Dry Garden - Low Water Plants
California's climate consists of, with luck, 5 months of rain followed by 7 months of no rain. Notice that we don't use the word drought which indicates an unusual circumstance, 7 months of 'no rain' is normal. This is typical of what's known as the Mediterranean climate. We have it, the West Coast of South America has it, Southwest Australia has it, and of course Western Europe. It's a climate that's easy on the people who live there but harder on the gardener. If you don't want to be a slave to watering and paying off your water bills we have compiled a list of low water plants as a starting point. You'll notice that most of these plants are California natives, the rest are from the other Mediterranean regions.
We've labeled this list 'low water' for two reasons. First, it's important to remember that new plants need a time to adapt. Until their roots are established they need regular, supplemental watering. The length of this weaning stage depends on several factors, the time of year that you plant (late fall through early spring is best), the size of container planted (smaller is better), and the condition of the new plant. Is it root bound (roots circling the plant) or is it lightly rooted? Root bound plants take longer to get established. Second, although most of these plants, once established, will survive with no supplemental water, they will look better and be more fire resistant if they receive additional water every month or so.
Remember, this is just a start. We've discovered that a number of supposedly water loving plants will actually survive and look respectable with our low water regime.