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The essence of gardening can be divided into two phases: firstly, planting your garden, and then nurturing it to help it grow. Even if you decide to select plants with low water requirement, irrigation is a crucial part of the nurturing phase, particularly if you grow plants from seed.
While it can be useful to have a few plants in your garden which are drought hardy, many beautiful plants will need more consistent care when it comes to watering, and nearly all seeds need to be nurtured in damp soil. That means it’s essential to get into the habit of regularly watering your beds, pots and plots, or installing smart watering systems to take the stress out of gardening. Solutions such as GARDENA’s Irrigation Control Systems are simple to set up and ensure that select areas of your garden are reliably and conveniently irrigated.
While there are many gorgeous plants with low water requirement, some beautiful flowers and shrubs need a lot more hydration but can really transform a garden. Foliage is a good guide when it comes to the species needing extra irrigation: plants with large, dark glossy leaves tend to absorb heat and get thirsty more quickly.
Banana trees and hibiscus plants originate in tropical regions where rain is plentiful, so they will need watering nearly every day during dry spells. Other plants which relish wet soil are species that grow along river banks and in marshes, such as cannas, ferns and iris plants. They don’t risk root rot even in standing water, so they’re excellent for rainy climates, but do need extra care if the ground dries out.
Short-lived annuals, which typically bloom briefly in the summer, often also need frequent irrigation. Their shallow root system and intense flowering makes them vulnerable to drought, but the splash of colour they provide can make them worth the extra effort. It is also worth remembering that, as they have a shorter lifespan, the increase in maintenance is only temporary.
In addition, any species that you put in pots or hanging baskets, even if they are plants with low water requirement, can’t access ground water with their roots and so will need extra watering.
If dark, large leaved plants are typically thirsty types, small, light coloured or silvery leaves, especially those covered in fine hairs, tend to indicate plants with low water requirement. Staples of many herb gardens, such as lavender and rosemary, fit into this category. Their woody stems and small, pale leaves minimise water loss.
Not all annuals need large amounts of water – there are plenty of drought-tolerant species, such has cosmos, marigold and the Dahlberg daisy.
Many trees fit into the category of plants with low water requirement, needing only to be watered when they are planted and in the early stages of taking root. Citrus trees are all quite drought tolerant, as are some types of palm trees. Once established, they mainly draw water from the natural cycle of the elements.
A well-kept lawn is one of the most beautiful and versatile components of a home garden, but even if you live in a temperate climate with frequent rainfall, hot and dry spells can quickly turn a lawn brown. In warmer climates, this a constant risk. To mitigate the problem, or reverse the damage once your lawn’s bright green blades have been replaced by straw-like tufts, the secret of reviving a lawn is watering it steadily for a longer period of time on a slow setting, rather than flooding the ground.
Devices such as GARDENA’s Pop-Up Oscillating Sprinkler OS 140 are designed for irrigating square or rectangular spaces, but also remain conveniently hidden until they’re required. Starting early in the morning, you can programme the sprinkler to start watering the lawn at the coolest part of the day and steadily bring it back to life or maintain its brilliant green with consistent irrigation over several hours.
Water requirement is something that you should think about when choosing your plants, but it needn’t be decisive. After weighing things up, you may decide that some plants are worth the extra effort. Just make sure that you understand how much water different plants need before you buy them, so that you can go for the options that suit you and your garden the best.