Water is a critical component of photosynthesis, the process by which plants manufacture their own food from carbon dioxide and water in the presence of light. Water is one of the many factors that can limit plant growth. Other important factors include nutrients, temperature, and amount and duration light.
Plants take in carbon dioxide through their stomata — microscopic openings on the undersides of leaves. Water is also lost through the stomata in the process called transpiration. Transpiration, along with evaporation from the soil surface, accounts for the moisture lost from the soil.
When there is a lack of water in the plant tissue, the stomata close to try to limit water loss. Wilting occurs when the tissues lose too much water. Plants adapted to dry conditions have developed numerous mechanisms for reducing water loss, including narrow leaves, hairy leaves, and thick fleshy stems and leaves. Pines, hemlocks, and junipers are also well adapted to survive extended periods of dry conditions which they encounter each winter when the frozen soil prevents the uptake of water. Cacti, with leaves reduced to spines and having thick stems, are the best example of plants well adapted to extremely dry environments. See this article for more plant choices.
Choosing Plants for Low Water Use
You are not limited to cacti, succulents, or narrow leafed evergreens when selecting low water plants. Call us for more information at 951-837-8420.
To learn how to be more water-wise in California, visit the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s website.
A-1 is a proud Advisory Board Member with Rancho Water District, an elite panel of distinguished businesses that are reshaping California’s water use through smart landscaping choices.