With the recent drought in South Africa, home owners have become more savvy in the way they use water around their homes. Many have resorted to installing rain water harvesting or grey water systems (properly filtered) in order to irrigate their gardens, whilst others have installed boreholes to utilise groundwater. These techniques go a long way to making us all ‘water-wise,’ but despite these measures, home owners may still have the problem of how to adequately water their gardens. Many gardens still incorporate one or more exotic species that may require higher than normal watering cycles, and this is where the use of indigenous, water-wise planting can be beneficial. It is sometimes assumed that water-wise planting means only using succulents or aloes, but this is not necessarily the case, and there are many species that may not be considered ‘succulent’, but are nonetheless beneficial in their own way to help you conserve water in your garden. Groundcovers, for example, can spread to cover the soil, thereby helping to conserve water by reducing evaporation. In addition home owners can also reduce the size of their lawns, replacing these areas with shrubs and groundcovers that do not require as much water to keep them alive and flourishing. There are even home owners who have done away with lawn entirely, creating lawn-free gardens that dramatically lower their watering requirements, as well as reducing their maintenance costs.
To help you on your way, we’ve selected 14 indigenous plant species that are worth considering when changing your ‘thirsty’ garden into a water-wise, wildlife haven:
This beautiful succulent groundcover is a favourite for retaining walls and dry patches of soil where other plants may struggle. It is rich-green in colour, with dainty pinkish-red flowers and can spread rapidly, helping to cover an area in a short space of time. It can be used to stabilise soil in areas which may be susceptible to run-off or erosion, or can be used as a lawn replacement for difficult to reach areas. A golden-coloured variety is also available.