Drought-Resistant Plants That Are Good for Xeriscaping
Xeriscaping is a wonderful way to reduce your carbon footprint. When you choose drought-resistant plants to fill your yard, you are creating a sustainable landscape that uses less water than traditional green spaces. In fact, studies have shown that xeriscaping can reduce your water usage by 50 to 75 percent.
But how do you find drought-resistant plants?
The first step is to find what zone you are in. Colorado Springs, for example, is in USDA hardiness zone 5b. Once you have your plant hardiness zone, you can select the plants that will flourish in your climate.
Groundcovers are plants that grow low to the ground, making them ideal for both spreading daisy and sulphur flower, two such groundcovers that are not only native to Colorado but also have a low water requirement. The spreading daisy (Erigeron divergens) grows about 2 inches tall, requires little water, and will need full sun. It produces white flowers that provide nectar and pollen for bees and butterflies and grows in USDA zones 2 to 10.
Another groundcover option is the sulphur flower (Eriogonum umbellatum), which grows 10 inches high and has low water requirements. It can grow in sun or partial shade and has yellow flowers that attract butterflies. Sulphur flower grows in zones 4 to 8.
Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia) grows in zones 2 to 7, tolerates sun or partial shade, and reaches 12 feet tall. It has white flowers and fruit for birds and wildlife. The wax currant (Ribes cereum) and snowberry (symphoricarpos occidentalis) are two more drought-resistant shrubs that produce fruit for wildlife. Both grow about 4 feet tall and require full sun, though the snowberry can also tolerate partial shade. Wax currant grows in USDA zones 5 to 8, while snowberry grows in zones 3 to 7.
If you’re looking for a drought-resistant shrub for xeriscaping that doesn’t produce fruit, consider either the smooth sumac or the skunkbush sumac (Rhus trilobata). It doesn’t produce fruit, but it does provide seed and shelter for birds and grows in zones 4 to 8.
Pine trees, such as Pinon pine (Pinus edulis) and Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), are drought-resistant and will work well for low watering landscaping. They both require full sun. Pinon pine reaches heights of up to 25 feet, while the ponderosa pine grows up to 70 feet tall. Pinon pine grows in USDA zones 5 to 8, and ponderosa pine in zones 3 to 7.
Another full sun-loving, drought-resistant tree is the Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum), reaching heights of up to 15 feet. The gambel oak (Quercus gambelii) can tolerate partial shade, as well as drought, and grows to 25 feet. Both grow in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 8.
You don’t have to be stuck with traditional grasses that everyone else uses. Those types of grasses require an abundance of water. Instead, choose drought-resistant grasses, such as blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), Indian ricegrass (Achnatherum hymenoides), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), and side-oats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula). All these drought-resistant grasses can grow in zones 3 to 9.
The above is merely a few of the possible drought-resistant plants for you to consider. There are a lot of options out there, which can be a bit daunting. Selecting plants native to your area, however, will reduce the available options while also promoting biodiversity. Another benefit is that native plants are typically more drought tolerant than non-native species. So it is a win-win for you and the environment. If you have additional questions about xeriscaping, contact us at Foothills Landscaping.