Why waste water on under-performing plants?

Because in a drought the worst thing you can do for your landscape is to do nothing, Monrovia announced “Swap It Out” a new initiative offering ideas for reducing water use by selectively removing plants that are thirsty, under-performing slackers and replacing them with water-wise overachievers.

“Drive through a residential neighborhood and it’s obvious that the all-or-nothing, “brown is the new green” message is rampant as drought continues well into its fourth year. “Many homeowners are simply immobilized about how to move forward responsibly,” said Monrovia spokesperson, Kate Karam. “Swap It Out” is a simple, cost-effective program to encourage homeowners to change their landscape’s water use from a gulp to a sip, one plant at a time. No big investment in re-landscaping overnight. “Our goal is to spur longer term thinking by providing specific plant alternatives for tired, struggling plants that still drink up, but don’t add beauty.”



Whether because of lack of knowledge about excellent alternatives, or fear of planting anything in a drought, many homeowners continue to lavish precious water resources on plants (such as the rose pictured here) that are clearly on their last legs. “Swap It Out!” suggests that by just yanking out the worst offenders and replacing them with spectacular water-wise alternatives homeowners, start to make an impact. When they see how drought-tolerant once established Flower Carpet roses can replace thirstier hybrid teas or how a hedge of water-wise Emerald Wave laurel provides privacy equal to privet, and that a border of daylily, African iris, Russian sage and dwarf maiden grass can look English cottage pretty even with the tap off, they might be motivated to keep going with the transformation.

In addition to the list attached, consumers can go to Monrovia’s Facebook page, supply their zip code, and ask for a water-wise swap-out suggestion for their specific slacker plant. While there they can also enter to win a deluxe rain barrel from Gardener’s Supply Company. According to Karam, “It’s our goal with “Swap It Out” to end the botanical crime scenes of under-performers allowed to party it up while giving homeowners the useful, money-saving, advice they need.”




Many in California are banking on epic El Nino rains this winter, but experts warn that even an historic weather event is unlikely to reverse the impacts of four years of sustained drought. In other parts of the West, little relief appears to be forthcoming this winter. Clearly, immediate action to transform our gardens into water-wise environments is essential. “We can no longer afford plants that are takers, not makers. If a plant isn’t giving a stellar performance, bursting with blooms, luxuriously leafy or succeeding in providing much needed shade or privacy, it’s time to “Swap It Out,” says Kate Karam.


5 Ways to Spot a Plant that Needs Swapping


–It’s no longer producing blooms

–It’s getting drip irrigation but has already died

–It’s been so poorly pruned that it can’t be coaxed back into shape

–Large sections of the plant are dead

–It fails to thrive even under ideal conditions



Hi res images are available for plants listed below.

Feel free to use this logo and the attached images; please credit Courtesy of Monrovia





Hearts of Gold redbud

Timeless Beauty desert willow

Emerald Wave® Sweet Bay

Majestic Beauty® Fruitless Olive

Deodar cedar



Flower Carpet® White Groundcover Rose

Arabian Lilac

Dwarf bottlebrush

Golf Ball Kohuhu

Southern Moon® Yedda Hawthorn

Icee Blue® Juniper

Bonsai Blue Jacaranda

Tiny Tower® Italian Cypress



Baby Pete™ Lily Of The Nile

KATRINA® African Iris

Brakelights® Red Yucca

Lemon Popsicle Hot Poker

Blonde Ambition Blue Grama Grass

Riverina Thomas French Lavender

Heatwave™ Sparkle Sage



Cousin Itt river wattle

Centennial hybrid wild lilac

Jewel of the Desert Garnet ice plant

Creeping Mahonia

Raspberry Ice Bougainvillea

Ice Chip Summer Lilac



Corky’s Honey Delight™ Fig

Pineapple guava

Little Ragu™ Sweet Bay

Angel Red® Pomegranate

Roman Beauty Rosemary

Flame seedless grape



Sunsparkler® Dazzleberry Sedum

Lavender Swirl® Trailing Lantana

Festival™ Raspberry Cordyline

Endurascape™ Purple Verbena

Green Columnar Juniper

Dwarf Fountain Grass



Balboa Sunset® Trumpet Creeper

White stripe bougainvillea