Heroic Hydrozoning

Become the hero of your garden by saving water and protecting your plants during the dry summer ahead. The new climate cycle, El Niño, is predicted to reach us at the start of 2024, which includes heat waves and less rainfall. Luckily Life is a Garden is preparing all green fingers with loads of practical ways you can go about maintaining a lush garden. One of the easiest ways is to begin with Hydrozoning. 

Garden jargon check

Hydrozoning is a landscaping technique where plants of similar water requirements are grouped together, grown in the same area. This can be done in beds as well as mixed containers. You may have to do a bit of admin in the beginning, but once you have made the necessary transplants, hydrozoning will save you hours of maintenance time and many litres of water. 

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Water warriors

Hydrozoning also allows you to keep better track of your watering schedule and it prevents over/underwatering of plants. You can set your irrigation system to only water certain beds as opposed to the full garden that isn't actually at risk of dying soon. For example, a mixed bed with aloes and canna lilies are not the best match as aloes are low water and canna lilies are high. You can see that a bed like this would not be efficient during a drought as the aloes will be receiving unnecessary water. 

The key is not to get rid of your beloved canna lilies, for example, but to provide these plants with a bedding bestie that has similar needs. Your Garden Centre will be able to give you great advice on which plants to pair up. If you are unsure about your current bedding companions, post a picture on Life is a Garden’s SA Seasonal Grow Guide group on Facebook and our experts will help you identify the plants and make helpful companion suggestions. 

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Heroic hydrozoning tips

  • For water-efficient, forget-me-friendly beds, group drought-hardy classics like aloes, plumbago, and bird of paradise together. Relocate all other plants according to their similar watering needs. Mulch well.
  • Medium-water plants may require more water than usual during a heat wave, so unless they are specifically drought-tolerant, you may want to ensure they are also all grouped together to avoid any casualties. Mulch well.
  • Transplant all your water-loving plants from beds into larger containers, all together. In other words, rather avoid beds with mixed watering need plants and rather group all your thirsty babies in one larger pot where they can be watered simultaneously. Mulch well.
  • Avoid planting in multiple small containers as these dry out a lot faster.
  • For patio and balcony gardens, the same approach can be used where you reduce the number of smaller containers and specifically group plants according to their watering needs. Have fun redesigning your stoep to flow from drought-hardy to wet-feet-loving. Remember that mulching containers is equally important across all plant varieties.
  • We understand that some beds are well-established and that not all plants can be moved. In these cases, make use of bottle drippers and wick watering.
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Did you know?

Besides saving water, hydrozoning your beds and containers offer the following benefits: 

  • Reduced costs of water and electricity
  • Improved sustainability and resilience of the landscape
  • Emulating what naturally occurs in nature
  • Contribute towards species richness and improved biodiversity
Hydrozoning, Water-Wise Gardening, Efficient Irrigation, Plant Grouping, Water Conservation, Strategic Plant Placement, Garden Efficiency, Sustainable Landscaping, Water-Saving Techniques, Eco-Friendly Gardening, Drought-Tolerant Plants, Garden Water Efficiency, Irrigation Optimization, Water Management, Garden Sustainability, Conservation-Focused Gardening, Efficient Watering, Hydrozoning Benefits, Water-Wise Landscapes, Plant Water Needs, Garden Water Allocation, Water-Smart Gardening, Irrigation Efficiency, Plant Watering Zones, Sustainable Water Usage, Garden Plant Grouping, Smart Garden Design, Eco-Conscious Landscaping, Water-Efficient Landscapes, Gardening with Limited Water, Hydrozoning Strategies, Plant Watering Management, Plant Watering Solutions.
Hydrozoning, Water-Wise Gardening, Efficient Irrigation, Plant Grouping, Water Conservation, Strategic Plant Placement, Garden Efficiency, Sustainable Landscaping, Water-Saving Techniques, Eco-Friendly Gardening, Drought-Tolerant Plants, Garden Water Efficiency, Irrigation Optimization, Water Management, Garden Sustainability, Conservation-Focused Gardening, Efficient Watering, Hydrozoning Benefits, Water-Wise Landscapes, Plant Water Needs, Garden Water Allocation, Water-Smart Gardening, Irrigation Efficiency, Plant Watering Zones, Sustainable Water Usage, Garden Plant Grouping, Smart Garden Design, Eco-Conscious Landscaping, Water-Efficient Landscapes, Gardening with Limited Water, Hydrozoning Strategies, Plant Watering Management, Plant Watering Solutions.

Know your region, know your plants

There is a different selection of hydrozoning plants allocated to summer and winter rain regions. In addition, plants may be grouped as either a low, medium, or high hydrozone suitability. If you want to get the absolute best from your garden, check out this very informative regional hydrozone list used by landscape architects known as the Landscape Irrigation Model for South Africa (LIMSA). This will assist in determining the specific site factors and ultimately the correct amount of water to apply to each hydrozone and the entire landscape.

A copy of the LIMSA manual can be downloaded from the Water Wise website at www.waterwise.co.za. Hover over the “Green Industry” and select Landscape Irrigation Model South Africa (LIMSA) Manual.

Hydrozoning opens the doorway to a whole new world of easy, sustainable gardening. Get creative with your fynbos, play with our local flora, and become an essential service Earth Custodian. You can access our nationwide GCA Garden Centre store locator here:

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