Flowers and plants that
save water and money -

garden to save water

Gardening with uncertain weather patterns in a globally warming climate can be devastating to the water supply and your water bill. Planting garden flowers and perennial plants that are environmentally sound in a sunny spot can be challenging.

Planting wisely can save you money and save the environment.

Thyme boxwood and English ivy

Succulents are the number one answer to gardening with plants that save water, but you don't have to plant cacti. If your garden runs along a walkway that absorbs the sun and gives off heat during the summer, there are a number of succulent varieties including sempervivums and sedums you can plant for low growing edgers or in the front row of your garden.
The colors are amazing and a mix of sedum colors is most appealing to the eye. In the photo above you see a low growing "soft and furry" artemesia children love to run their little hands over. Above it, same photo, is a red voodoo sedum, both on the sun-absorbing hot slate walkway. In the fall the sedum will send up a stalk of tiny flower umbels and spread their seed as the flowers dry.
Sedum green mantle
Some varieties of these low-growing succulents are: sedum, green mantle, voodoo, and the trailing sedum, anglicum shown below. Anglicum, with tiny little pearls of green, produces a white cloud of tiny white flowers that trails over the side of the pot and always looks beautiful planted at the feet of ficus trees in planted pots or window boxes of mixed plants and flowers in a sunny location.
Sedum Anglicum
Lest we not forget "hens and chicks," my grandchildren love these, probably because of their name. Another faithful green sempervivum. Doesn't sempervivum mean "always living" in Latin?
hens and chicks save water
Artemesia is the perennial type of its better known annual cousin, Dusty Miller. It is gray and has feathery narrow leaves which require little water. Artemesia is used in dried arrangements quite often in the fall.
Tall artemesia

Certain herbs require little water. Rosemary is one. herb rosemary
All the thymes, lemon and regular thyme are great savers of water, also great for cooking in the kitchen or on the grill outside.

Sedum, Lemon thyme save water
Lavender as an edging or planted in a clump is particularly water saving. If you are buying plants for a clump in a perennial garden, buy three of each variety and plant them in a triangle the required distance apart as stated on the plant tag. Lavender can also be used as a moth repellent if you cut it and dry it when in full bloom. Lavender is a type of heather and all heathers are great water savers. They require little if any pruning or care.

lavender (18402)

This hardy heather below is just about to burst with little pale yellow cushion flowers.

Heather saves water

Bearded iris which are sold in tubers require little water. The tuber will turn to mush if given too much water. The same is true of dahlias. Iris tubers are planted so that the tuber is covered halfway by the soil.

Bearded iris save water

Dahlias are planted 6 or 8 inches under the soil, but require little water as their stems hold a lot of water as well. In the Northeast and like colder climates, dahlias must be lifted and stored in your cellar or sheltered frost-free area for the winter, unless your garden is protected by a fence or wall, where they will escape the cold winter winds.

Campanula is a lovely perennial and a faithful one as well. It is available in different shades of blue and white and blooms most of the summer with care.


The retro 60's spider plant can be used in window boxes, looking lovely, shooting off its baby spiders variegated green and white narrow leaves. I have used this one which will grow full and bushy to cover the unsightly electric meters.

spider plants (18406)

Phlox, which grows from 18-36 inches, depending on the variety, is another old garden perennial favorite that will save you water. If given too much water and not enough sunlight, phlox will mildew. Choose varieties of phlox that are mildew resistant. Phlox also does well in part shade area gardens. This is Phlox, paniculata David, mildew and disease resistant.

phlox saves water

Sweet Alyssum is an annual, but really nicely in hanging baskets or around the feet of morning glories in pots and containers.

Sweet alyssum with morning glories

Nasturtiums are annuals and quite easy to grow from a seed packet. Nasturtiums produce their own "false caper" seeds, which can be pickled, and nasturtiums are edible in salads or stuffed with a cream cheese spread for a lovely party canape. These are just beginning in this wire moss basket topiary, but will reach the ground before the summer's out and really like a dry soil and lots of sun.

.Nasturtiums moss hanging basket

Save water by watering early in the morning or very late in the evening, to achieve less evaporation and give the plants a chance to absorb the water you do give them. Water the feet of the plants, not the leaves and foliage. Gather rain from your gutter downspouts in a water barrel or watering can for small container gardening.

More choices for flowering plants that save water and money that haven't bloomed yet in this garden:
The roots of the Buddleia or butterfly bush grow very deep like a tree, so frequent watering isn't required. The butterfly bush is a great balancer for larger gardens, one on either end, and come in almost every color imaginable.

There are any number of ornamental Grasses, short to tall, some with variegated leaves, all different colors from gray green to blue to green and white, all are water saving and make great edgers.

Rudbeckia, which looks like a sunflower, but shorter, about 18-22", is another perennial for saving water. They are available in yellow and rosey pink.

Monarda is a tall growing type of herb and even its leaves have a lovely scent. Monarda loves all day sun and saves water and your water bill.

Echinops or globe thistle, about 24-36" is a repeat bloomer and requires little water, here's a photo of the bluest blue globe thistle with spiny leaves.

Echinops globe thistle

For the most part, choose plants with thin long, narrow leaves, spiny leaves, and water succulent plants. Plants that require little water have adapted themselves to less water with leaves of this sort. Water saving plants and perennial flowers and annuals are numerous and will make you a very happy gardener and save you money.