Water Wise: Grouping plants according to water requirements

When designing your new garden or landscape let hydroscoping form the basis of  your design. This simply means grouping each plant variety according to their water requirements. A landscape can have four hydro zones: high, moderate, low and a no water usage zone. Planting in these types of zones, will save 30% to 80% of your water usage. That's a massive saving in the long run!

For the greatest water conservation, most of the landscape should be designed as both no water and low water usage zones. Make the moderate zone relatively small and of course the high water zone even smaller, if you really need one.

No water usage zones

These zones comprise of established local indigenous trees, shrubs as well as many succulent species, and this should be your largest zone. In this zone, one can design rockeries using succulent plants and aloes. 

Low usage zone or one-drop plant zone

These plants thrive mainly on the rainfall. Once established these indigenous plants only need a little, if any, watering. In summer they need water once every four weeks and in winter, once every eight weeks. Examples of these plants are Leonotis leonurus, Carissa macrocarpa, Bauhinia tomentosa, Asystasia gangetica, Barleria priontis and Tulbaghia violacea.

Moderate usage or two-drop plant zone

These need to be a small area, as these plants will need more water than that which is provided by the rainfall in our area. In summer these plants need watering once a week and once a month in winter. Examples are PLectranthus ecklonii, freylinia fruitcosa, plumbago auricular and diets grandiflora.

High water usage or three-drop plant zone

These should be confined to as small an area as possible, or even eliminate them altogether, as high water usage plants need frequent watering throughout the year. If it has been included, if possible, position this zone, where it is highly visible, such as a front entrance, where it is easy to water. The following types of plants all have high water needs: lawn, bog or wetland plants, annuals and bulbs. You'll need to water 2 - 3 times every week, and 2 - 3 times every fortnight in winter.