Native plants, especially shrubs , are good for any landscape. Hardy ones that can be used in your xeriscaping plans are even better. These three are highlighted due to their ease of use and their adaptability to changing environments. A good overview of each of them is given so that the best decision can be made as to which to use in the landscape.
Dahoon (Ilex cassine), is a member of the Holly family of plants and gets very tall, around thirty feet or so in height. It needs twenty feet in space between plants or before other shrubs and plants. Full sun or partial shade is recommended and it is adaptable in its soil requirements. There are small white flowers throughout the shrub and even red or yellow berries on the female plants in the winter. It is a fine shrub for xeriscaping, drought tolerant, and it is evergreen.
Strawberry Bush (Euonymus americana) is also known as Hearts a Burstin’, and is a member of the Bittersweet family. It has hot pink seed pods with orange red seeds. There are yellow or pale green blooms. It is an explosion of color that reaches a height of two to six feet tall when in partial to full shade. It is great for xeriscaping and is very drought tolerant. The seeds and other parts can be toxic so care needs to be had around this shrub.
Desert False Indigo
Desert False Indigo (Amorpha fruticosa) is also known as the Lead Plant or Indigo Bush. It is a member of the Pea family of plants and gets approximately ten feet tall. Plant this shrub in full sun or partial shade for best growth. It is used for xeriscaping due to its tremendous drought tolerance. The shrub has great blue-violet flowers that are fragrant and a texture to the shrub that is reminiscent of the Mimosa (or silk) tree. This feathery shrub is a better decision over the Mimosa, due to the mimosa being very invasive in the landscape. Dried seed heads can be removed to get the seeds for replanting.
Three Good Starter Shrubs
Any of the above three are good starter native shrubs designed to tolerate drought and varying water conditions, perfect for those xeriscaping. They all have their differences, so surely one will be able to be added to any landscaping project. Native plants are so adaptable and easier to grow than their exotic counterparts, and with xeriscaping this ease of use can be a godsend.
This article originally appeared on Dec. 24, 2008 at Suite 101.