City Editor Alyson here. The heat has been a tad ruthless this month, as my energy bill can confirm — and so can my dying plants.
California’s historically dry summers strip yards of lush, green gardens, but there’s a way to combat the ugliness. Introducing: xeriscaping.
What is xeriscaping?
Xeriscaping is a landscaping practice that utilizes drought-tolerant plants with the aim to conserve water and waste from yard trimmings. Benefits include lower water bills, less usage of fertilizers + pest repellents, and reduced maintenance.
What plants can I use?
While desert plants, like cacti and succulents, immediately come to mind, there are tons of options — as well as some that are native to San Jose. Start by browsing these local lists:
- San Jose Water water-saving plants
- UC Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County water-wise plant database
- South Bay Green Gardens resources
Tips + tricks
Xeriscapes don’t take too much effort to upkeep, but building a strong foundation will help maintain steady growth. To ensure a healthy xeriscape:
- Plant in well-draining soil — avoid soggy or dry soil
- Add mulch — a layer on your landscape can help retain moisture + keep roots cool
- Water earlier in the day — doing so at peak heat times (the middle of the day) will make the water evaporate quickly
- Pull weeds — getting rid of dead plant debris will keep a healthy landscape