Creative Budget Gardening: Avoid Water Conservation Alerts the Smart Way

In the summer time it gets really hot and so many areas begin sending out those dreaded water alerts that send most gardeners into a frenzy worrying about their plants. Be prepared if the need arises by planting low water wonders that can brave the driest elements!

True gardeners love gardening in general and planting a container garden doesn’t make any area less attractive, if anything it simply adds more texture and more appeal.

Getting Started!

One of the most important things to consider are the containers themselves. Containers can be a wooden box, an inexpensive clay pot assortment, old water cans, maybe a wheelbarrow that has seen better days � the options are seemingly endless.

Remember to keep in mind drainage. Drainage can be a big issue because not all plant roots will thrive submerged in water all the time so do drill some holes for drainage to ensure the plants will be healthy in their new homes.


Designing is a broad word but when planting a container garden, think of a few factors that will make the garden a feast for the eyes. Varying container textures, colors, materials and heights will be important.

Even old rusty barrels can be filled with interesting plants bursting from the sides through holes in the sides or vines that wrap around it with a collage of colors planted in the top. Then work your way down with containers that create levels of plants. It’s okay to mix plantings or remain uniform with the same plants in some containers.

Pick the Plants

Remember the goal is to keep water conservation in mind and pick plants that will thrive with little water. The secret to low water plants is called succulents. Succulent plants thrive in containers in low water conditions mixed with cactus soil mix or any other that you can add to your builders sand.

A few good plant choices for container-low water gardens are Thorny Aloe, Wax Plant, Portulaca, Carrion flower, Hens and Chicks, Sedum, Dragon’s blood or Ice plant.

Putting It All Together!

Once you’ve selected all of your elements, containers and plants it’s time to plant. If you’re working on a budget, take a trip to a river or creek nearby to gather some rocks or if you can afford to buy some pebbles at the garden store, Styrofoam popcorn pieces are acceptable too. Layer the containers first by spreading a one-inch layer of the material you’ve chosen in the bottom of the container, and then add the soil, plant the plants and water.

If using a plant that has been grown in the house under low light conditions it’s best to start the plant out in the partial shade for a week or so until it adapts to the outdoors.

Water Alerts

When water alerts are issued this summer, don’t fret because you can sit back and enjoy your low water maintenance garden flourish while every other gardener in town panics! In most areas a container garden can be started in May, check for your zone’s planting information and expect to reap the rewards anywhere from four to six months.

If water conservation alerts are common in your area, consider container gardening to create the same warmth and charm as any traditional garden plus you don’t have to feel guilty for sneaking some water to your plants, it’s worth the effort.

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