Low maintenance plants for your garden
If you like to garden but prefer not to spend every waking moment nursing along the plants that you play host to, I totally get it. We love to poke about, water, weed and generally putter, but nobody wants to spend their season trying to keep limp, needy plants alive. During the planning stages of your garden, it pays to know what plants will survive in your zone and the mini climates of your yard. Different areas of your yard offer different benefits and draw backs.
No need to resuscitate
Most of the time, it’s not that plants are needy, but that people try to grow them in the wrong places. The first step in looking for low maintenance plants is to ensure that you’re putting your picks in spots where they can thrive. Check for drought hardiness, the ability to take a little standing water, wind resistance, cold resistance, and how much shade or full sun it needs. What soil requirements does your plant need to thrive and does your yard offer a hospitable home? Plant accordingly.
What are your plants special needs?
Is your plant a heavy feeder? Does it need a lot of watering? These types of plants can be wonderful but they may also take a little more of your time than other selections. Does your plant require staking or does it sprawl across the garden bed? These types may also require some of your help to stay neat and tidy. Does your plant of choice drop lots of leaves or flowers that will need to be raked up? Will it need to be pruned every year? How quickly will it grow and how often will it need to be divided? These are all things to consider when looking for a plant that will need little more than your daily admiration.
As long as you plant them according to their needs most standard perennials will thrive and offer years of low maintenance enjoyment. Tiger lilies, irises, ornamental grasses, bleeding heart, yarrow, sedum, and ligularia are all relatively carefree garden companions. They’ll come back year after year, and will need a spring clean up or dividing every couple of years, but otherwise you can simply enjoy them. Most perennials have a limited flowering period of 2 to 4 weeks. Shasta daisies, for example, look wonderful in June but flowering is typically over by mid-July. For continual displays, chose perennials that flower at different periods. Be vigilant and cut back those aggressive growers that want to take over the garden. Black eyed susan, many varieties of grasses and lilies, have no problem taking over when you aren’t looking!
If you’re looking at annuals, these types of plants will need to be replaced every spring with new stock. They grow, flower and die every season, although some of them will easily offer up seeds which you can collect and plant for the next year. Marigolds, cosmos, verbena, nasturtium and portulaca (moss rose) are all great lazy gardener choices that will brighten a space without any fuss. Although you’ll need to replace them the following year, this gives you an opportunity to switch up your pot displays or garden spaces without much investment.
The better you understand the needs of your plants, the better a show they’ll provide you during the season. (And in the case of perennials, the next season too!) Visit the rest of our website for all of your landscaping and lawn maintenance needs.