Water Wise Plants
Our Palo Alto Demonstration Garden includes a Water Wise Garden. The goal of the garden is to find beautiful native and non-native ornamental plants that will thrive in our summer-dry climate and clay soil without a lot of extra work. Many of our non-native plants come from climates similar to ours, such as Australia, South Africa, the Mediterranean region, and Chile. We are also trialing a number of UC Davis Arboretum All-Stars plants.
In the Water Wise Garden we take a tough love approach to plants. We water once every three weeks in late spring, summer and early fall using a drip irrigation system. We use no fertilizer except for a two-inch mulch of shredded leaves and stems that we spread on top of our soil in the fall. All our plants are planted in unamended soil. Most of our California native plants are planted directly in our native soil, which is a fertile, moderately well draining clay soil. Our non-native plants have been planted on one-foot mounds composed of a gravelly, well draining soil with little or no organic matter. If our plants look good under these harsh conditions, they are likely to thrive in your Santa Clara County garden.
|Plant type depends on cultivar|
|None: avoid summer water||Very Low: water deeply several times a summer|
|Low: water every three weeks until the root ball is wet||Moderate: water weekly until the root ball is wet|
|Full sun||Full to half sun|
|Full to half sun, shade||Half sun|
|Shade||Half sun to shade|