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Plant Like a Pro in Kamloops

Plant Like a Pro in Kamloops

Kamloops, located in the South Thompson region of British Columbia, is known for its hot, dry summers and mild winters. This unique climate can make gardening a challenge, but with the right knowledge and techniques, you can successfully grow a variety of plants in Kamloops. In this article, we'll discuss plant care, outdoor plants, and gardening tips specific to Kamloops, as well as the best plant species for this region.

Understanding the Climate in Kamloops

Before diving into plant care and gardening tips, it's important to understand the climate in Kamloops. The city experiences hot, dry summers with temperatures reaching up to 40°C (104°F) and mild winters with temperatures rarely dropping below -10°C (14°F). The average annual precipitation is only 250mm, making it one of the driest cities in Canada.

Dealing with Water Restrictions

Due to the dry climate, Kamloops has implemented water restrictions to conserve water during the summer months. These restrictions limit the use of sprinklers and irrigation systems to specific days and times. As a gardener, it's important to be aware of these restrictions and plan your watering schedule accordingly.

To ensure your plants receive enough water, consider using a drip irrigation system or hand watering with a watering can. These methods are more efficient and targeted, allowing you to water your plants without wasting water.

Plant Care Tips for Kamloops

Soil Preparation

The key to successful gardening in Kamloops is to prepare your soil properly. The region's soil is typically sandy and low in nutrients, making it difficult for plants to thrive. Before planting, it's important to amend your soil with organic matter such as compost or manure. This will help improve the soil's structure and provide essential nutrients for your plants.


Mulching is another important aspect of plant care in Kamloops. Mulch helps to retain moisture in the soil, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. In this dry climate, mulching is essential for keeping your plants healthy and hydrated. Consider using organic mulch such as bark chips or straw, which will also add nutrients to the soil as it breaks down.

Watering Techniques

As mentioned earlier, water restrictions are in place in Kamloops, so it's important to use efficient watering techniques. When watering, aim for the base of the plant rather than the leaves. This will ensure the water reaches the roots where it's needed most. Additionally, watering in the early morning or evening will help reduce water evaporation and ensure your plants receive enough water.


Due to the low nutrient content in Kamloops soil, fertilizing is essential for plant growth. However, it's important to use a slow-release fertilizer to avoid over-fertilizing and damaging your plants. Organic fertilizers, such as fish emulsion or compost tea, are great options for providing nutrients to your plants without the risk of burning them.

Best Outdoor Plants for Kamloops

Drought-Tolerant Plants

Given the dry climate in Kamloops, it's important to choose plants that are drought-tolerant. These plants are able to survive with minimal watering and will thrive in this environment. Some great options for drought-tolerant plants in Kamloops include lavender, yarrow, and Russian sage.

Native Plants

Native plants are well-adapted to the climate and soil conditions in Kamloops, making them a great choice for outdoor gardening. Some popular native plants in this region include sagebrush, ponderosa pine, and prickly pear cactus. These plants are not only beautiful but also require minimal maintenance and watering.


Succulents are another great option for outdoor gardening in Kamloops. These plants are able to store water in their leaves, making them highly drought-tolerant. They also come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, making them a great addition to any garden. Some popular succulents for Kamloops include hens and chicks, sedum, and agave.

Gardening Tips for Kamloops

Planting in Containers

Container gardening

by Pauline Bernard (

If you're limited on space or have poor soil in your yard, consider planting in containers. This allows you to control the soil and watering conditions, making it easier to grow plants in Kamloops. When choosing containers, opt for larger ones that will hold more soil and retain moisture better. Additionally, make sure the containers have drainage holes to prevent water from pooling and causing root rot.

Shade and Wind Protection

The hot, dry summers in Kamloops can be tough on plants, so it's important to provide them with some shade and wind protection. Consider planting taller plants or using shade cloth to protect more delicate plants from the intense sun. You can also use windbreaks, such as fences or hedges, to shield your plants from strong winds.

Companion Planting

Companion planting is the practice of planting certain plants together to benefit each other. In Kamloops, where water is limited, companion planting can help reduce the need for watering. For example, planting marigolds with tomatoes can help repel pests and reduce the need for pesticides, while planting beans with corn can help fix nitrogen in the soil, reducing the need for fertilizers.


Growing plants in Kamloops may seem challenging, but with the right knowledge and techniques, it can be a rewarding experience. By understanding the climate, implementing proper plant care, and choosing the right plants, you can create a beautiful and thriving garden in this unique region. Remember to always be mindful of water restrictions and use efficient watering techniques to conserve water. Happy gardening!