Xeriscape Bedding Plants - Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
Xeriscape Bedding Plants Maureen McCrackenT he right plant in the right place is an important guideline for any garden, but even more so in a Xeriscape. This simple, yet powerful concept—plants should be matched to the growing conditions in the garden—results in healthier plants, requiring less maintenance. In a Xeriscape, this is imperative to attain the low water use objectiveof this landscape style.Before choosing plants, it is important to know the soil conditions, natural moisture and light exposure for the plantingbed. Once environmental constraints are determined, plants that fit those requirements can be identified. Minimicrocosms usually exist within a landscape, where light, moisture and even soil conditions may be different. There maybe full sun in the front yard and full shade in the back. Therefore, it is important to group plants with similar soil, lightand water needs for the maximum water savings, even within one yard.Choosing the right bedding plants can be fun, but also daunting, as there are so many plant groups and selections toconsider.Native plants are usually a good place to start, since by definition they are a natural fit to the area. However, even withinnative plants, light and moisture needs must be considered. Some good choices for a Xeriscape include:Bellflower, CampanulaBlanket Flower, GaillardiaBlack-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirtaPurple Coneflower, Echinacea purpureaWild Ginger, Asarum canadenseGreen-and-gold, Chrysogonum VirginianJoe-pye Weed, Eupatorium maculatumLily Turf, Liriope muscariMondo Grass, Ophiopogon japonicusBlue Phlox, Phlox divaricataFalse Solomons Seal, Smilacina racemosaSpiderwort, TradescantiaMany bulbs are drought tolerant because they are dormant in the summer. An added bonus for many bulbs is theirability to spread and naturalize, thus providing many years of enjoyment, even in a Xeriscape:Daffodils, NarcissusCrocus, CrocusOrnamental Onion, AlliumHerbs that come from arid climates are good choices for a dry, sunny location:Oregano, Origanum vulgareRosemary, Rosemaryinus officinalisSage, Salvia officinalisThyme, Thymus vulgarisYarrow, Achillea millefoliumThere are many beautiful ornamental grasses that need little to no supplemental irrigation once established:Blue Fescue, Festuca glaucaMaiden grass, Miscanthus sinensis GracillimusPampas Grass, Cortaderia selloanaWild Oats, Chasmanthium latifolium
The number of perennials available is huge. In this plant group it is also very important to consider the light andmoisture requirements of each plant, as there is a large variation. The following perennials are some that are droughttolerant and should grow well in the proper location within a Xeriscape:Artemisia, Artemisia absinthiumBugleweed, Ajuga ReptensDaylily, HemerocallisHollyhock, Alcea roseaIris, Iris cristataPincushion Flower, Scabiosa caucasicaRose Campion, Lychnis coronariaShasta Daisy, ChrysanthemumSedum, SedumSunflower, HelianthusMany annuals thrive in full sun. Avoid those that require a lot of water. Annuals to consider in a Xeriscape include:Ageratum, Ageratum HoustonianCalendula, Calendula officinalisCockscomb, Celosia cristataCosmos, Cosmos bipinnatusCreeping Zinnia, Zinnia linearisDusty Miller, Senecio cinerariaGlobe Amaranth, Gomphrena globosaMarigold, Tagetes erectaMoss rose, Portulaca grand floraPetunia, Petunia x hybridaSalvia, Salvia splendensSpider flower, Cleome hassleranaStatice, LimoniumVerbena, VerbenaZinnia, Zinnia elegansPlant all bedding plants at the right time of year, and then mulch, mulch, mulch! Next, sit back and enjoy yourXeriscape, knowing it is good for the environment and good for your pocketbook. MM______________ An Extension Master Gardener Volunteer since 2006, Maureen McCracken is an avid gardener, and also a Master Composter with Mecklenburg County, NC. Maureen credits her love of flowers and horticulture to her grandmother, who loved all plants and maintained a multi-use cottage garden with flowers, shrubs, fruits and vegetables.