• Kelly Grummons

Low-Water Shrubs

Q: What are some large shrubs for the low water garden? I need some ornamental varieties that get at least eight feet high. Width is not a problem.

Shadblow Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia)
Shadblow Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia)

A: Most large shrubs require a moderate amount of water. There are some lovely low water types though.


A favorite is the Fountain Butterfly Bush (Buddleia alternifolia). Its ropes of pendulous lavender flowers adorn the 10-foot-tall and wide shrub in April and May. It’s hard to beat the old-fashioned French lilac (Syringa vulgaris) varieties. They come in a variety of colors from lavender, white, violet and blue. The highly fragrant blossoms adorn the plant in April and May. Low water roses are a delight in the garden. Try Rosa ‘Austrian Copper’ with its gorgeous bright orange and yellow flowers or Rosa glauca with its burgundy leaves and tiny pink flowers in spring. The native shrub Shadblow Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia) grows well over 10 feet in height, has fragrant, creamy white flowers in spring that are followed by tasty blue berries in June.