The combination of hotter-than-usual temperatures and longer stretches between measurable moisture means plants need more water from a hose.
Choose plants that require less water and you not only will save time and money, but help sustain Oregon’s water supply, says Amy Jo Detweiler, a horticulturist with Oregon State University’s Extension Service.
Amy Jo recommends these 10 plants for water-wise gardens:
- Cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa). This compact deciduous shrub grows about 3 feet tall and 5 feet wide and sports sunny yellow flowers from June until frost. It does best in full sun but will tolerate light shade. Hardy to Zone 2.
- Flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum). Hummingbirds and butterflies flock to this large shrub that grows to about 10 feet high and 5 feet wide. Long clusters of dark pink flowers drip from branches in May and June. Give it full to partial sun. Hardy to Zone 5.
- Globe blue spruce (Picea pungens). Commonly known as Globosa, the small conifer with striking silver-blue foliage grows slowly to 5 to 6 feet. Plant in full sun for best color. Hardy to Zone 2.
- Manzanita (Arctostaphylos). This large genus of evergreen shrubs ranges from 2 to 12 feet. It is interesting in all four seasons, with often twisting, mahogany bark and hanging clusters of bell-shaped white to pink flowers in late winter to early spring. Hummingbirds love it. Hardiness varies by species and cultivar. Check your local nursery for those appropriate in your area.
- Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius). Domes of white flowers in early summer show beautifully against the mid-green foliage of this 6- to 10-foot deciduous shrub. It has the added attractions of peeling bark and superb fall color. Birds, bees and butterflies love the blooms. Two cultivars of note are “Dart’s Gold” with chartreuse leaves and “Diablo” with purple foliage. Hardy to Zone 2.
- Little Princess (Spirea japonica). Clusters of pink flowers in summer prove irresistible to birds, butterflies and bees. This compact, mounding deciduous shrub tops out at about 3 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Plant in full sun. Hardy to Zone 4.
- Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia). Fragrant, grayish-green foliage distinguishes this 3- to 5-foot-tall shrub that needs full sun. Spires of airy lavender flowers bloom midsummer to fall and are good candidates for bouquets. Hardy to Zone 4.
- Serviceberry (Amelanchier). Here’s a shrub that has it all: showy white flowers in early spring, edible purple-red berries that attract birds, and stunning red and yellow fall color. It wants full sun to perform its best, and grows 6 to 10 feet tall, depending on the species. Hardy to Zone 2.
- Snowberry (Symphoricarpos). In spring, small, bell-shaped blooms appear at the end of branches on this 5-foot-tall and 6-foot-wide deciduous shrub. The best part are the white berries in fall, which birds love. Bees, hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to the flowers. Plant in full to partial sun. Hardy to Zone 3.
- Wayfaring tree (Viburnum lantana). Often known as Mohican, flat-topped clusters of white flowers come out in spring and are followed by fruits that start out pink and turn to red then black. This 7-foot-tall by 8-foot-wide rounded deciduous shrub turns deep purple in fall. Give it full to partial sun. Hardy to Zone 3.