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Small water budget? Consider plants with low water requirements

Garden Life
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If your garden seems too dry, or you just don’t have the time for watering, plants with low water requirements could be the answer. There are a host of low water, low maintenance plants available for every budding gardener.

Plants with low water requirements are a great way to get into gardening if you live in an area with a dry climate or frequent water shortages, want to minimise your utility bills, or just have too many demands on your time to spend a lot of time watering.

If the words ‘low water’ bring to mind a rather dull garden filled with cacti, bamboo and pampas grass, think again. It’s perfectly possible to create an attractive, low water landscape that adds colour and freshness to your outdoor space.

You will be able to find many beautiful and exciting plants with low water requirements in your local garden centre, allowing you to create a dazzling display that will be the envy of your friends.

Before you start

Firstly, it's important to remember that ‘low water’ doesn’t mean ‘no water’. Even plants with low water requirements need time to adapt to their new surroundings, and until their roots are established, they will need regular, supplemental watering. It is best to start with small specimens of your chosen plants, to allow them to get used to their environment gradually as they grow.

The length of this initial stage depends on several factors: the time of year they are planted (between late autumn and early spring is generally best, although silver-leaved, less hardy sun lovers should be planted in April to give them time to establish roots well before winter); the size of the container or pot your plants are in (smaller is better), and the condition of the new plant.

Secondly, while most of these plants with low water requirements will survive with no supplemental water once established, they will grow better and look more appealing if they receive additional water every month or so. Using a layer of mulch - such as compost, wood chippings or manure - on top of the soil will help it retain moisture.

Make it even easier

If you want complete freedom from watering, GARDENA’s water computers provide exactly that. These clever watering solutions are easy to operate and offer flexible programming options, meaning you’ll always be in total control of your garden, wherever you are.

Simply connect the computer to the automated controls of one or more watering devices in your garden. All Gardena models are easy to use and need no complicated programming, giving you even more time to enjoy life.

Plants with low water requirements

Now you’re ready to get started, here are just a few suggestions from the Royal Horticultural Society:.

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African Daisy Blackthorn Seedling

The African Daisy Blackthorn Seedling is a bushy perennial (a plant that lives for more than two years) with narrow foliage and, from late spring to autumn, daisy-like flower-heads of up to 6cm across, with deep pink rays surrounding a yellow disk. It takes between two and five years to reach its maximum height of half a metre and is hardy enough to survive temperatures as low as -5 degrees Celsius.





Common Marigold

The Common Marigold is another plant with low water requirements. This fast growing annual or biennial (a plant that lives for one to two years) has aromatic leaves and heads of vivid orange daisy-like flowers, blooming in long succession in the summer and autumn until the first hard frosts. It takes one to two years to reach its maximum height of half a metre, and is hardy enough to survive even severe winters (-15 degrees Celsius).




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Imperial Gem Lavender

Imperial Gem lavender is a compact evergreen shrub with narrow grey-green leaves and fragrant spikes of deep purple flowers in summer. This low water requirement plant takes between two and five years to reach its maximum height of half a metre and is hardy enough to survive even severe winters (-15 degrees Celsius).







Taplow Blue Globe Thistle

The Taplow Blue globe thistle is a robust, upright herbaceous perennial, with divided, prickly dark green leaves. Rounded, steel-blue flower heads bloom on branched, leafy stems in the summer. It takes two to five years to reach a maximum height of one and a half metres, and is hardy enough to withstand even the coldest of continental winters (less than -20 degrees Celsius).





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Of course, these are just a handful of the cornucopia of plants with low water requirements there are to choose from. Whether you’re looking for shrubs, grasses, hanging basket plants or even trees, there is something for every type of garden – no matter how little time or water you have.