5 Basic Steps To Start Drought Tolerant Gardening

Upgrade To A Drought Tolerant Garden The Smart Way

Drought Tolerant Gardening

What comes to your mind when you think of a garden?

Lush plants with thick foliage? Green lawns? Huge blooming flowers? For most of us, this is what a garden is supposed to look like.

Lately, though, there’s been a trend among garden enthusiasts that may challenge our ideas of a typical garden. If you follow a lot of gardening sites and sources, you may have spotted the term “drought-tolerant gardening” turning up all over.

But what does it mean? What does drought-tolerant gardening involve?

Basically, a drought-tolerant garden can flourish and bloom with minimal water. It’s also called a water-wise garden (a term we love) because it encourages practicing smart ways to water less often.

Now, the benefits are clear. When you use much less water to keep your garden thriving, it lowers your water bill. It needs less maintenance, which is perfect if you have a busy schedule or a hectic home. Plus, It helps you engage in environmentally friendly water conservation.

The best part is, a drought-tolerant garden doesn’t have to be an eyesore! There’s a diverse variety of attractive plants and flowers that are drought-tolerant. You can create spectacular drought-tolerant landscape designs, too!

Convinced yet? If you’re ready to get right on this brand-new project, we’ve compiled a few handy tips on starting and caring for a drought-tolerant garden.

Interested in a formal course on gardening? Want to get certified as a gardening expert? Check into organizations offering classes in floristry and horticulture, like:

National Gardening Organization
American Floral Endowment
American Horticultural Society

Get familiar with your garden

When you’re planning to create a drought-tolerant garden, the very first step you need to take is to get more aware of your garden. Drought-tolerant plants have certain needs that you may need to prep your garden for.

Here are a handful of things you need to learn about your garden to be successful at drought-tolerant gardening:

Aspect of your garden. This means the “direction” your garden overlooks, whether it’s north, south, west, or east. This identifies how much light and shade your garden gets. Make note of distinct spots in your garden that get more sun. Using this, you can group plants together in areas that get the amount of light they need.

Hardiness zone. Avid gardeners know that determining your hardiness zone is vital for growing plants! It helps you find the right plants to grow for the climate in your area, as well as the optimal growing season for them.

Prepare your soil

All gardens need excellent, healthy soil so they can thrive and blossom. A drought-tolerant garden is no different! In fact, it needs high-quality soil to support itself even with little maintenance. There are a few simple ways to ensure your soil remains in tiptop shape and health.

Here are a few tips for prepping soil for your drought-tolerant garden:

Work compost into your soil. Compost is a must for bettering soil structure. It binds your soil together, which helps it retain moisture and drain excess moisture. This helps stop root rot and diseases. Plus, it enriches your soil with loads of nutrients! To save a few bucks, you can build your own organic compost at home.

Add mulch. Like composting, mulch helps your soil retain water and stops it from evaporating. Mulching about 2-3 inches deep makes a big impact on boosting soil health. It’s also great for weed control. Better yet, you don’t need to shell out a lot on it! Dried leaves, fresh grass trimmings, newspapers, or cardboard make good-quality mulch.

Aerate your soil. Regular aeration has tons of benefits! It opens your soil up to more oxygen, which helps it to root deeper and grow healthier. Even better, it helps prevent water runoff. There are several strategies for aerating your lawn and even your potted plants If you want to save a few bucks on aerators, you can create DIY aerators!
Choose the right drought-tolerant plants.

Not all drought-tolerant plants are created equal. Since you’ve become well-acquainted with your garden, choose plants that suit your climate, soil type, and garden design. If you’ve already checked your hardiness zone, the next step is to determine your soil type. Take note of your garden’s colors and landscape design.

Here are a few examples of our best-loved drought-tolerant plants to give you ideas on which ones to get:

Shrubs

Thyme
Rosemary
Mugo Pine
Ninebark
Privet
Boxwood
Bouganvilla
Russian Sage
Bayberry
Butterfly Bush

Succulents

Agaves
Aeoniums
Euphorbias
Little Jewels
Sedums
Aloes
Palms
Perennials
Perennial Flax
Globe Thistle
Coral Vine
Coneflower
Salvia
Portucala
Poppy

Vegetables

Okra
Cabbages
Leeks
Quinoa
Peas
Carrots
Lentils

Ornamental Grasses

Switch Grass
Feather Reed Grass
Maiden Grass
Fountain Grass
Blue Fescue

Small Trees

Bay Laurel
Palo Verde
Live Oak
Bur Oak
Cedar Elm
Vine Maple
Gingko Biloba

Use the right watering techniques

Of course, your drought-tolerant plants still need a tall drink so they can thrive! Watering needs vary from plant to plant. But there are a few approaches that you can use on most of your drought-tolerant plants. These make sure they grow healthy and stay healthy!

Here are a few techniques you can use to water your plants the right way:

Water on a frequent basis until they’re established. Take note: the drought-tolerant part comes after they’ve grown. This means they need frequent watering for their first growing season. Water them once weekly and be sure the moisture gets to their roots.

Avoid overwatering. True to their name, drought-tolerant plants flourish with little to no water once they’re established. Check each of your plants’ specific watering needs. A great tip is to water only when the soil is dry and crumbly. Also, take note of how much water they need in different seasons. For example, succulents only need watering once or twice throughout the entire winter season.

Practice deep watering. Water your plants deeper and less often. Deep watering encourages their roots to keep growing downwards, so they won’t need a lot of water. For instance, most shrubs and perennials need water to about 12 inches deep. Another crucial tip is to be sure you don’t water their stems, crowns, or leaves. This can lead to rotting or fungal infections.

Use drip irrigation equipment. Xeriscaping experts endorse drip irrigation for drought-tolerant gardens. This guarantees proper watering supplied direct to your plants’ roots. Need to stick to a budget? Build your own drip irrigation system with plastic bottles, PVC pipes, and more! These are quite easy to DIY with a little work and patience.

Maintain your garden

Of course, the key to a flourishing garden is to keep it well-maintained! Besides providing your plants with light and water, here are a few top tips for keeping your garden healthy and gorgeous:

Reduce fertilizer use. Fertilizers stimulate rapid growth, which makes plants seek more water and need pruning. This can harm your plants and make them unhealthy. Try to avoid frequent fertilizing, particularly during the summer. If you think you need to fertilize, opt for slow-release fertilizers.

Practice regular weeding. Weeds use up a lot of water that should go to your prized plants instead. So be sure to remove weeds regularly.

Organize your use of colors, textures, and decor. It’s also important to keep your garden looking bright and gorgeous. Get plants with assorted textures and colors that complement each other. And remember, a little decor never hurts! Get inspiration by looking at this lineup of drought-tolerant landscaping ideas.

Photo by Eco Warrior Princess

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