Plants to buy that don’t like a lot of water 19



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Australia is famous for its long, hot, dry spells. But that doesn’t mean your garden has to suffer. Choose the right plants and your water worries will be a thing of the past. Plus, you’ll be doing the environment a huge favour.

Snake plant

Don’t be alarmed – this one won’t attack! That said, it does get its name from its long, sharp leaves. So, watch your fingers. Indigenous to West Africa, this plant is one of the hardiest in the world. It can cope without much water – and without much light, too. So, even if you’re the most unpromising green thumb ever, you can expect it to grow. The snake plant’s other name is “mother-in-law’s tongue”.


The king of the desert, the mighty cactus can survive anywhere. On top of that, it comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes – so it can double up as a bit of an artwork, especially if you invest in a colourful or unusual pot. Short on room? Go for a pincushion, which comes from Mexico and has beautiful bright flowers. If you have plenty of space and are looking for something more dramatic, consider a Mexican fence post. 

Rubber plant

Scratch the rubber plant’s leaves or stems and you’ll soon work out where its name comes from. A rubbery sap will ooze out. If you plan on keeping one of these plants inside, be careful not to make a mess! Despite needing watering just once a week, it develops thick, stunning leaves and can grow to impressive heights. If that’s not what you’re after, you can always keep it under control with some pruning. Be careful not to let the plant sit in water for too long, as this can make it pretty unhappy. 

ZZ plant

This one is popular in offices all over the planet – not only because it doesn’t drink much, but also because it has such a lovely, bright appearance. It’ll cheer you up – even if you’re not having a particularly enjoyable day or feeling overloaded with work! The ZZ plant flourishes best in a moderate amount of sunlight, but can handle low light, too. The reason it’s able to cope in such varied conditions is that its shiny leaves grow on incredibly efficient tubers. The ZZ is a long lost relative of the palm tree. 

Ponytail palm tree

As the name suggests, this looks just like a horse’s tail – assuming that horse is green. It’s not a palm at all, but a kind of succulent that belongs to the agave family. Some people call the ponytail palm a bottle palm or elephant foot. A thick, round “trunk”, which is really good at storing water, provides a base for a bunch of slim, green, tapering leaves. You’ll need a spot that can provide bright light at least half the time (all the time is even better). And be sure to drain after watering. Like the rubber plant, the ponytail doesn’t like to go swimming.

What plants do you have in your garden?

Tim Sparke

Tim is the owner of 4 Pumps and passionate about saving water. Residing in Sydney the company's unofficial motto has become "A dropped saved is a drop earned", and offers advice to conserve our most precious resource.

  1. Mike here-Living on the edge of a desert & not having a gardener, when June comes home she brings the odd plant home for the garden. I’ve always wondered what it would feel like to have the power to walk into a plant nursery & be able to make the decision over which plant dies next

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  2. Also agapanthus if allowed in your state thrive with no water, and the spider plant in pots, u should try them Mike. Also the Zygo, it’s a succulent, and in winter is covered in flowers, I’ll send some pics but will only allow one at a time this is the spider plant

  3. Mike here-becasse I like cactus June put in a cactus garden for me 20 years ago, apart from a lemon tree, an orange tree & 3 fig trees which were there before we moved in, it is the only part of the garden which flourishes

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  4. One pot plant I have found easily looked after is called Quicksilver. It has grey leaves, the underside is a darker colour and it has little bunches of pink flowers during Spring. You only need a small piece and it grows really quickly. 👵🏼

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