Some gardeners get a lot of satisfaction from maintaining their landscape, pruning and shaping to their heart’s content. Some gardeners…not as much. If you want some plants that will allow you to focus on other things, this list of 8 low-maintenance plants is for you!
1. Endless Summer Hydrangeas
Some Hydrangeas bloom on new wood while other hydrangeas bloom on old wood, but Endless Summer Hydrangeas bloom on new AND old wood! Couple this with their naturally compact growth habit, and you’ll find yourself free to do other things that don’t include maintaining these guys. Simply plant them in a suitable spot and watch them go. An impressive heat tolerance and disease resistance is icing on cake for these beauties.
One of our favorites is the Bloomstruck Hydrangea. This is the newest variety from Endless Summer and it features rosy pink to violet blue blooms atop red stems, which is rather unusual for hydrangeas. It’ll traditionally bloom off-and-on all growing season long, with an initial large bloom in spring and regular reblooms until the first frost of winter. The Bloomstruck is a twist on The Original Endless Summer Hydrangea, which features classic true blue to pink blooms.
2. Encore Azaleas
Encore Azaleas are a great choice for fans of low-maintenance plants. No pruning required and a naturally compact growth habit make these Azaleas the least of your worries in your landscape. Best of all, there’s an Encore for everyone. Blooms come in magenta, White, white with magenta spots, vivid red, scarlet red, hot pink, soft pink, pink-orange with white edges, coral with magenta, white with magenta, purple, whitish-pink with magenta, and more; there are over 30 varieties of Encore Azalea.
The Autumn Bonfire is a brand spankin’ new addition to the Encore Family and it’s an ideal choice for anyone looking for a serious pop of color in their low-maintenance landscape. This fast-growing selection reaches 3’ H x 3.5’ W, with no pruning required. Forget deadheading as well, these blooms will keep popping up all growing season long. If you like the bold blooms but you need less height, check out the Bonfire’s shorter sibling, the Autumn Fire.
3. Evercolor Carex
Evercolor Carex grasses are truly tolerant faux grasses that fans of low-maintenance landscapes are sure to appreciate. Perfect for any part sun to shade location, these varieties require no trimming and will NOT run wild. Plant them next to hedges for a carefree transition from ground to hedge. Use them in a container as an evergreen pop of color all year long. Try them as a mass planting in a location that’s too difficult to mow. Wherever they’re planted, you won’t be concerned about maintenance.
They boldest of the crew, the Everillo Carex is a great choice if you have a shady spot that needs a little boost of color.
Nandinas have been a staple in southern landscapes for decades. Old Nandinas reaching 7-8 feet tall still adorn abandoned landscapes across the south, flourishing without any care.
However, new nandinas are nothing like the nandinas of old. These varieties are naturally compact and don’t get leggy like traditional nandinas. For this reason, these low-maintenance plants are an ideal addition to any landscape. Plant them in the sun or in partial shade, either way they are remarkably resilient. The Obsession and Lemon Lime Nandina max out at 3-4’ tall, while the Blush Pink and Flirt Nandina reach only 2’ high. Simply pick a variety that will reach your desired height, plant them in an appropriate spot. Once they’re established, you’ll have reliably hardy shrubs that don’t require any extra trimming or cleaning up. In addition, the 4 aforementioned nandina varieties are sterile and will not produce berries, which can be toxic to some bird species.
5. Saucy Salvia
The Saucy Wine and Saucy Red Salvia are some of the most dynamite, low-maintenance perennials around. These guys will bloom for nearly the entire growing season, up until the first frost. Additionally, they have a naturally clumping habit, which means that you won’t need to worry about shaping them as they grow (and they grow vigorously). They’re sterile, which means they won’t reseed in your yard. They don’t need to be deadheaded, so they’ll keep on blooming without any extra attention. Just be sure to plant them where they’ll get plenty of sun to encourage as many blooms as possible.
Another for the bloom lovers out there, the Bells of Fire Tecoma and Lydia Tecoma are a perfect choice for lovers of low-maintenance plants. Pick your poison, gorgeous red-orange blooms or brilliant yellow; either way you’re going to be loaded up with blooms from spring until the first frost. A naturally compact growth habit will make pruning a thing of the past, while an impressive drought and heat tolerance reassures that these are not needy shrubs. Deadheading is unnecessary, so don’t be afraid to kick back and relax once these Tecomas get settled in your landscape.
7. Mojo Pittosporum
The Mojo Pittosporum is an unusual, yet hardy, shrub that makes high-maintenance plants shake in their boots. Naturally compact, you won’t even think about shears or clippers while you’re enjoying the Mojo’s eye-catching variegated foliage and its characteristic orange-scented blossoms. Furthermore, it thrives from part sun to shade, meaning it’s a great choice for shaded locations where many other similar shrubs will struggle. At a maximum size of 3’ H x 3’ W, you may want to try the Mojo as a hedge, mass planting, or foundation planting. Once established, you’ll be pleased with how little attention the Mojo requires.
8. Baby Gem Boxwood
Traditional boxwoods are great for hedging, but some can get very large and they generally require trimming to remain uniform. The Baby Gem Boxwood, however, is a perfect choice for anyone looking for a Boxwood that won’t require any extra pruning. The Baby Gem rounds out at a uniform 3’ H x 3’ W, and features finely textured, emerald green foliage. It’s been said that the Baby Gem looks like a large green muffin in the landscape, and that is accurate. This evergreen keeps its color all year long, and is particularly deer resistant and drought tolerant, leaving very little for you to be concerned about. Although not filling the exact same role as your classic boxwood, you’ll appreciate the uniqueness that the Baby Gem brings to the table, and its carefree nature.
Last Words on Low-Maintenance Plants
There are plenty more varieties/species that could be added to this list. We may have to save them for 8 GREAT Low-Maintenance Plants 2: Return of the Shrub.
As far as we’re concerned, low-maintenance plants are some of the best additions you can make to a landscape. The less you need to worry about in your garden or landscape, the more time you can spend doing other things… such as planting more plants. And what’s better than that?
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