UCCE Master Gardeners of Sacramento County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of Sacramento County

Water-Efficient Plants

Beautiful gardens can thrive in the Sacramento Valley on low amounts of supplemental summer water.  The water-efficient landscape (WEL) demonstration garden at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center is one of those, as are gardens at the UC Davis Arboretum.

The WEL demonstration garden at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center is open to the public seven days a week year round. Wheelchair accessibility is provided. The garden features natives, perennials, trees, and shrubs--plants that do well with less water during our long, hot, dry summer days and tolerate our chilly, damp Sacramento winters.

The links on the left under the blue bar include lists of water-efficient plants that look especially lovely by season—sometimes more than one! Get cultural information, a picture and a little history for each plant.

For details on the WEL gardens at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, visit the link in the gold bar above. To learn about the UC Davis Arboretum All-Stars, many of which can be seen at the WEL gardens, go to UC Davis Arboretum All Stars.

Below is a collection of resources just for the home gardener.

Also visit the Horticulture Center link in the gold bar above for details on the WEL at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center.


Note: PDF files open in a new window/tab.

  • Lawn Removal Methods will help you go beyond lawn to a more water efficient garden. (GN 161)

  • Lamiacae: The mint family plants (PDF) in the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center Water-Efficient Landscape describes and lists some of the plants in this large family that make good water efficient choices for the home garden. (GN 159)

  • Attracting Beneficial Insects to Your Garden (PDF 171kb) describes a variety of plants that will attract the insects you'd love to have as helpers in your garden. (GN 129)

  • Fair Oaks Horticulture Center Water-Efficient Landscape gardens plant list (PDF 130kb). (GN 101)

  • Fair Oaks Horticulture Center Water-Efficient Landscape gardens California native garden plant list (PDF 120kb). (GN 139)

  • Ornamental Grass (PDF 92kb) explains how to select, plant and care for ornamental grasses; includes a chart with specific information about more than 30 ornamental grasses. (EHN 91)

  • The UC Davis Arboretum All-Stars are 100 tough, reliable plants that don’t need a lot of water, have few problems with pests or diseases, and have outstanding qualities in the garden.

  • Learn about rain gardens from the Sacramento County Stormwater Quality Program and the River Friendly Landscaping Coalition.

  • Urban Bee Gardens provides information about the importance of native bees and how to attract them to your garden; developed through the bee lab of Dr. Gordon Frankie of the University of California Berkeley.

  • Learn how to manage pests on flowers from the UC IPM website.

  • Cultural care tips and how to manage pests on trees, shrubs, and woody ornamentals.

  • See when and how to plant bulbs in the Sacramento area.

  • See when and how to plant flower seeds in the Sacramento area.

  • Deer Resistant Plants (PDF) - compiled by the UCCE Nevada County Master Gardeners.  Refer to "Water Requirements" listed for water-efficient varieties.

  • Interested in learning about water efficient turf grasses or lawn alternatives?  Read about the Turf Demonstration Project conducted by Sacramento County Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor Chuck Ingels.

  • Healthy soil builds healthy plants, and saves water too. Watch a video about building healthy soil


ANR = free publication from the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Catalog
PN = free publication from UC Integrated Pest Management
EHN = Environmental Horticulture Notes from the UCCE Master Gardeners of Sacramento County
GN = Garden Notes from the UCCE Master Gardeners of Sacramento County

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4145 Branch Center Road, Sacramento, CA 95827       Master Gardener Phone:  916.876.5338             Fax:  916.875.6233

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