Water wise plants tough it out

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As in any garden before planting, soil preparation is necessary. Proper soil preparation will help conserve water. Prepare soil before planting by loosening it to a depth of 12 inches. If it is a heavy clay or sandy soil, add 2-3 inches of compost on the surface and then till it.

Apply 1-2 inches or organic mulch between flowers to reduce evaporation and control water-using weeds. Fertilizing perennials generally is not needed if the soil is properly prepared.

Fertilizer causes lush growth that requires more water. If you need to fertilize, use a slow-release fertilizer and apply it in the spring. Water infrequently but deeply and thoroughly. This encourages rooting and greater tolerance to dry spells. Use slow drip and deep root watering systems, which can save up to 60 percent of garden water use. The following plants can tolerate less water.

Perennials

n Artemisias

Silvery gray or while aromatic foliage

n Ice plant

Flashy rich green leaves, small white summer flowers

n Blanket flower

Brightly colored red and yellow daisies

n Lamb's ears

Fuzzy gray leaves with magenta flowers

n Butterfly flower

Small orchid-like orange, yellow and red flowers

n Lavender cotton

Whitish gray leaves, bright yellow flower heads

n Blue grama

Flowering stems have odd inflorescences springing out at right angles

n Little bluestem

Clump forming grass with narrow leaves

n Common thrift

Lilac, rose and white tufted flower mounds

n Penstemon

Narrowly bell-shaped flowers in red, blues and pinks

n Coneflower

Showy pink, purple and white flowers

n Poppy mallow

2-inch purplish red mallow-type flowers

n Coreopsis

Golden yellow daisies, easy to grow

n Russian sage

Tiny violet blue flowers

n Creeping phlox

Showy mat forming pale to deep pink flower clusters

n Stonecrop (sedum)

Star-like flowers yellow, white pink and red

n Gaura

Branching flower spikes bear blooms of white or pink

n Yarrow

Flattish flower heads in white, pinks and yellow

Annuals

n Bachelor buttons

Narrow gray-green leaves, button flowers in pinks, blue rose or white

n Mexican sunflower

Bold orange Mexican sunflower

n California Poppy

Single satiny petaled flowers from pale yellow to deep orange

n Nasturtium

Bright green leaves in long stalks and long spurred fragrant flowers in many colors

n Cock's comb

Plum flower clusters in brilliant shades

n Periwinkle

Phlox-like flowers in white, pink or bright rose

n Cosmos

Showy summer and fall blooms in many colors

n Portulaca (moss rose)

Lustrous petal flowers shaped like tiny roses

n Dwarf "morning glory"

Sun-loving mounded plants in red pink and blue

n Sanvitalia

Golden trailing zinnia look alike

n Ganzia

Silvery-gray foliage, trailing stems flowers are yellow, white orange or bronze

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