Is there a picture that pops into your mind when you hear the word “xeriscape”? I know that when I first envisioned what this word meant, I pictured sparse, twiggy plants, with little to no color, sticking up out of dry dusty soil. Maybe an occasional green cactus would enter the picture as I stepped out of the way to let a tumbleweed rumble by. Just me? I’ve never been so happy to learn that my assumption was completely wrong. Even though having a xeriscape landscape means that you have a landscape or garden that needs very little or no supplemental water irrigation to survive and thrive, a xeriscape landscape can also have color, texture, and eye-catching interest! All this while helping you save water, time, and money!


Keep in mind that ALL plants, even xeriscape plants, need to be given adequate water while they are establishing their roots. For shrubs and trees this process could take anywhere from one and a half  years to three years, depending on soil conditions. Groundcovers and vines can take around two years depending on soil conditions, and perennials one to one and a half years, also depending on soil conditions. See this link for a great xeriscape plant list and read on for a few reasons to get you interested in xeriscape gardening.

Purple coneflowers are beautiful, xeriscape, native wildflowers for San Antonio.

5 Reasons to Try Xeriscape Gardening in Your Landscape

  1. Xeriscape Gardening: Start Small. You don’t have to do a major overhaul right away. I’ve designated specific gardens throughout my landscape to house xeriscape plants rather than replacing everything all at once. Swapping out one water-hungry shrub or perennial with a xeriscape choice is another option for starting small. 
  2. Xeriscape Gardening: Plants and Hardscape. You can choose both plants and hardscape items when creating a xeriscape garden. Combining both of these generally helps stretch the dollar. Rock borders, pathways of crushed granite, and mulch can help fill in larger spaces between plants, and make for larger areas that don’t need money-gobbling water.
  3. Xeriscape Gardening: Less Maintenance. How many weekends have you spent mowing, edging, trimming, fertilizing, watering your landscape and everything in it, only to notice you spent no time enjoying it? You have such less maintenance when you create some xeriscape gardens within your landscape. 
  4. Xeriscape Gardening: Less Money. I know all some of us need to do is go look at our most recent water bill and we will quickly get interested in xeriscape gardening! The lack of rainfall so far this fall has been surprising to me. After being established, xeriscape plants can afford to wait for natural rainfall and keep thriving in the meantime. 
  5. Xeriscape Gardening: Sun or Shade. You can find xeriscape plants that are fit for both sun or shade. Perennials like Lantana, Purple Coneflower, and Verbena are happiest in xeriscape gardens that are full of sunshine; while Turk’s Cap, Cedar Sage, and Columbine need a shadier spot to hang out. 

Each year Rainbow Gardens will search for more xeriscape selections and varieties and encourage homeowners to incorporate them into their landscape to help do their part in the conservation of our very precious water supply. Rainbow Gardens works hard to find reliable suppliers to be able to continue to offer you an incredible selection of water-friendly, xeriscape plants.  As always, Rainbow Gardens thanks you for your support!

~The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy