Plants that need little irrigation water

Do you live in an area with a dry climate? Do you want to know which plants need little watering?

If you want to know plants that do not require abundant amounts of water and that withstand the lack of irrigation well, in this post we give you some options. Specifically, we give you 6 options for plants that are undemanding in terms of the amount of water they need.

The value of Natural Resources: Water

When considering the design or redesign of a garden or orchard, whether in the field or on the terrace, it is important to respect nature and its environment, starting with taking maximum care of natural resources.

Gardens and orchards are spaces capable of providing food and flowers, both to satisfy human needs and for wild animals (especially the much-needed Pollinators ), thus promoting balance with the nature of the environment and biodiversity.

In this process of getting closer to nature through the cultivation of plants that we will incorporate as a complement to our home, it is important to consider the availability of resources for the survival of the species we choose.

The most important resources for any plant, terrace, garden or orchard, whether in open spaces or indoors, are natural light, air and, fundamentally, water.

There is no living being that can survive without water, therefore, water has played a central role in gardens since ancient times. Based on the availability of water, they are designed from aquatic gardens or ponds, to xerophilous or also called desert gardens .

Desert gardens are usually populated by different varieties of succulents and cacti, but also by species that do not need much water and that allow to create attractive compositions for Xerogardening in dry climates.

In places where there is an alternation of rains and droughts, plants that require little irrigation and those that support the scarcity of this water resource, but are also suitable for conditions of certain seasonal humidity, are usually included.

Planning the garden with plants that do not need a lot of watering

If you live in an area where there is not much humidity, plants with little watering are ideal for the garden. But, if abundant rains occur in the area at any time of the year, it is important to consider several aspects of the terrain:

  • Drainage and heights : you will have to place the plants that are less demanding with the availability of water in the highest areas. And on the contrary, the plants that support the most humidity in the lowest and floodable parts.
  • The type of soil : sandy soils retain little water, clay takes time to absorb but, once soaked, it also takes time to remove excess water because it has a greater retention capacity.
  • Take advantage of native species : it is the best way to avoid competition for irrigation with the rest of the ornamental species that you want to have in the garden and, from the second year, it will practically no longer need further care.

Drought resistant plants that require little water

As we said before, in addition to succulents and cacti , species typical of arid areas and that may not even resist well the wettest and rainy seasons in some latitudes, there are also other plants that are resistant to dry seasons and to periods more or less extensive without irrigation, among them we highlight these 6:

Lavender officinalis

A plant that stands out for its aroma and color, right?

It is native to the Mediterranean Sea area and has a low water requirement. It holds very well for long periods without water. In this post I give you more details about Lavender Cultivation that may be useful to you.

But in addition, it is an aromatic highly valued for its different uses in home remedies due to the Medicinal Properties of Lavender .

As if that were not enough, it attracts pollinators such as bees, making it an excellent ally to promote biodiversity and the health of our garden.

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Salvia officinalis

We continue in our selection with another very popular aromatic: Salvia.

It owes its popularity to its therapeutic applications and if you want to know what they are, I invite you to read my post Uses and Properties of Salvia in which I tell you about its many uses.

And of course, as far as water is concerned, it is one of our allies in the event that we are looking for plants with a low water requirement. In addition, we can plant it in full sun because it is able to withstand high temperatures and low humidity.

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Rosemary officinalis

Without a doubt, we consider it essential in every garden or orchard in dry areas (and not so dry), since it is a plant that will not require any special care for its cultivation because it is quite rustic and adapts very well. .

As if that were not enough, it has multiple uses in the kitchen and is very popular due to its medicinal and repellent properties for insects and pests.

If you want to know more, I recommend that you read my post on the Properties of Rosemary and on the Cultivation of Rosemary .

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It also receives other names such as Napoleón, bougainvillea, Santa Rita, trinitaria, bougainvillea or veranera.

It is a thorny climbing plant highly valued for its flowering and versatility when growing it: from pots to gardens to cover walls, it is a plant that adapts well to any space in which you want to place it.

It requires practically no maintenance and perfectly withstands droughts, that is why it deserves to be on our list of plants that need little watering.

bougainvillea cared

Agapanthus africanus

Known by names such as African Lily or Flower of Love, it is an outdoor plant with lush foliage and flowers of intense colors that will brighten up any corner of your terrace or garden.

It is a short-stemmed plant that resists water restriction well, being one of our favorites for dry climates and for xerophilous gardens.

African lily care


Pyracantha coccinea

Known as Firethorn, it is a shrub that requires practically no water and is highly resistant to different environmental conditions.

It blooms in spring and summer, later giving rise to red, orange or yellow berries in autumn, which is why it is highly appreciated for its ornamental versatility.

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Symptoms of lack of water in plants

Beyond the fact that these species are resistant to the lack of water for some periods, plants that do not receive enough water can show signs of stress due to lack of water, and it is important to pay attention to these symptoms of drought to act before they occur. irreversible damage.

The main symptoms of stress due to lack of water in general are shown as:

  • Withered or decayed leaves.
  • Curled or yellow leaves that fall off or break.
  • Leaves that lose their shine and turn into a grayish hue.
  • Sunburned leaves.
  • Very small new leaves.

Faced with any of these symptoms, it is important to carry out abundant waterings but without flooding, consider the possibility of providing nutrients to the soil and rule out diseases, pests or other factors that produce similar alterations, such as frost.


Consulted bibliography:

  • “Manual of design criteria in urban gardens”, Ana Leticia Martinez Trejo de Lopez. Faculty of Architecture, University of San Carlos de Guatemala. 2012
  • “G-3 Student Fact Sheet, Low Water Gardening,” San Francisco environment.
  • Advice on the drought. Keeping outdoor plants alive with little water ”, Janet Hartin, Loren Oki, Dave Fujino, Ben Faber. ANR Publication 8628, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California. 2018

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