water conservation

 Drought Status: No drought restrictions are currently in place.  Please use water wisely to protect our water supply.  Please visit the water conservation home page for more information. 

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average suburban home uses at least 30% of its water outside. This amount often increases during the summer months, for some households it can spike to 70%! Bad choices in outdoor use can cause half of that water to be lost to evaporation - a waste of money and resources.

Want one more statistic?  The water use in our community spikes 20% in the summertime - that's outdoor use!  Continue reading about how water wise landscapes and native plants can reduce your use.


Make Your Own Rain Barrel

 

Rain barrel adA rain barrel has multiple benefits for our community and our entire watershed.  First of all, by using captured rainwater for irrigation instead of treated water, they help protect our reservoirs.  In addition, runoff from our homes and yards can adversely effect our stream health. 

There are many different ways to build a rain barrel.  Here is one set of instructions (PDF).  You may also want to visit the Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District (TJSWCD) for more ideas.  If you would rather buy a barrel, click here to learn more about the $30 Rain Barrel Rebate we offer.

 


 

Xeriscaping

 

 Xeriscape, pronounced zera-scape comes from the word "xeros" meaning dry and "scape" from landscape.  This concept incorporates seven principles that promote a water-conscious lawn that protects the environment while maintaining an aesthetic appeal.  This brochure produced by Virginia Cooperative Extension also highlights xeriscape principles, one of which is selecting plants wisely.  Keep reading to learn more about native and drought-resistant plants to incorporate into your landscape.

xeriscape winner

Here is an example of xeriscape principles applied to a yard in Mississauga, Ontario.  It came in first place for the EPA Sponsored "Water-Smart Landscape Photo Contest

 


 

 

Native or Drought-Resistant Plants around Charlottesville 

In addition to the information on this page, this PDF document lists drought tolerant and species native to the mid-Atlantic region.  You may also want to visit our Natural Gardening,  Water-Wise Landscaping and Irrigation pages to learn how to make your entire yard beautiful and efficient.

 

KEY:  Common Name, (Botanical Name)

 

 

PlumbagoPlumbago Leadwort (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides)

  • -Groundcover
  • -6-12" height
  • -Sun to partial shade
  • -Medium blue flowers in late summer / fall
  • -A hardy groundcover that can be deer resistant

Can be found at: Lee Park

 

Viburnum juddii plantViburnum (Viburnum juddii)

  • -Shrub
  • -6-8 feet height
  • -Full sun to partial shade
  • -Pink or white blooms in mid-spring
  • -Fragrant flowers
  • -Attractive to bees, butterflies and / or birds

Can be found at: Lee Park

 

Otto LukyenCherry Laurel, English Laurel Otto Luyken (Prunus laurocerasus)

  • -Shrub
  • -4-6 ft height
  • -Sun to partial shade
  • -White blooms in mid spring
  • -Evergreen foliage

Can be found at: Jackson Park

 

Virginia is considered a transition zone for plants.  Species from both the northern and southern areas of the country can thrive here.  Just be careful not to pick an invasive!

 

artemesiaPowis Castle (Artemisia)

  • -Perennial
  • -24-36" height
  • -Full sun to partial shade
  • -Inconspicuous or pale yellow blooms in late summer / early fall
  • -Velvet / fuzzy textured foliage (usually grown for its foliage)
  • -Excellent drought tolerance in the Charlottesville area

Can be found at: Lee Park

 

Pink PeonyPeony, various types (Paeonia lactiflora)

  • -Perennial
  • -24-36" height
  • -Full sun
  • -Flower color varies with type, blooms late spring / early summer

Can be found at: Lee Park

 

Boxwood variousDwarf Boxwood, various types ()

  • -Shrub
  • -4-5 ft height
  • -Full to partial sun
  • -Evergreen foliage

Can be found at: Jackson Park

 

Charlottesville is in USDA Zone 7

 

CannaCanna Dawn Pink (Canna generalis)

  • -36-48" height
  • -Full sun
  • -Pink flowers with repeated blooming in mid spring
  • -Burgundy foliage
  • -Can thrive in wet or dry soil, whichever type it is started in

Can be found at: Lee Park

 

SpireaJapanese Spirea Little Princess, Japanese Meadowsweet, Maybush, (Spiraea japonica)

  • -Shrub
  • -24-36" height
  • -Sun to partial shade
  • -Pink blooms in mid spring or summer
  • -Foliage provides good fall color
  • -Deer resistant
  • -Attractive to bees, butterflies and / or birds

Can be found at: Lee Park

 

ViburnumViburnum Mohawk (Viburnum x burkwoodii)

  • -Shrub
  • -Up to 8' in height
  • -Sun to light shade
  • -White blooms in late April, preceded for several weeks by bright red buds
  • -Orange-red foliage in fall
  • -Fragrant flowers

Can be found at: Jackson Park

 

Turf grass has difficulty in Virginia because of the state's transition status.  Too cool for warm season grasses and too warm for the cool season varieties, it's all the more reason to forego the high water and maintenance requirements of turf in your yard.  Shape your landscape around plants that thrive here naturally.

