Waterwise plants to survive the dry spell

Holly Coomey The West Australian
Succulents are low-maintenance and provide colour to a waterwise garden.
Camera IconSucculents are low-maintenance and provide colour to a waterwise garden. Credit: quangpraha/Getty Images

Western Australia has an enviable climate and, although it means we can be lapping it up at the beach for a large portion of the year, it does come with the challenge of creating a garden that can survive the hot summer sun.

Choosing drought-friendly plants is important to ensure you do not get hit with hefty water bills or have to continually replace dead plants.

Water Corporation Customer and Community General Manager Karen Willis said a whopping 60 per cent of household water use was in the garden.

“By choosing waterwise plants suited to our unusual climate, you will find they require a lot less water and maintenance than other plants,” she said.

“There are a huge range of both native and exotic plants that are perfectly suited to the weather where we live, so you can get as creative as you like while still being smart with water.

“In WA, we’re fortunate to be home to thousands of native plant species. Known for their natural beauty, these plants are as suited to our climate as they are stunning.”

Bunnings Warehouse Horticulturist Katy Schreuder talked us through some of the most suitable drought-friendly plants for your backyard.

“Syzygium are hardy plants that come in many different varieties, giving you the option to choose a type that suits your garden,” she said.

“Once established they require very little water and can also provide shade and shelter for birds.

“Succulents – there are many different shapes and sizes of succulent. They are low-maintenance plants, which will provide eye-catching colour to a waterwise garden.

“Rhaphiolepis indica is a shrub with glossy leaves and pretty white or pink flowers. It can be pruned lightly to create an attractive hedge or border and requires very little water once established.

“Carpobrotus, also known as pigface, is a native succulent that has pretty pink flowers on lush bright green leaves.

“It thrives in coastal conditions and can take some serious neglect, surviving well with very little water.

“This is also a great option if you are looking for a drought-friendly groundcover plant.

“In many different colours, from neutral whites through to more vibrant shades of pink and purple, lavender is great for any cottage garden and is easy to look after, needing only a prune after flowering to help maintain its shape and minimal watering once established.

“A bonus is bees love lavender, meaning you’ll be creating a more bee-friendly garden for them to enjoy.”

Ms Schreuder suggests choosing local native plants and checking the labels on the plant to ensure it suits where you are planting when arranging a native garden.

“Look after your soil to give plants the best chance and fertilise regularly with an appropriate fertiliser, always making sure to read the instructions,” she said.

“Most plants benefit from wind protection and this also helps to stop the soil from drying out too quickly.”

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