Be water-wise with indigenous garden
WE all know what to do in the home to reduce water usage, but did you know that you can also limit the amount of water you use in your garden without compromising on the aesthetic?
Mimi Rupp, founder of Stone etc., says the rule of thumb is to plant indigenous plants in your garden, as they are accustomed to our climate and can survive the often harsh conditions. Mimi shares some waterwise gardening tips…
1. Familiarise yourself with indigenous plants Water-wise gardens focus on plants that thrive on little water and certain characteristics that make them water efficient. By familiarising yourself with these characteristics, you’ll be able to make a well-informed decision regarding what you should and shouldn’t plant.
Look for… Plants with small or needle-like leaves These minimise the surface area for water to evaporate. Examples of such plants include ericas, most acacias, rosemary, origanum and thyme.
Plants with few leaves Some plants reduce water loss by shedding their leaves during drought. Examples of these include the karee tree, acacias and buffalo thorn.
Plants with grey foliage These kinds of plants deflect the sun’s rays, which keeps them cooler thereby reducing water loss. If you want to create a sustainable garden using plants with grey foliage invest in lavender, artemesia, arctotis and giant honey flower.
Plants with hairs Hairs slow down air movement past the stomata, which reduces water loss. A few hairy plant options to grow in your garden include the silver tree, lamb’s ear, beach salvia and helichrysum.
Plants with succulent leaves Homeowners should opt for succulents because water gets stored in the thick, fleshy leaves, reserved for later use. Examples of these include crassulas, aloes, echeverias and vygies.
Plants with leaves that close The leaves of some plants close when they are water stressed. This reduces the amount of leaf exposed to sunlight and reduces water loss. To save water, add acacias, Jerusalem sage and rock rose to your garden.
Plants with waxy leaves Waxy leaves prevent moisture loss so if you want to save on gardening costs invest in euonymus, kalanchoe and Indian hawthorn.
Plants with lighter leaves When water stressed, plants with lighter leaves on one side turn the lighter side upwards to reflect the sun away. If you’re looking for such water savvy plants, why not try wild olive trees, gazanias and indigenous buddlejas.
Plants with strong internal
skeleton support Plants with a strong internal skeleton support the leaf and prevent wilting during dry spells. Examples of these include strelitzia, restios, agaves and New Zealand flax. Plants with volatile oils Volatile oils in the stomata form an extra layer of protection against water loss. This is common with Mediterranean plants, and in areas that experience hot, dry summers. Examples of these include rosemary, lavender and sage.
2. Practise sustainable gardening When it comes to sustainable gardening, group plants with similar water needs together and water these zones separately.
A layer of mulch over the bed will keep soil moist for longer, and adding compost will increase organic matter which improves the soil’s nutrient level and water-holding capacity.
Plants with needle-like leaves minimise the surface area for water to evaporate.