Saturday, December 29, 2012

Easy to grow, Low Maintenance Plants for the Garden

Over Christmas we traveled a little.  Not much, we never go very far.  We just visited with family.  One evening a family member asked me if I knew of some attractive, easy to grow, low maintenance plants she could put in the front of her house.  She wanted something she could plant that wouldn't require a whole lot of time to maintain since she has a young baby and a busy work schedule.  Low-maintenance plantings shouldn't need much pruning, supplemental watering, and should continue to re-bloom without deadheading if at all possible.  Essentially low maintenance plants should thrive on neglect! The list of plants below includes the three I suggested as well as several others that several gardeners on Facebook suggested!


Easy to grow, Low-Maintenance Plant Suggestions for Home Gardeners


  • 'Homestead Purple' Verbena
    Verbena - annual or perennial verbena forms either a nice mound or a sprawling groundcover.  'Homestead Purple' verbena is a perennial favorite perennial here in our garden.  It comes back each year if it is planted in a location that is well drained.  A butterfly favorite!
  • Lantana - lantana looks great in pots or planted in the ground.  
  • Zinnia - zinnias come in all shapes and sizes from small little button ones to tall dahlia like flowers. They are an annual but can reseed and bring back blooms each year.
  • Marigold - Marigolds are often maligned as too common but for sheer impact they can be impressive!  Try looking for heirloom varieties for something a little different. Marigolds grow very easily from seed which you can collect at the end of the season and replant next year.  Marigolds are planted in companion planting designs with tomatoes to repel root nematodes.
  • Portulaca - a succulent bloomer that serves well as a groundcover
  • Sweet Potato Vine - Sweet potato vines are an excellent groundcover that really takes care of itself.  I like to put a lime green colored potato vine with a purple colored one.  Sweet potato vines root easily from cuttings which allows you to fill up large areas very quickly.  Pin down a vine to encourage rooting along the stem to spread the vine where you want it to grow.  Sadly it's only an annual here in Tennessee.
    Purple Sweet Potato Vine with Moonflowers
  • Nigella - also known as Love-In-A-Mist is a flowering annual easily grown from seed.
  • Annual Vinca - make sure if you plant vinca that you only choose the annual kind!  Perennial vinca is extrenmely invasive.
  • Heuchera - I'm a big fan of heucheras and try to adda few more each year.  Plant breeders are coming out with more varieties than I have places to put them!  Typically heucheras enjoy dry, well drained, and shady locations but newer more sun tolerant heucheras like 'Southern Comfort' are on the market.  They need divided every few years but generally are extremely low maintenance.
  • Monarda - Bee balm is a great plant for attracting bees and butterflies as you would expect based on its name.  Shorter varieties are available.  They can suffer from powdery mildew so make sure to water at the base of the plant and not the leaves.  'Jacob Kline' is one of the more mildew resistant varieties.
  • Sedums - sedums are another succulent that really does well when neglected. 
  • Rudbeckia - Black-eyed Susans are extremely attractive flowers that are very low-maintenance.  They can have a tendency to spread if allowed to go to seed but can be weeded out each spring.  Rudbeckia is a good plant for pollinators.

I hope these suggestions help you when planning your garden. This is a short list of many possible options and if you have other suggestions to offer please comment!  Please remember that your experience may differ from other gardeners due to soil conditions, weather, and other climate factors and the plants listed above may or may not grow as well in your garden as they might in mine.  

4 comments :

  1. So many great recommendations! And thank you for including marigolds -- they often get a bad rap, but they are just so EASY and there's a lot of variety out there in terms of sizes and colors.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Colleen! Marigolds do get a bad rap and I probably don't use them as much as I should. So easy to grow! And they look pretty darn good too!

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  2. I always suggest spring bulbs, summer daylily bulbs, purple coneflowers and shasta daisies, then chrysanthemums, then lenten roses to round out the year. Toss in some azaleas and roses and you have a 12 month (southern) garden.

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  3. Like your selections. I have used many in the gardens here and it is nice to know they work for others too. Jack

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