Did you know that about 30% of the water used in San Antonio households is applied solely to landscapes!
Low water landscaping is strongly encouraged in arid climates, where water is a limited resource. Drought tolerant gardens and efficient irrigation are both extremely important in areas such as San Antonio and other climates where rain is not plentiful.
The benefits of low water landscapes may surprise you
- Beautiful and Fun
- Low Maintenance
- Conserves Water
- Saves Money
- Ecologically Friendly
- Easy to install yourself
Want to create a stunning WaterSaver Garden? Follow these 7 steps.
- Planning and Design
- Soil Analysis and Improvement
- Limited and Appropriate Turf Grass
- Efficient Irrigation
- Use of Mulches and Hardscapes
- Appropriate Maintenance
- Proper Plant Selection
We understand that the prospect of WaterSaver Gardening can be a little intimidating, especially for beginner gardeners or new homeowners. The San Antonio Botanical Garden offers resources to help you get inspired, get started, or continue on your low-water landscaping path. Our WaterSaver Program also offers excellent learning opportunities for those with more experience and looking for the latest information, tips, resources and rebates.
Get started today with the following resources
- Adult WaterSaver Classes at the Garden and receive a free copy of a SAWS Landscape Care Guide. Register
- Public presenters who discuss drought tolerant landscaping. Inquire here
- Guided Group Tours
- Learn on a Nature Walk
- See examples of landscaping on WaterSaver Lane and Garden
Sponsored by the San Antonio Water System (SAWS), WaterSaver Lane is an exhibit designed to inspire residents to create beautiful landscapes that conserve water. Located near the Auld House and the Old Fashioned Garden, WaterSaver Lane is a wonderful, appealing, and educational “neighborhood” at the Garden. It is a Charming cluster of miniature cottages, with colorful diminutive gardens whose blooms belie their thrifty ways with water. Each tiny cottage is a different architectural style, complemented by its own “front yard” or attractive well-adapted drought tolerant plants.
WaterSaver Garden and WaterSaver Lane Showcase Plants to Know and Grow
Looking for plants that grow best in San Antonio soils and are the most efficient water users? What is good for mulch? What kind of materials do you use for pathways that will still allow water to reach plants? Come and see! The San Antonio Botanical Garden’s WaterSaver Garden is a co-operative project with the San Antonio Water System and a demonstration for home gardeners.
Located on approximately 1/3 acre at the top of the hill by the Lucile Halsell Conservatory, the WaterSaver Garden demonstrates practical home gardening techniques that are the most water friendly. Showcasing drip irrigation and “turf bubbler” watering techniques, samples of mulches and permeable paving surfaces, and plantings that perform well with San Antonio’s climate and water requirements; the garden offers conservation solutions.
WaterSaver Lane features six cottages that demonstrate different types of drought-tolerant landscaping, including one showing what not to plant! Find a variety of landscapes that minimize lawn and include more groundcover, perennial flowerbeds and herbs, native and adapted plants, and patio space.
Flowers and Ferns >
Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) vine, sun or shade, evergreen foliage, yellow flowers in spring.
Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) vine, sun, coral colored flowers in summer, attracts hummingbirds
Passionflower, Maypop (Passiflora sp.) vine to 6′, sun or shade, lavender flowers in late spring to summer, good nectar and butterfly larvae food
Water Clover Fern (Marsilia macropoda) almost evergreen groundcover capable of covering large areas, adapts well to dry land, part shade/sun, height 1 foot.
Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum) perennial, part shade to sun, white flowers blooming from spring to summer, height 1 foot
Bluebonnets (Lupines texensis) annual, sun, blooms in spring, height 1′, good butterfly larvae food, seeds can be sown fall through Thanksgiving, transplants can be planted from fall through Valentine’s Day
Coreopsis (Coreopsis sp.) sun, yellow or orange flowers late spring and summer, attracts butterflies
Hinckley Columbine (Aquilegia hinckleyana) perennial, shade, yellow flowers in early spring, attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, height 18″
Purple Coneflower (Echinaceae purpurea) perennial; part shade-sun; flowers rose, pink, white, or purple; in spring-summer attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, and birds eat seeds; height 2′
Black-eyed Susan var. Goldstrum (Rudbeckia hirta) annual or short-lived perennial, part shade-sun, yellow flowers spring to summer, attracts butterflies
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) perennial, part shade-sun, orange flowers in summer, attracts butterflies, height1-3′
Mexican Milkweed (A. curassavica) two-toned red and orange flowers, nectar and butterfly larvae food. Milkweed is the sole source of Monarch butterfly larvae food
Maximillian Sunflowers (Helianthus maximiliani) perennial, sun, spectacular yellow blooms in fall, seed attracts birds, height 4-6′
Sunflowers (Helianthus sp.) annual, sun, available in many colors and various kinds, easy to grow and fun for kids, seed attracts birds
Autumn Sage (Salvia gregii) perennial, sun-partial shade, nearly evergreen, red, purple, pink, or white flowers spring to frost, attracts hummingbirds, height 3′
Indigo Spires (Salvia sp.) perennial, sun-partial shade, blue to indigo flowers spring to frost, attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, height 4′
Mealy Blue Sage (Salvia farinacea) perennial; sun; blue, white, or purple flowers from spring to fall, height 3′
Gayfeather (Liatris sp.) perennial, sun or partial shade, purple flowers in late summer to early fall, attracts butterflies, height 1-2′
Rock Rose (Pavonia lasiopetala) perennial, sun to partial shade, pink flowers spring to fall, attracts butterflies, height 2-3′
Mistflower or White Boneset (Eupatorium havanense) part shade, fragrant white flowers in the fall, attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, height 1-3′.
Yellow Bells (Tecoma stans) sun or part shade, yellow flowers from spring to fall, freezes to ground, attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, height 3-6′.
Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus drummondii) shade, red flowers from summer to fall, attracts hummingbirds, height 2-6′.
Evergreeen Sumac (Rhus virens) sun or part shade, evergreen foliage, white flowers in fall, red berries that attract birds, height 4-10′.
Roughleaf Dogwood (Cornus Drummondii) large, thicket-forming shrub important to wildlife, height 20′.
American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) shade, purple fruit in fall and winter, berries attract birds, height 3′+.
Agarita (Mahonia trifoliolata) part shade-sun, yellow spring flowers, red fruit which is eaten by birds ripen in early summer, height 3-6′.
Lantana (Lantana sp.) sun to partial shade, many colors, flowers from spring to frost, attracts butterflies, bird eat berries, 2-5′.
Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria) sun or shade, fine textured evergreen foliage, red or orange berries in fall and winter eaten by birds.
Cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens) sun to part shade; purple, pink, or white flowers appear at any time especially after a rain; evergreen, nectar and butterfly larvae food plant, height is approximately 4-8′.
Carolina Buckthorn (Rhamnus caroliniana) part shade to sun, fruit ripens in fall and is devoured by birds, height 12-15′
Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) reasonably fast growing tree, most widely adaptive oak in the world, has large acorns, height to 150′
Chinkapin Oak (Quercus muhlenbergii) dark green leaves, deciduous, height to 60′
Texas Red Oak (Quercus texana) outstanding fall color, height to 35′ Uvalde Maple or Bigtooth
Maple (Acer grandidentatum) part shade to sun, brilliant fall color, seeds are an important food source for wildlife, height to 50′
Arizona Cypress (Cupressus arizonica) sun, fast growing, lives 30-50 years, aromatic blue-green foliage, provides cover for birds and wildlife, height to 30′.
Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) small tree, shade, red or yellow flowers in spring attract hummingbirds, height10-20′
Mexican Buckeye (Ungnadia speciosa) small tree or large shrub, sun to part shade, pink flowers in spring attract butterflies, yellow fall color, height 8-15′
Rusty Blackhaw (Viburnum rufidulum) part shade to sun, white flowers in spring, fruit ripens in the fall and is a big favorite of birds, outstanding fall foliage
Mexican Plum (Prunus mexicana) ornamental tree, part shade-sun, fragrant white flowers in early spring attract butterflies, 15′
Sideoats Gramma (Bouteloua curtipendula) sun, attractive seeds form on one side of stems, state grass of Texas, attracts birds and butterflies,height 2-3′.
Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) part shade to sun, attractive fall color, attracts birds and butterflies, height 3′
Muhly Grass (Muehlenbergia lindheimeri) sun, attractive plumes late summer to fall, height 3-4′.
Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans) sun, attractive golden plumes late summer to fall, height 3′