Zone 5 Xeriscape Plants: Tips On Xeriscaping In Zone 5

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By Darcy Larum, Landscape Designer

The Meriam-Webster Dictionary defines xeriscaping as “a landscaping method developed especially for arid or semi-arid climates that utilizes water conserving techniques, such as the use of drought tolerant plants, mulch and efficient irrigation.” Even those of us who do not live in arid, desert-like climates should be concerned with water-wise gardening. While many parts of U.S. hardiness zone 5 get a good amount of precipitation at certain times of the year and rarely have water restrictions, we still should be conscience of how we use water. Read on to learn more about xeriscaping in zone 5.

Xeriscape Plants for Zone 5 Gardens

There are a few ways to conserve water in the garden besides just using drought tolerant plants. Hydro zoning is the grouping of plants based on their water needs. By grouping water-loving plants with other water-loving plants in one area and all drought tolerant plants in another area, water isn’t wasted on plants that do not need much.

In zone 5, because we do have times of heavier precipitation and other times when conditions are dry, irrigation systems should be set according to seasonal needs. During a rainy spring or fall, the irrigation system does not need to run as long or as often as it should be run in mid to late summer.

Also, keep in mind that all plants, even drought tolerant plants, will need extra water when they are newly planted and just establishing. It is well developed root structures that allow many plants to be drought tolerant or efficient xeriscape plants for zone 5. And remember, evergreens need extra water in fall to prevent winter burn in cold climates.

Cold Hardy Xeric Plants

Below is a list of common zone 5 xeriscape plants for the garden. These plants have low water needs once established.







Ornamental Grasses


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