant Palette, which provides detailed how-to-grow information on specific plants and how to design with them; and Landscape Solutions, which presents an in-depth look at how design techniques were used to resolve a specific problem—like designing an outdoor space in drought and desert regions.
Water-Wise and Beautiful
Making the most out of every drop of rain that falls, cactus flowers in shades like hot pink add a burst of color to desert gardens.
Internationally Popular Drought-Resistant Plants
Ideal for formal-style gardens, Buxus sempervirens (commonly known as “Box”) is widely used as a medium-height hedge or for topiary. It is an international drought-resistant best seller.
Succulents and Cacti
ALOE ‘HENRY HUNTINGTON’
The close up reveals a dramatic golden-yellow inflorescence up to 6 feet tall. This repeat bloomer, developed by the Huntington Botanical Gardens, forms a showy single-headed accent that's 8 to 12 feet tall.
This Mexican pincushion cactus has tiny star-like pink flowers and blooms as early as February.