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This colorful combination of Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hamlen’, Epilobium, and Salvia leucantha are good low water use companions for Agave americana. Photo: UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, Ellen Zagory

Gardening is so very local. But these days we’re all factoring in how much water our gardens require. Making the most of this precious resource when planning and planting involves many strategies: building good soil, applying mulch, and maybe even installing a water catchment system. But perhaps the best place to begin is to get to know your specific region and then select plants according to the amount of water you have, or want to invest in your landscape.

The WUCOLS IV database classifies Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Purple Dome’ as a medium water use perennial for California’s North-Central Coastal, Central Valley, South Coastal, and South Inland regions. Photo: UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, Ellen Zagory

Providing just enough water—neither too much nor too little— saves money, avoids waste, and promotes plant heal...

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