Top 50 water-wise plants
These plants grow effortlessly in low-water conditions and bloom in an array of colors
Velvety kangaroo paws (Anigozanthos ‘Orange Cross’ and Bush Gems series) add spicy color against golden grasses in a garden in Tiburon, California, designed by Arterra Landscape Architects (arterrallp.com). The plants tolerate drought but flower best with some water in summer and excellent drainage in light sandy soil.
More: How to grow kangaroo paw
Puffy fruits the size of olives turn from yellow when young to red when mature. The fruits are borne at the same time as urn-shaped flowers among dark evergreen leaves. It requires moderate to minimal water.
The shrub attracts hummingbirds with its brilliant red stamens that resemble powder puffs. Use it as an accent in front of a living ocotillo fence or as a backdrop for small blue agaves. Needs minimal water.
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Ranging from low ground covers to large trees, these widely grown plants are conifers, though they produce fleshy, berrylike fruits instead of woody cones--and need very little water.
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Leaves emerge pinkish and bronzy red, then turns to soft light green; they take on purple and bronze tints in fall and often turn fiery crimson in winter, especially in a sunny location and with some frost.
Long-lasting beauties deliver blooms late in the season, when gardens need them most. It makes for a good edging and a neat groundcover for small areas; useful in rock gardens.
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The desert plant thrives in full sun and heat with very little water. It comes in many varieties; pictured here is golden barrel cactus, with golden spines that eventually yield small yellow flowers in summer.
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This highly adaptable plant can be grown as trees, shrubs, or vines. All have large, fresh green leaves divided into many leaflets, and spectacular clusters of blue, white, or pinkish springtime blossoms.
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It can vary from creeping groundcover to a treelike shrub, but all types have small white or pink flowers, usually in late winter to early spring, followed by berrylike red or brown fruits that attract birds.
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