Conserving Water in the Garden

Beat the Heat with Low-water Plants for Your Garden

Typically, southeastern PA does not experience frequent drought, as you would find out in California, but during the summer months, we often experience heat waves and periods of diminished rainfall. Just last August, Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties all had a drought watch go into effect. While a drought watch is the lowest level of drought advisory, water-conserving efforts are always a good practice in your garden because they help the environment and lower your water bill. Win-Win!

Garden hose and cash money. Water bill, conservation and usage concept

Here are some ways to conserve water in your garden

Mulch your plants

Mulch helps to reduce evaporation and maintain soil moisture. Plus, it helps to suppress weeds that compete with your desired plants for water.

Install a Drip Irrigations System

Drip Irrigations systems save water by delivering water directly to the plant roots, eliminating wasted water from over-spraying and evaporation. A simple drip irrigation system is a great DIY project, both easy and inexpensive to install. Check out our short video HERE for more information on drip irrigation systems.

Install Rain Barrels

Rain barrels are a great way to collect stormwater later in your garden. Collecting the water during a storm helps reduce the immediate runoff, which can help alleviate flooding. A large rain event can easily fill a large barrel, especially if the downspout collects water from a large roof area, making it a great free source of irrigation water for your plants or to fill a pond or water feature.

Last, But Not Least

Choose plants that have low water requirements

This doesn’t mean you have to have a garden of all cacti! Many plants like it on the drier side or can tolerate dry, drought conditions once established*. Plants like these are also time-savers because your watering times will be greatly reduced; some would rather not be watered; for some suggestions, see below.

*Even drought-tolerant plants may need to be watered when they are first planted until they establish their root system.

• African Daisy (Osteosperum)
• Begonia
• Carex comans (New Zealand Hair Sedge)
• Cleome
• Coleus
• Cordyline
• Cuphea
• Dusty Miller
• Geranium
• Gomphrena
• Lantana
• Licorice Plant
• Marigolds
• Portulaca
• Silver Falls (Dichondra)
• Verbena
• Vinca
• Zinnia

• Achillea (Yarrow)
• Artemisia (Wormwood)
• Agastache
• Perovaskia (Russian Sage)
• Baptisia
• Coreopsis
• Dianthus
• Echinacea
• Echinops (Globe thistle)
• Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)
• Heuchera
• Hemerocallis
• Hosta
• Lavandula (Lavender)
• Nepeta
• Sedum
• Penstemon
• Salvia ‘May Night’
• Sedum
• Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ears)

• Andropogon gerardii ‘Red October’ (Big Bluestem)
• Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition’ Blue Grama Grass
• Cortaderia selloana ‘Ivory Feathers’
• Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln’ (Fountain Grass)
• Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’
• Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass)
• Schizachyrium scoparium (Little Bluestem)

• Buddleia (Butterfly Bush)
• Caryopteris (Blue Mist Spirea)
• Chaenomeles speciosa (Flowering Quince)
• Cytisus (Scotch Broom)
• Juniperus (Juniper)
• Nandina (Heavenly Bamboo)
• Physocarpus (Ninebark)
• Pinus mugo var pumilio (Mugo pine)
• Yucca

• Cedrus deodara
• Cercis canadensis (Redbud)
• Cryptomeria (Japanese Cedar)
• Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)
• Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’ (Smokebush)
• Pinus strobus (White Pine)
• Quercus (Oak)

Water is the driving force of all nature.

Leonardo da Vinci