A choice of water-efficient plants

Sunset

GROUNDCOVERS

Dwarf periwinkle (Vinca minor): 4–6 in. tall, 3 ft. wide; lavender-blue flowers in spring. Low water; fire resistant. Climate zones 1–3 from the Sunset Western Garden Book.

Ice plant (Delosperma nubigenum): 1 in. tall, 3 ft. wide; yellow flowers in spring. Moderate water. Zones 2–3.

Rock soapwort (Saponaria ocymoides): 6–12 in. tall, 3 ft. wide; pink flowers in spring. Moderate water. Zones 1–3.

Snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum): 6–8 in. tall, 3 ft. wide; white flowers in summer. Moderate water. Zones 1–3.

Speedwell (Veronica pectinata): 3 in. tall, 1 ft. wide; blue flowers in spring. Low water; fire resistant. Zones 1–3.

Woolly thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus): 2–3 ft. tall, 3 ft. wide; pink flowers in summer. Low water; fire resistant. Zones 1–3.

ORNAMENTAL GRASSES

Blue oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens): 2–3 ft. tall and wide; fine blue leaves. Low water. Zones 1–3.

Feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora): 4–5 ft. tall, 2 ft. wide; green leaves, burgundy plumes in summer; attractive seed heads. Low water. Zones 2b–3b.

Fescue (Festuca idahoensis ‘Siskiyou Blue’): 18 in. tall, 15 in. wide; blue-green to silvery blue leaves. Moderate water. Zones 1–3.

Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium ‘The Blues’): 2–3 ft. tall, 1–2 ft. wide; pale blue leaves turn red in autumn. Low water. Zones 1–3.

Maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’): 3–4 ft. tall and wide; white-edged leaves. Moderate water. Zones 2–3.

PERENNIALS

Aster x frikartii ‘Mönch’: 2 ft. tall and wide; lavender flowers in summer. Moderate water. Zones 2b–3b.

Desert four o’clock (Mirabilis multiflora): 1–2 ft. tall, 3–5 ft. wide; magenta flowers all summer. Very low water. Zones 1–3.

English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): 8 in.–2 ft. tall and wide; fragrant lavender flowers in summer. Low water; fire resistant. Zones 2–3.

Golden columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha): 3–4 ft. tall, 1–2 ft. wide; fragrant yellow flowers in spring. Moderate water; fire resistant. Zones 1–3.

Jupiter’s beard (Centranthus ruber): 3 ft. tall and wide; coral-red flowers in summer. Low water; fire resistant. Zones 2–3.

Mullein (Verbascum bombyciferum ‘Arctic Summer’): To 6 ft. tall, 2 ft. wide; yellow flowers in summer. Low water. Zones 2–3.

Ozark sundrops (Oenothera macrocarpa incana ‘Silver Blade’): 6 in. tall, 2 ft. wide; yellow flowers in summer. Low water. Zones 1–3.

Provence broom (Cytisus purgans ‘Spanish Gold’): 4 ft. tall, 6 ft. wide; yellow flowers in spring. Very low water. Zones 1–3.

Purple prairie clover (Petalostemon purpureum): 18 in. tall and wide; purple flowers in summer. Low water. Zones 1–3.

Rocky Mountain penstemon (P. strictus): 2–3 ft. tall, 2 ft. wide; blue-violet flowers in summer. Low water. Zones 1–3.

Salvia nemorosa ‘East Friesland’: 18 in. tall and wide; violet-blue flowers summer through fall. Low water. Zones 2–3.

Statice (Limonium gmelinii): 3 ft. tall and wide; purple flowers in summer. Low water. Zones 1–3.

Sundrops (Calylophus serrulatus): 18 in. tall and wide; yellow flowers in summer. Very low water. Zones 1–3.

Wine cups (Callirhoe involucrata): 6 in. tall, 2–3 ft. wide; magenta flowers all summer. Very low water. Zones 1–3.

Yarrow (Achillea ‘Moonshine’): 2 ft. tall and wide; silvery leaves and yellow flowers in summer. Low water. Zones 1–3.

SHRUBS

Apache plume (Fallugia paradoxa): 3–5 ft. tall and wide; white flowers and feathery seed heads all summer. Very low water; fire resistant. Zones 2a–3b.

Austrian copper rose (Rosa foetida ‘Bicolor’): 4–5 ft. tall and wide; coppery red flowers in spring. Low water. Zones 1–3.

Blue mist (Caryopteris x clandonensis): 2 ft. tall and wide; blue flowers in summer. Moderate water. Zones 2b–3b.

Daphne x burkwoodii ‘Carol Mackie’: 3–4 ft. tall and wide; fragrant pink flowers in spring; gold-edged leaves. Moderate water. Zones 2b–3b.

Dwarf chamisa (Chrysothamnus nauseosus): 1–4 ft. tall and wide; yellow flowers in summer. Very low water. Zones 1–3.

False indigo (Amorpha fruticosa): 6–8 ft. tall, 15 ft. wide; purple flowers in summer. Low water. Zones 2b–3b.

Fernbush (Chamaebatiaria millefolium): 6–8 ft. tall and wide; white flowers in summer. Very low water. Zones 1–3.

Golden currant (Ribes aureum): 3–6 ft. tall and wide; yellow flowers in spring; edible fruit; red fall foliage. Low water. Zones 1–3.

Mock orange (Philadelphus lewisii ‘Cheyenne’): 7 ft. tall, 6 ft. wide; fragrant white flowers in spring. Moderate water. Zones 1–3.

Western sand cherry (Prunus besseyi): 3–6 ft. tall and wide; white flowers in spring; edible fruit. Low water. Zones 1–3.

TREES

Crabapple (Malus ‘Coralburst’): 10–15 ft. tall, 8–10 ft. wide; rose-pink flowers in spring; reddish orange fruit. Moderate water. Zones 1–3.

Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis): 25–35 ft. tall and wide; rosy pink flowers in spring; yellow fall foliage. Moderate water. Zones 1–3.

European mountain ash (Sorbus aucuparia): 20–40 ft. tall, 15–25 ft. wide; white flowers in spring; red berries; red fall foliage. Moderate water. Zones 1–3.

Goldenrain tree (Koelreuteria paniculata): 20–35 ft. tall, 25–40 ft. wide; yellow flowers in summer; yellow fall foliage. Moderate water. Zones 2–3.

Ornamental pear (Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’): 30–35 ft. tall, 12–15 ft. wide; white flowers in spring; red fall foliage. Moderate water. Zones 2b–3b.

Pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia): 20 ft. tall and wide; white flowers in spring; blue-black fruit; red fall foliage. Moderate water. Zones 2–3.

‘Princess Kay’ plum (Prunus nigra ‘Princess Kay’): 15–20 ft. tall, 15 ft. wide; white flowers in spring; red fall foliage. Moderate water. Zones 1–3.

Russian hawthorn (Crataegus ambigua): 15–25 ft. tall and wide; white flowers in spring; red fruit; orange fall foliage. Low water. Zones 1–3.

Serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’): 15–25 ft. tall, 15–20 ft. wide; white flowers in spring; purplish black edible fruit; orange-red fall foliage. Moderate water. Zones 2–3.

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