 

GermanderWall Germander (Teucrium chamaedrys)

  • -Herb
  • -6-12" height
  • -Full sun to partial shade
  • -Purple bloom in mid summer / early fall
  • -Aromatic foliage

Can be found at: Lee Park

 

PennisetumRose Fountain Grass, Purple Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum)

  • -Ornamental grass, treated as an annual here
  • -24-36" height
  • -Full sun to partial shade
  • -Red, purple or maroon color from late spring to mid fall
  • -Winter interest

Can be found at: Lee Park

 

PetuniaPetunia Tidal Wave Silver (Petunia)

  • -Annual
  • -6-12" or 12-18" height
  • -Full sun
  • -Lavender flowers that bloom repeatedly
  • -Silver grey foliage with velvet / fuzzy texture
  • -Attractive to bees, butterflies and / or birds

Can be found at: Lee Park

 

Native and drought tolerant species are wonderful, low maintenance plants.  However, they do need some tender loving care when first planted.  For the first two years, expect to keep your plants watered in order to get them properly established.  After that, these hardy beauties should thrive on whatever nature provides.

 

YuccaBright Edge Yucca (Yucca filamentosa)

  • -Shrub / groundcover
  • -2.5 to 3 ft height
  • -Full sun to part shade
  • -White blooms in mid to late summer
  • -Deer resistant
  • -Evergreen foliage

Can be found at: Downtown Mall Transit Center

 

SnowmoundSnowmound Spirea (Spiraea nipponica)

  • -Shrub
  • -5 ft high
  • -Full sun to partial shade
  • -Abundant white flowers May to June
  • -Blue-green foliage

Can be found at: Downtown Mall Transit Center

 

Fountain Grass (Pennisetum)

Can be found at: Downtown Mall Transit Center

 

Jackson Park is a wonderful showcase for dwarf boxwoods.  Numerous varieties have been planted around the central statue.  Once established, boxwoods are extremely drought tolerant.  They'll be going strong when everything else is feeling the heat.  Dwarf varieties, as the name implies, will not grow to large heights or need much pruning.

 

TuscaroraJapanese Crepe Myrtle, Crape Myrtle Tuscarora (Lagerstroemia x fauriei)

  • -Tree
  • -15-25 ft height
  • -Rose color blooms in mid summer, good for cutting
  • -Good fall color and winter interest
  • -Attractive to bees, butterflies and / or birds

Can be found at: Meade Park

 

 

Little HenryDwarf Virginia Sweetspire Little Henry (Itea virginica)

*Many of the Itea were killed during the 2010 heat wave and are no longer recommended.

 

HydrangeaOakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)

  • -Shrub
  • -6-8 ft height
  • -Sun to partial shade
  • -White blooms mid summer / early fall
  • -Grown for its bronze-green foliage
  • -Parts of plant may be poisonous if ingested

Can be found at: Meade Park

 

How can you spot a drought tolerant plant?

Aside from the fact that it's the one looking great during a dry spell?  Here are some characteristics common to low water use plants, though these are by no means universal:

  • Grayish, fuzzy, or finely divided foliage
  • Low-growing, hugs the ground
  • Scented / producing aromatic oils (herbs are drought tolerant!)

 

LiriopeLiriope (Liriope muscari)

  • -Perennial
  • -10-18" height
  • -Sun or shade
  • -Purple blooms in summer

Can be found at: Meade Park

 

 

RhodendronGrandiflorum Catawba Rhododendron (Rhododendron catawbiense)

  • -Shrub
  • -10-12 ft height
  • -Sun to partial shade
  • -Purple blooms in late spring / early summer
  • -Evergreen
  • -Attractive to bees, butterflies, and / or birds
  • -Parts may be poisonous

Can be found at: Meade Park

 

HollyShamrock Holly (Ilex glabra)

  • -Shrub
  • -8 ft height
  • -Full sun to full shade
  • -Cream flowers in June
  • -Evergreen

Can be found at: Meade Park

 

VincaVinca Cora Punch (Catharanthus roseus)

  • -Annual
  • -14-16" height
  • -Full sun
  • -Pink blooms in early to late summer

Can be found at: Meade Park

 

Most plant descriptions were supplied by Daves Garden

The County of Albemarle has created a searchable database on local native plants! This is a great tool to find plants that are not only water wise, but can fit the other qualities you need for your perfect landscape. Here is a link to the webpage.

The brochures below also contain information on beautiful, water wise plants

The City has compiled this list of Drought Tolerant Plants for the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Some great native plants are highlighted in this brochure: Virginia Plants to Embrace and on the website for the Virginia Native Plant Society.

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay provides a number of free publications on creating a water conserving yard. Among them are:

Beneficial Plants for Bayscaping

Homeowner's Guide to Designing Your Property (Check out the useful plant guide on the last page)

Bayscaping to Conserve Water

For more publications, visit the ACB's website.

Visit The City's Natural Gardening Page To Learn More About Creating A Beautiful, Healthy Yard

 

 

 

 

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