Monday, May 19, 2014

Water & Wallet Wise Plants



Many people are interested in using water wise or more native plants in residential landscaping for various reasons. Water wise and native plants, or as I'm calling them here, “water sippers” save money for homeowners and should be great for water conservation ...that is if we actually use less water maintaining them. Ideally we are looking at a win, win!




        I went in search of water sippers with 2 main requirements in mind


#1 I wanted easy to find plants. As wonderful as some remote beautiful native plant may be if you can’t easily find a place to buy it I’m guessing a few people are like me and they just won’t make the effort.

#2 I wanted plants that weren't going to break the bank. If we are honest most plants aren't really outrageously priced when you look at buying one, but if you’re looking to install a new flower bed to replace grass or a section of yard the more reasonable the price the better your project will be on your wallet and maybe in turn happiness. 

Side note: due to my 2 requirements I will admit I ended up at the more universal large corporation stores. I know this is not ideal for many people and if there is a local nursery near you they will likely carry a larger variety of plants, plants which may be hardier for our area, and quite possibly (almost definitely) have a lot more knowledge than I have!!  But since I was trying to highlight plants that are easy to find for the masses Home Depot and Lowes were the winners for this purpose. I just wanted to publicly acknowledge the sometimes valid opposition I may face with this choice. 


Now let’s get to the point of this whole rant…the plants!! An easy to find, in no way comprehensive guide to water sipping plants (at least for Utah and more specifically the Salt Lake Valley) There are all sorts of micro climates so just bear in mind these are pretty general but have fared well for me.


Enough sidebars I think you guys get the point, I’m just sharing my experiences. 


Perennials-These lovelies should keep saving you money year after year 



I will give you the scientific name in case you're into that sort of thing, I'm a picture person myself
   Achillea millefolium-Moonshine Yarrow




Blooms: In the Summer 
Grows: Approximately 1-2' high
Found it at: Home Depot  
Typical Water Schedule: Once a Month!

Iberis sempervirens-Candytuft 


Blooms: Early-Mid Spring 
Grows: 6-12"
Found it at: Home Depot 
Typical Water Schedule: Twice a Month

Salvia nemorosa-Violet Sage 


Blooms: Spring Summer some of Fall 
Grows: 2-3' high 
Found at: Home Depot
Typical Water Schedule: Twice a Month 

Dianthus gratianopolitanus-Cheddar Pinks 


Blooms: Middle to Late Spring if you deadhead (take off spent blooms) it will often bloom again
Grows: 4-12"
Found at: Home Depot
Typical Water Schedule: Twice a Month

Aquilegia-Columbine 



A little favoritism going on with this one..3 pics Columbine is one of my favorites!

Blooms: Spring
Grows: 1-2' High 
Found at: Home Depot, Walmart, Lowes this one is easy to find
Typical Water Schedule: Twice a Month  

Hemerocallis hybrid-Daylily 


Blooms: Spring-Early Summer 
Grows: Typically 2-3'high the one shown here is usually 12" 
 Found at: Home Depot, this is another one super easy to find
Typical Water Schedule: Twice a Month

Shrubs-also going to stick around but more shrub like than flower like 


Cytisus scoparius-Scotch Broom


Blooms: Spring 
Grows: 5-6' High....Big Basically!
Found at: Home Depot 
Typical Water Schedule: Once a Month 

Cotoneaster dammeri-Bearberry Cotoneaster


Blooms: Late Spring 
Grows: 1-2'
Found at: Lowes
Typical Water Schedule: Once a Month 

Physocarpus opulifolius-Nine Bark 


Blooms: Gets White or Pink Flowers on and Also Some Fall Color
Grows: 5-10' 
Found at: Home Depot
Typical Water Schedule: Twice a Month

Vine-Just like it sounds, grows on things as vines do and should make your life happy crawling around. Comes back year after year


Wisteria floribunda-Japanese Wisteria


Another one of my favorites this is gorgeous in bloom. I've seen people train it around garages, archways, all sorts of things and it always looks spectacular

Blooms: Spring
Grows: Up to 30' or However You Train It
Found at: Home Depot
Typical Water Schedule: Twice a Month 


Grasses-We love grass even in the desert I don't need to explain this to you



Calamagrostis acutifloria-Feather Reed Grass


Grows: 3-6'
Found at: Home Depot & Lowes
Typical Water Schedule: Twice a Month

Festuca ovina glauca-Blue Fescue 



Grows: 12"
Found at: Home Depot
Typical Water Schedule: Twice a Month 

There you have it. A handful of easy to find, easy to maintain, water sipping Utah Plants. If you want more information on water wise plants a great resource is Water-Wise Plants for Utah Landscapes, local nurseries, the good old interweb, or books at the library. This list doesn't include some of my other favorites like Butterfly Bush or the Ginkgo to name a few but I tried to be fair.  


Think of the water that could be saved if you create a flower bed or a dedicate a portion of your yard to only these water sipping plants! Most of these only had to be watered twice a month once established. The typical flower bed gets watered several times a week in a traditional yard. That's a lot of water! 


Next week I might head into the house to see if there is anything green to learn inside...or I might just stay in the yard!





Until the next time...

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