Plants that survive with little water

As a non gardener I desperately need advice. My parents were buried locally and I was always able to keep their wish to tend their graves and keep plant tubs fresh and cared for. I have however now moved away and am only able to visit every couple of months. I have autumn and winter sussed - skimmias with and without berries in tubs have survived since last October with no watering on my part. But I just don't know what to do from now until October again! Can anyone suggest any plants for tubs which MIGHT survive if I put granules in etc etc and we have rain on occasion. The graves are also in full sun which doesn't help! They both hated plastic and silk flowers so I can't go down that route. Many thanks in advance for any suggestions.
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greenfingersnot

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On Tue, 27 Apr 2010 17:33:26 -0400, greenfingersnot

Without knowing location I can't recommend any specific plant but why does it need to be in a container... without regular tending it's pretty much impossible for any above ground container grown plant to survive more than a few weeks. Were the container in the ground (say a section of chimney flue) to keep plants from spreading, then there are many plants that would survive well long term with perhaps a yearly thinning/weeding... but again, without knowing the location all anyone can offer is wild speculation.
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Two things you may look into: 1) Water gel, a.k.a. hydrogel <http://www.ehow.com/how_4460993_plant-using-water-retaining-gel.html
and
2) xeriscaping, plants that need little water. <http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=xeriscaping&ie=UTF-8 &oe=UTF-8>
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Plants that have storage organs do well with episodic watering. These include bulbs: daffodils, tulips, some lilies, etc. You could plant a carefully selected set of bulbs that bloom in sequence through summer and fall.
Can you swap out the tubs? If so then two other plants that come to mind are irises and daylilies. They tend to crowd out other plants, though, so you would want them in tubs without other kinds of plants. Many irises and daylilies bloom just once and are finished, but there are so-called reblooming varieties that last longer.
If Skimmia works then you are somewhere that is warm temperate. Xeriscape plants that would work include some of the smaller, hardier cacti. Else small succulents. Both can look really fabulous in shallow tubs with nicely sorted river gravel or lava rocks. Visit public alpine gardens and rock gardens to get ideas.
    Una
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I take it you cannot plant right into the dirt? How about making BIG holes in the bottom of the plant tubs so roots can get down into the dirt where there is more water? I just now ordered a few dwarf weeping crape myrtles for big tubs. I live in zone 5 (-15oF) and they love full sun, flower all summer long on NEW wood do well in hot temps as long as there is some water. Ingrid
On Tue, 27 Apr 2010 17:33:26 -0400, greenfingersnot

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Somewhere between zone 5 and 6 tucked along the shore of Lake Michigan on the council grounds of the Fox, Mascouten, Potawatomi, and Winnebago
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