The right plants and wise water use make for a happy Mother's Day

If you’re thinking about treating mom to a plant for her yard or garden or a nice sapling for Mother’s Day, you may have concerns about the expanding drought in Washington state.

While we all should regularly practice water conservation, you can pick a gift for mom this year from a wide selection of drought tolerant plants and trees. 

Person gardening and putting compost in a flower pot.

Photo courtesy of Cascade Compost

Homeowners in most areas of the state won’t be subject to water restrictions this year because the majority of public water systems are not reporting problems currently and not anticipating problems with their water supplies.

Nevertheless, we can all benefit from some practical advice about wise water use. The Washington State Nursery and Landscape Association recommends that mom use compost in her garden space and apply a top dressing of mulch (with your help, of course!). Compost and mulch reduces water needs, is attractive and over time will improve soil structure.

The Great Plant Picks website offers a plethora of drought tolerant plants for the Northwest, a list of 891 perennials, shrubs and trees.

Flowering white geranium.

Hardy Geranium Cransebill

Richie Steffen, Great Plant Picks

Mom should use only as much water as needed for plants and be sure to group plants together with similar watering needs. If she has an irrigation system, some yearly maintenance will ensure it is operating efficiently and not wasting water.
Planting trees, flowers and shrubs not only increases the value of your mom’s property but benefits the environment by:
  • Reducing stormwater runoff and suspended solids in surface water runoff.
  • Removing sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide and particulate matter from the air.

In fact, one tree can remove 26 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually, equaling 11,000 miles of car emissions!

While water restrictions may occur in some areas with the hot, dry summer forecast in most of Washington, your mom doesn’t have to give up on the plants she loves. Contact your local landscape nursery or landscape professional on plant selections that thrive with minimal watering needs and offer water wise solutions at:

  • Washington State University Extension Service  
  • GardenWashington