A plant that’s not living up to its reputation may well be in the wrong place! Most Kiwi gardens receive sun for at least part of the day with north facing sites enjoying a higher number of sunshine hours and the south the least. With the sun comes lack of moisture and while irrigation systems and watering are the obvious solutions, it’s important to choose plants that have adapted to hot, dry conditions.
There’s no hard and fast rule for recognising these and there are always exceptions. Foliage is generally a good indicator. Plants with silvery or hairy foliage are usually able to withstand heat and lack of moisture, as are those with small leaves. Waxy or fleshy leaves are designed to hold water, something that’s made succulents a popular choice in sunny site, and plants that grow from corms, tubers, bulbs and tuberous roots, also have the ability to store moisture and thrive in the heat.
Look for New Zealand natives, such as coprosmas, flaxes, hebes and astelia, which all provide wide variations in colour and texture and have the ability to withstand not just the hot sun but a range of soil conditions. Where section size allows for trees, consider albiza (silk trees) and eucalypts.
Gardeners are coping with increasingly erratic climatic conditions. With some areas experiencing lengthy periods without rain, plants that can survive little or no water once established are the focus of a growing trend; xeriscaping – effectively dry climate gardening using drought-tolerated plants – is also appealing to gardeners who want to conserve as much water as possible and still enjoy an attractive and diverse garden-scape.
Plantings may range from native flaxes and grasses to silvery strawflowers and lavender cotton, succulents like aloe and sedum, flowering favourites including dianthus, red hot pokers and salvia, plus a range of garden herbs, such as rosemary, sage and thyme. Xeriscaping also includes greater use of gravel, shells and pavers.
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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.
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