It is common to have plants as decoration in our gardens and homes. However, meeting the needs of plants, such as their care, irrigation and the contribution of fertilizer and nutrients, can sometimes become a heavy task for which we barely have time.
One way to deal with this situation is to cultivate or plant those species that require little care.
Why Some Plants Need Less Water Than Others
Plants that require little water are called xerophytes , being able to withstand long periods of drought . This fact is mainly due to the adaptation of the species to dry habitats with little rainfall, since, while some live and develop in humid and warm climates that favor their growth, others face drier and more hostile climates, being necessary the development of physiological adaptations such as:
- Rounded shapes: by reducing its surface, the contact with the wind is less, so that the loss of water associated with perspiration also decreases.
- Small and pointed leaves: as in the previous case, by reducing the surface of its leaves, the loss of water decreases. In some cases, these can come to have the shape of thorns, then having another function, such as protecting the plant from other individuals.
- Fleshy tissues : these tissues allow them to store water to be able to make use of it in periods of drought, so that, in periods of greater rainfall or humidity, the plants absorb as much water as possible, swelling and storing it in their tissues.
- Adapted stomata : when we speak of stomata we are referring to the pores located in the leaves and stems of plants through which they capture CO₂ from the environment and transpire, losing the plant’s water. For this loss, xerophilous plants adapt their stomata by covering them with a layer of wax, reducing their size and number or opening them when temperatures drop.
Names of plants that need little water
There is a wide variety of plants that need little water . Here are some of the genera to which these species belong.
There are about 400 species of this genus, which is characterized by having flattened and fleshy leaves arranged in the form of a rosette, varying the colors according to the species in question, being able to be red, gray, green, lilac, etc. This genus can be used as an indoor or outdoor plant, its only requirement is to have a lot of light, although it is usually tolerant of shade and low temperatures without the need for hardly any water, it is enough to water it once a week. Some species of this genus are Echevaria pulidonis, Echevaria brown sugar, and Echevaria imbricata.
This genus comprises about 400 species of fleshy, flat or cylindrical leaves that can be found either rosette-shaped or vertically opposed. It is a plant widely used as a decorative element due to the beauty of its starry flowers. It requires a lot of light and air for its maintenance and it only needs water during the hottest months so it can remain for approximately 5 months (from November to March) without water. Species of this genus are Sedum adolphii, Sedum anglicum, and Sedum clavatum.
Better known as cactus , it is one of the most popular genera among those plants that require little irrigation, with about 200 genera and 2,500 species. They generally lack leaves, being the stem itself that performs photosynthesis. They have thorns as a form of protection and showy flowers. Like the rest of xerophilous plants, they need sunlight (although some species cannot receive it directly) and little water. It is recommended to water them every 10 days in the warmer months and every 20 – 40 days in those colder. Some prized species are Astriphytum asteria, Coryphantha reduncispina, and Echinocactus grusonii.
There are about 300 species belonging to this genus maintaining common features and similar appearance. It has elongated leaves, pointed at their ends and arranged in a rosette shape. It needs sunlight, and its optimum temperature ranges between 20-30 ° C. As for irrigation, it requires water during the hottest months, being practically unnecessary in winter. Species of this genus are Agave americana, Agave attenuata and Agave desmettiana.
Advantages of plants that need little water
The plants that require little water have several advantages, such as saving time spent on their care and attention and self saving water because they just need that water them . In addition, the shortage of irrigation does not affect their characteristics or their appearance, so these species will continue to fulfill their decorative function and provide their characteristic beauty and aroma to our homes and gardens.
Finally, it should be noted that the use of this type of plants allows having gardens with a great variety of species and of singular beauty in dry and arid areas, which would otherwise be unpopulated and without any landscape interest.