A xeriscaped garden doesn’t have to depend upon cactus plants, yuccas, or other succulents to provide a touch of color. There are many flowering plants that can grow well in low water conditions. The key is to pick plants that grow well in your natural climate with little outside irrigation. The following list can help you select a few options.
For color in spring, few options beat the flowering bulbs, which include daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths. Although bulbs do need water, they only need it for their short growth period, which fortunately coincides with moist spring weather. If you prefer annuals that don’t have high water needs, then consider orange-red California poppies, bright yellow creeping zinnias, or greenish-white dusty miller. These will flower or grow through summer needing only minimal amounts of water to thrive.
Many perennials can do well in a xeriscape bed. Always look first to plants that are native in your area. Your county extension office or a local nursery can help you. Columbine grows well in many climates and rarely needs extra water. The interesting flowers are available in nearly every color imaginable. Coneflowers, or echinacea, provide large bright purple blooms that thrive in dry soil. For a sunnier option, opt for bright yellow black-eyed Susan flowers. If dainty is your thing, delicate white shasta daisies are a good option. For a plant that makes a statement, consider red hot pokers. The tall flower spikes are each tipped with a cluster of flowers that are red at the tip, fading to yellow at the base, so that it truly resembles its name.
Flower shrubs and sub-shrubs are another way to add color. Lavender can thrive almost anywhere as long as the soil is dry. This evergreen sends up purple flower spikes in early summer, with a second show sometimes occurring in late summer. Daylilies are another good option. Most varieties are yellow, although there are some red varieties, too. They bloom almost all summer. Watering can lead to increased flower production, but it’s not necessary. Another option with deep purple flower spikes is sage. This grows especially well in desert climates.
If you want even more height, perhaps as a hedge, consider serviceberries. These flowering trees feature white blooms in spring and edible berries in late summer.
Contact a landscaper in your area that focuses on xeriscaping. They can help you pick out the best blooms for your low water needs.