Water is a critical factor for healthy and attractive landscapes. The absence of adequate rainfall or irrigation can lead to drought stress and reduced plant growth. Drought stress happens when the plant’s roots cannot absorb the quantity of water needed to support normal growth processes. Even though South Florida receives an annual average of over 50 inches of rain, this rainfall is seasonal. Some plant species encounter drought stress during our dry season which lasts from approximately November to May.
During times of reduced water, plants react by cutting down on photosynthesis and other processes to reduce their water consumption. With progressive water loss, the leaves of some plant species may turn pale or brown. Foliage often withers away, and the entire plant may die. This can be a frustrating and a costly occurrence for a home gardener. So why fight mother nature? There are hundreds of landscape plants that can tolerate drought stress. A few familiar to most gardeners are the Blanket Flower with bright gold and red flowers, Firebush with colorful tube-shaped yellow-and-orange flowers and Buttonwood which can be used as an attractive hedge. Many drought-tolerant flowering plants are a favorite among butterflies and hummingbirds which can add more beauty to your landscape.
Creating a landscape design using drought-tolerant shrubs, trees and flowers can help you avoid plant loss and extensive water-use. For more information on drought-tolerant landscapes, visit the University of Florida’s website at http://www.gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/design/landscaping-for-specific-sites/planning-your-landscape-to-conserve-water.html