Perennial plants, ones that live for more than two years, can enliven low maintenance landscape plantings. If the right plant is matched with its appropriate site in the landscape it should thrive without excessive maintenance.
While no perennial can grow and be healthy without some care, there are those that require less upkeep than others. Choose low maintenance perennials for your landscape by beginning to research their site preferences and needs.
The most important goal is that plants should be able to adapt to the environmental conditions in which they are planted. Plants should be able to withstand once they become established, prolonged dryness without being watered. Soil type and exposure are important considerations.
Opt to find plants that fit your scheme and possess most of the following five characteristics. Once these characteristics receive careful thought the plant selection process can begin. Avoid impulse purchases. These never turn out well.
- Plants are self-supporting and do not need staking.
- Self-sowing of seeds is minimal which cuts down on weeding.
- Roots and rhizomes do not rapidly spread which rules out invasiveness.
- Little or no deadheading, removing flowers that have died, is necessary. Faded flowers do not detract from the plant’s overall appearance.
- Plants are, for the most part, are insect and disease resistant. Newer cultivars are usually bred with these characteristic in mind.
The accompanying list shows plants which can be considered low-maintenance and register positive for all five of the characteristics described above.
Ornamental grasses provide height to low-maintenance landscapes
Miscanthus grasses are available in many sizes and textures. They create dynamic backdrops or middle focal points in landscape planting. This photo shows two sizes and textures (three plants in all). One – in the center – is about six-feet-tall and has coarse leaves; the two on either side are about three feet tall and possess fine leaves. The ground cover plant is a non-blooming Delosperma (ice plant.)
Everblooming shrub roses bring exciting color and fragrance to the middle of gardens
Landscape roses like the “Knockout®” and “Home Run® ” series of shrub roses may reach heights of four-to-five feet and remain covered with blooms from middle-spring to killing frosts. Unlike hybrid tea roses, they are disease and pest resistant, and require only one pruning to about 15-inches in early spring.
Everblooming daylilies provide almost constant color in the yellow to burgundy color range
Each season, more ever-blooming hybrid daylily varieties become available. Spent blossoms and foliage are usually overgrown by emerging growth. However, super tidy gardeners can easily deadhead spent blossoms and bloom yellow foliage out. Color and height variations of blossoms and plants provide a variety of color in front of beds or along walkways.
Delosperma, hardy ice plant, provides fantastic ground cover in highly reflective areas
Once established hardy ice plants grow well and cover areas up to three-feet in circumference. They support a profusion of blossoms from mid-spring to killing frost. The accompanying photo shows that they grow well in the middle of surfaces that reflect both light and heat. The blossoms also bring exciting color where grasses, flowering perennials and shrubs with deep green foliage are planted.
Delosperma varieties are fantastic drought-resistantgroundcovers
Delosperma or hardy ice plants are available in ten different color ranging from the common magenta through yellows and oranges to almost white blossoms. Originally from South Africa, these plants are highly drought-resistant once established and are receiving attention from plant breeders and growers.