On this 95 degree day, you may want to think about replacing your plants with more eco-friendly choices that will require less water each week.
Some plants require water almost everyday. You don’t need to replace all of these plants, especially if they are your favorites. But you can substitute many of these problem drinkers with attractive drought-tolerant alternatives, that will require less watering year round, which is a great green step. Here are some examples of plants that require more water to stay away from, and some better choices.
You can also consider replacing some exotic plants with groups of native plants that will tolerate and thrive in your area’s year round weather conditions. Native plants are hardy, drought resistant, low maintenance, and will save you time and money by reducing the need for pesticides, fertilizer, and water. However, not all introduced species are bad garden choices, and some will adapt very well to your area, so you’ll need to do some research. A big bonus to planting a variety of native plants? They’ll provide a habitat for a variety of your favorite native wildlife, including birds and butterflies.
Native vs. Exotic
Native Plants are defined as any plants that occurred in North America before European settlement. Exotic Plants, or non-natives, are those not originally located in North America and your specific region. Plants that are native to where you live have evolved and adapted to your local conditions. Once established, they require very little attention, very little watering, and they’re resistant to most diseases; natives are also incredibly hardy and can survive the cold of winter and the heat of summer.
I work with a lot of natives and non-natives, and there are many non-natives that do well. However, some exotic plants can be very invasive and what many find appealing about some exotic plants, such as colorful berries or pest resistance, make them very difficult to contain. Exotic plants most appealing to birds and other wildlife are usually the most invasive because animals easily spread fruits and seeds.
The amount of time required to keep your garden in check can become a full time job, and since it can take several years to fully realize an exotic plant’s invasiveness, many find going native to be not only a more natural and “green” way to go, but the least invasive to the precious time we have to enjoy our garden spaces.