The Green Thumb Almanac

YOUR ONLINE GARDENING INFORMATION CENTER

Xeriscaping

What is Xeriscaping?  Xeriscaping is all about water conservation.  Xeriscaping is creating a lush landscape using plants which are appropriate for the area in which you live.  This means foregoing those water needy hybrids and planting more native plants in your landscape.  Xeriscaping is not "zeroscaping."  Zeroscaping is using a lot of rock and a few sparse plants to create a low-water use garden.  Xeriscapes, however, look lush and colorful while achieving the same low-water use goal.
 

Share this page!

On This Page!

  • Zoning Your Garden
  • Watering Your Xeriscape
  • Plants for the Xeriscape Garden

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Xeriscaping:  Saves Water, Saves Time, and Saves Money!

In xeriscaping, plants are grouped into specific zones based upon the water needs of the plants and the functions you want your yard to serve.  Zoning creates a water-efficient landscape that is both beautiful and functional.

Zone 1:  Arid - this zone features the most drought-tolerant vegetation.  This zone is located away from the house.

Zone 2:  Transition - this zone is used to blend lush areas with drier parts of the landscape.  Plant low and moderate water use plants here which need watering once a week or less.

Zone 3:  Mini-Oasis - this zone includes the highest water use plants and lawn.  It includes shady areas and areas that receive rainfall runoff from roof lines and downspouts.  Try to place this zone near your house.

Watering Your Xeriscape

Even the most drought-tolerant native plants need supplemental water during the first year or two to get established.  Once established, reduce supplemental watering or eliminate it altogether.  Drip irrigation is the perfect method for watering most shrubs, perennials and trees.  Drip irrigation systems save water because they deliver slow, steady amounts of water directly to plant roots.  As a result, drip systems cut down on evaporation, runoff and overspray.  Drip systems can be professionally installed by most landscape contractors.  For do-it-yourselfers, drip irrigation kits are available at hardware stores, home centers and nurseries.

Plants for the Xeriscape

Check with your local university extension service or a reputable garden center for the best low-water use plants for your area.  The following is a listing of low-water use plants for the heartland.

Tall Trees (over 45')

Black Walnut
Bur Oak
Chinkapin Oak
Common Hackberry 'Prairie Pride'
Green Ash
Honeylocust 'Skyline'
Kentucky Coffee Tree
Sawtooth Oak

Medium Trees (30 - 45')

Ornamental Pear

Goldenrain Tree

Lacebark Elm

Osage Orange, thornless & fruitless

White Mulberry, fruitless

Small Trees (under 30')

Amur Maackia
Amur Maple
Flowering Crabapple
Green Hawthorn 'Winter King'
Redbud
Russian Hawthorn
Russian Olive
Sandhill Plum
Thornless Cockspur Hawthorn
Washington Hawthorn
Western Soapberry
Wild Plum

Large Shrubs (over 8')

Autumn Olive
Beauty Bush
Border Privet
Chokecherry
Common Buckthorn
Elderberry
Lilac
Mountain Ninebark
Rose of Sharon
Rough-leafed Dowood
Siberian Pea Shrub
Silver Buffaloberry
Staghorn Sumac
Wahoo
Western Sandcherry

Medium Shrubs (4 - 8')

Butterfly Bush
Cherry Prinsepia
Dwarf Ninebark
Flowering Quince
Forsythia
Fragrant Sumac
Japanese Barberry
Korean Lilac
Mentor Barberry
Mockorange
Serviceberry
Shining Sumac
Spirea, Vanhoutte
Spreading Cotoneaster
Three Leaf Sumac

Small Shrubs (under 4')

Alpine Currant
Bluemist Spirea
Common Bladder Senna
Common Sea Buckthorn
Coralberry, Buckbrush
False Indigo
Golden Current
Gooseberry
Hardy Potentilla
Leadplant
New Jersey Tea
Prairie Rose
Pygmy Pea Shrub
Russian Sage

Evergreen Trees/Shrubs

Austrian Pine
Juniper
Limber Pine
Pinyon Pine
Ponderosa Pine
Mugho Pine
Mahonia
Manhattan Euonymus
Pyracantha
Soapweed
Yucca

Shade Groundcovers

Bergenia
Bishop's Weed
Lily-of-the-valley
Creeping Mahonia
Periwinkle
Potentilla
Sweet Woodruff

Sun Groundcovers

Catmint
Creeping Junipers
Daylily
Candytuft
Gro-Low Fragrant Sumac
Hen & Chicks
Liriope
Creeping Phlox
Rock Soapwort
Sedum
Thyme
Veronica
Wintercreeper

Ornamental Grasses

Big Bluestem
Blue Fescue
Blue Oat Grass
Feather Reed Grass
Fountain Grass
Indiangrass
Little Bluestem
Oat Grass
Ravenna Grass
Ribbon Grass
Sideoats Grama
Weeping Lovegrass





Information Provided by the Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service

and
The New Mexico State Engineer Office Water Conservation Program

Sun/Part Sun Perennials

Artemesia
Basket of Gold
Gaillardia
Amsonia
Rudbeckia
Butterfly Weed
Candytuft
Coreopsis
Euphorbia
Missouri Primrose
False Indigo
Guara
Goldenrod
Liatris
Lambs' Ears
Lavender
Verbascum
Pitcher's Salvia
Poppy Mallow
Prickly Pear Cactus
Coneflower
Red Hot Poker
Yarrow

Annuals

Cleome

Coreopsis

Cosmos

Dusty Miller

Gomphrena

Marigold

Nicotiana

Portulaca

Sanvitalia

Verbena rigida

Vinca 

Zinnia






Visit our Wildflower and Natives page for more information about native plants for xeriscape gardens!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ad Space