Water Wise Plants South Africa


For the purposes of the Garden Guide, we have categorised plants that are both water-wise and drought tolerant under the “water wise” category. All the plants listed below have evolved to store water in their stems, leaves, or in underground corms or bulbs. The aim is to help the low-maintenance gardener and the water-conscious gardener find and care for plants that will flourish with minimal watering.

The difference between water-wise and drought-tolerant

For the gardener it is important to know the difference between drought-tolerant and water-wise plants.

Water-wise plants refer to plants that typically grow in regions with lower rainfall, and thus require less water throughout the growing season. It is important to keep in mind that less water does not mean “no water”. Succulents, aloes, and cacti are good examples of water-wise plants.

Drought tolerant plants are plants that, once established, can tolerate periods of drought. In other words, these plants will typically flourish with regular watering, but can carry on under the care of a neglectful gardener. During periods of drought, these plants may loose leaves, and become dormant. Bulbs, corms, and fleshy stem plants are good examples of drought tolerant plants.

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