Growing an Environmentally Green Garden - NBC Southern California

Growing an Environmentally Green Garden

How to have a fourishing garden that can thrive in dry spells



    The challenge to maintaining a lush outdoor oasis in Southern California is finding plants that can survive long dry spells. Stephanie Elam found tips and trends to create

    Water-wise gardening is becoming more than just a trend among the green thumbed. Experts say it is good for the environment, good for the pocketbook and easy on the eyes - creating a lush and lovely outdoor oasis.

    "Drought tolerant plants don’t just mean cactus. There is a huge number of plants you can grow that don’t take a lot of water – like foliage plants, succulents, blooming flowers that don’t take a lot of water," said Julia Chai, senior garden editor of Sunset Magazine.

    Chai touted Cordylines specifically, with their bright and thin fanning leaves.

    “It’s got these arching leaves in a neon pink color,” she said, adding that cordylines also come in a vibrant green.

    Another drought resistant plant, texas rangers, is covered with blooms for a long season, Chai said. But cautioned that even these water-wise plants aren't water-wise at first. They require more care until they develop deep roots.

    "Think of it like a baby that needs a bit more attention," she said.

    Potted plants are popular with many apartment dwellers and as an accent to gardens. Chai said potted plants need more attention than ground plants.

    She advised using a container with holes for drainage, and loose potting soil which allows the water to flow more easily to the roots.

    And how do you know when to stop watering a potted plant? When the water drains out the bottom.

    Another trend – and a tasty trend at that – is the edible garden, which includes fruits, vegetables and herbs.

    While edible plants have an obvious use, their aesthetic contributions should be overlooked, Chai said.

    "Edibles can be really beautiful," she said. "They can be colorful and leafy; and you can get big fruit hanging from trees that add an ornamental aspect to the garden, as well.”

    For more information on greener gardening, visit

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