Container Gardening with Xeric Plants

Creating a xeriscape garden using a variety of GRC pots is a great summer project that not only conserves water but also adds a striking visual to any indoor or outdoor space. It is also the perfect gardening alternative if you are restricted in space and budget.

A quality pot will automatically be water efficient and the assortment of containers available will suit any budget and style. When choosing your online pots, you should take into consideration the size of the container and the material it is made from. The larger the pot, the more soil and moisture it retains and with materials, glazed clay containers hold water better than wood or unglazed pots.

The most exciting task when starting a potted xeriscape garden is the selection of plants. Enchanting arrangements for your pots will include plants that offer seasonal interest and aren’t just limited to flowering specimens. There are many varieties that provide an interesting array of colour and foliage. With a good combination, your container garden will be long-lasting, water thrifty, and complementary to the xeriscape theme.

Ornamental grasses and succulents flourish in GRC pots and tolerate dry, hot, conditions. Grass plants are unique in their colouring, texture, and height and while they offer an elegant, multi-dimensional combination, they are easy to maintain. Basic pruning may be required at the end of winter to cut back the blades a few inches above the crown to allow fresh, new grass to grow out for spring. It’s important to note that grass plants need an pot that is deep to accommodate the branching root system.

Succulents will thrive in pots and will need less watering than most plants. Filling up a container with an assortment of leaf colours and shapes will provide a beautiful display that can be mixed with native plants. Using a quality potting mix is better than using ground soil and for both grasses and succulents, you will be able to find special potting blends designed specifically for xeric plants.

A position that has full sun for at least 6 hours a day is ideal and many plants will do well in late afternoon shade. It is best to avoid placing your pots on or next to concrete or bricks as this will draw in too much heat and dry the soil out quicker, which will require more watering. The purpose of xeriscape plants is to minimize watering. Adding mulch to cover the soil will also help reduce watering needs as it slows down the evaporation rate and insulates the soil.

There are some basic identification guidelines that are useful when choosing xeric plants for your pots. The leaves, roots, and trunk are good indicators. Silver leaves with fine hairs reflect the sunlight and keep the plant cool to minimise water loss. The fine hairs also absorb moisture from dew as a way to supplement its water intake. Plants that have a thick, waxy coat on the leaves act as a barrier to prevent losing moisture and specimens that develop phyllodes, typically found in the Acacia species, are also characteristic of being drought tolerant and highly suited to fill your pots for an established xeriscape display.

Thick, fleshy stems and roots found on succulents and enlarged water-storing trunks seen on native trees like the Queensland Bottle Tree, are ways for plants to retain water and ensure survival during hot and dry periods. Most plants that present these attributes will also produce colourful flowers and unique foliage that will make your pots a remarkable attraction in and around your garden.


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