Xeriscapes

By Dr. Douglas F. Welsh,
Professor and Extension Horticulturist

Every plant in the nursery or garden center can be used in a Xeriscape landscape. It is not which plant you use, but where you put it. Each 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.

Three different plant zones can be incorporated into a Xeriscape: A Regular Watering Zone, an Occasional Watering Zone, and a Natural Rainfall Zone. For example, in much of Texas (areas of 30-plus inches of rainfall), the following categorization is often used:

Regular Watering Zone: Plants in this zone, such as turf grasses, and annual flowers, 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. Plants for this zone would include perennial flowers, and tender woody shrubs and vines.

Natural Rainfall Zone: Plants in this zone would require only natural rainfall, once established. Tough woody shrubs and vines, and all trees would do best in this zone.

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