Texas Agrilife Extension Service,
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

November-December 2009


All Plants Have a Place in Water Efficient Landscapes


Douglas F. Welsh, Horticulturist
Texas Agrilife Extension Service


American Beautyberry
American beautyberry, Callicarpa americana

Every plant in the nursery or garden center truly has a place in an EarthKind® or Xeriscape landscape. It's not which plant you use, but where you put it. Three different plant zones can be incorporated into a water efficient landscape:

  • a Regular Watering Zone,
  • an Occasional Watering Zone,
  • and a Natural Rainfall Zone.
  • Regular Watering Zone:

    - Plants in this zone would require watering once every week or more, once established, in the absence of rain.

    Occasional Watering Zone:

    - These plants would require watering once every two or three weeks, once established, in the absence of rain.

    Natural Rainfall Zone:

    - Plants in this zone would require only natural rainfall, once established.

    By zoning the plants in the landscape according to their water requirements, you prevent the situation of having to over water one plant type to meet the needs of another.

    Every region of Texas has a palette of plants to choose from which are adapted to the soil, temperature extremes, and pest problems of the area. The challenge for both the professional and amateur gardener is to categorize the plants based on expected water requirements. By using the categories of natural rainfall, occasional watering, and regular watering, most gardeners can find the best place in the garden for the plants in their region.

    For example, in much of Texas (areas of 30+ inches of rainfall), the following categorization is often used:

    Regular Watering Zone: Turf grasses and annual flowers
    Occasional Watering Zone: Perennial flowers and tender woody shrubs and vines
    Natural Rainfall Zone: Tough woody shrubs and vines, and all trees

    All plants do have a place in a Xeriscape or EarthKind® landscape. Visit your nursery or garden center today and start creating your own beautiful, water-conserving landscape.


EarthKind uses research-proven techniques to provide maximum gardening and landscape performance while preserving and protecting the environment. For more information on EarthKind Landscape Management Practices see our website: http://earthkind.tamu.edu