Eco-friendly gardening is nothing new. You might be using peat-free soil and recycling your plastic plant pots already, but have you thought about the kind of plants you use in the garden and their possible eco credentials?
Plants can be more ecologically sustainable in a number of ways. This can include:
- Comes from a grower who uses sustainable growing methods
- Lasts a long time before requiring replacement
- Drought tolerant (requiring less water)
- Native to the country in which you live
- Pollinator friendly
- Creates habitats for local wildlife
Not only are sustainable plants better for the environment, they’re also better for you! Many of the benefits in the above list point to lower maintenance and costs including water usage and replacement. What’s not to love?
Read on for two ways to make your garden more eco friendly with plants!
A wildlife stack is a fun and creative way to attract pollinators to your garden with a buffet of nectar-rich plants! You can create your using a series of pots stacked on top of each other – you can even use broken pots to create more dimension.
Here are some plant suggestions for your own wildlife friendly garden:
A hub for insects, Gaura Belleza® is a must-have if you’re looking to attract pollinators. A great companion plant, it performs well in heat and high humidity, and is well suited to sunny patches where other plants might wilt or scorch. Cold winters aren’t a problem either – this plant is hardy down to -23 degrees Celsius.
Growing to a height of 45cm and a spread of 50cm, this is a great plant for filling up informal borders with a great spray of blooms from spring to autumn. Available in white and pink.
MiniFamous® Neo Calibrachoa
Another plant for pollinators, the MiniFamous® Neo Calibrachoa produces profuse flowers over summer and autumn. It features a semi-trailing habit, which makes it ideal for patio pots, hanging baskets and window boxes. Best of all, it has a uniform habit – so no patches in foliage or flowers!
Sometimes seen as a dated summer bloom, you should definitely ignore the trends and choose Pelargonium Marcada® for your wildlife friendly garden! It’s a feast for bees and other pollinators – plus, it’s heat resistant and robust, which means it will withstand those midsummer heatwaves and long periods of drought without losing those superb blooms.
Perfect for containers, you can create beautiful mixed displays with pelargoniums. Try pairing them with chives for a colour contrast and extra wildlife points!
Discover more pollinator friendly plants here.
Watering your garden every evening is both time consuming and expensive – not to mention a nightmare when there’s a hosepipe ban! Try filling your garden with drought tolerant plants that can withstand being without water for long periods.
Here are some plant suggestions for your drought tolerant garden:
Ideal for rockeries, as well as dry and sunny borders, Delosperma Lido is a drought tolerant plant that will thrive against all odds. Its fleshy green leaves retain water and keep the plant going even in heatwaves.
It’s an evergreen, and from late spring to the first frosts it will push out brightly coloured blooms that are certainly eye-catching at the front of a border or when used as ground cover. Available in pink, red, orange, yellow, purple and white.
Sedum is an excellent choice for any sunny spot in well draining soil. It’s a plant that will go for long periods without watering as, like Delosperma, it retains water in its leaves. Plus, maintenance for these plants is low – a trim in the early spring, if needed, will suffice!
There are hundreds of species of sedum, but some of the most exciting plants that will thrive in the garden include glaucum, Kamt. Variegatum and Matrona. Many species will produce flowers that are attractive to bees and other pollinators.
Want more? Read about xeric landscaping – the art of dry gardening, here.
How are you making your garden more sustainable? Let me know in the comments section below!
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.
Ensure your plant choices can tolerate the soil in your garden and improve drainage and soil structure with grit and mulch. For many home gardeners looking to create an eco-friendly garden, plant choice is subjective.
Do you use products that can support reducing water usage? We are a small start up in Suffolk and have a product (Aquagrain Plants) that supports water reduction would be happy to share for you to try or any of your followers have at a reduction