Low maintenance gardening can be done with native plants that thrive on small amounts of water. Some varieties attract butterflies, and others add interest in both the summer and fall. This segment showcases several native plants that work well for Western Kansas.

Produced by the Department of Communications at Kansas State University. For more information, visit our website at: http://www.kansasgreenyards.org

Native Plants Thrive on Less Water

One of the interesting things about using native plant materials for xeric or low water use landscaping is that there is a wide variety to choose from. When you’re selecting plants, be sure that you consider the growing zone that your particular site is located in. Many of them require full sun or full exposure. Others may require a more partial shade or shady area.

In this garden we have Skullcap, lots of the Penstemons, and the Agastache type of plants that are perennials. There are numerous others such as the Butterfly Milkweed, and some grasses, such as the Little Bluestem, Tall Bluestem, and the switchgrasses which are native to this area. There are several varieties that work quite well. The grasses in the fall will bring on various shapes of plumage and color that will add interest to a low water use garden.

We have a particular Master Gardener that works with the garden here. And, he’s used a gravel mulch around the plants because that is the type of mulch the native plants would typically thrive in. This border doesn’t get any more supplemental watering than the water that runs off the sidewalk area. So, it’s very low maintenance after it’s established with the use of mulch and occasional weeding.

There is a wide selection of plants to choose from. Some of the choices in this garden come from experimentation and observation. It’s important to check with other local gardeners that have similar conditions and see what they are growing. Also, check with your local county extension office. They have publications and resources available to help you chose the right plants for your garden.

This feature story prepared with Dean Whitehill, former Kansas State University Research and Extension Agent, Finney County. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.

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