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10 Low Maintenance Plants for Busy Moms

Your landscape doesn’t need to be a time consuming chore if you plan your plantings right. These ten plants make it possible to grow a beautiful garden when you’re short on time or need it to be very low maintenance.

Contributors: Susan Martin

Solution #1: leafjoy H2O® Beakers, Bowls and Minis

If you love the idea of having houseplants but don’t need one more thing that requires your time and attention, these hydroponic leafjoy plants are the perfect solution. There’s no mess and no need for frequent watering. These carefree houseplants can be grown anywhere in your home, and you’ll only need to add more water when the level gets below about a half-inch. For most, that will be once every month or two. Our testing has shown that leafjoy H2O Beakers, Bowls and Minis last for a year or more in an average home setting.

Solution #2: Double Up and Surefire® Begonias

These versatile begonias are workhorses in the landscape and containers, tolerating both sun and shade and blooming non-stop all season without deadheading. These are vigorous plants that won’t require weekly feeding to stay in bloom and won’t require daily watering. They are the perfect plants for people who want the beauty of annual flowers without all the work.

Solution #3: Superbena® Verbena

Like the begonias described above, Superbena verbena delivers a similar stellar performance without all the maintenance, but it does so in full blazing sun, even in warm climates. An application of slow release fertilizer or amending with compost at the time of planting is enough to keep them happy and blooming in landscape beds all season long. They play the role of spiller in containers but in the landscape, they make a fantastic annual groundcover. In zones 8 and warmer, they are typically perennial.

Solution #4: Vermillionaire® Firecracker Plant (Cuphea) 

The easiest way to draw hummingbirds into your garden is to plant a Vermillionaire cuphea. In one season, a single plant will grow 18-28” tall and 12-24” wide – the size of a small shrub – and will be absolutely covered in deep orange, tubular flowers from spring through fall. If you plant it near your outdoor seating area, you’ll get to enjoy the hummers’ show up close. This durable plant tolerates full sun, heat and humidity with ease and does not require much supplemental water once it is established. In zones 8 and warmer, it typically can survive the winter and return the following spring.


Solution #5: Prairie Winds® 'Cheyenne Sky' Switch Grass (Panicum)

Ornamental grasses are generally very low maintenance plants for landscapes, but ‘Cheyenne Sky’ is extra-special because it is incredibly colorful, too. Beginning in early summer, it begins to show its wine red highlights and by late summer, the entire clump is cloaked in red. Matching flower panicles dance above the clump of foliage from late summer into fall. It stays a manageable 3’ tall and 18” wide which makes it easy to tuck into landscape borders, plant alongside water features or in large containers – just about any place in full sun. In the spring, simply cut it down to the ground and then leave it be to shine all on its own for the rest of the year. Hardy in zones 4-9.

Solution #6:  'Cat's Pajamas' Catmint (Nepeta)

There’s a reason this perennial has rocketed up the list to become one of our top sellers – it’s incredibly easy and rewarding to grow, and it looks amazing from spring through fall. If you have a very sunny spot that stays a little dry and the soil isn’t too rich, that’s the perfect spot for catmint. ‘Cat’s Pajamas’ is a dwarf variety that stays in a cute 12-14” tall mound and doesn’t tend to split open in the center like many larger catmints. Give it a trim after the first round of blooms is finished in midsummer and it will flush right back out with more blooms. Hardy in zones 3-8.

Solution #7: Decadence® False Indigo (Baptisia)

The ultimate low maintenance perennial is Baptisia. This is a native perennial that is drought tolerant, attracts pollinators but not deer, lives for decades and literally feeds itself. That’s right—it makes its own food by harnessing Nitrogen from the soil so you can skip the fertilizer. Once established, a 4’ long tap root makes Baptisia very drought tolerant. However, that trait also makes it very tough to transplant, so be sure to plant it in a permanent spot from the get-go. Decadence varieties stay within a manageable 2.5-4.5’ size, taking up about as much room in your full sun landscape as a clump of daylilies. Hardy in zones 4-9.

Solution #8: Show Off® Forsythia

When you’re this great, it’s OK to show off! Forsythia shrubs are a harbinger of spring – plants you will look forward to seeing in their full golden glory every spring. The only thing you’ll need to do to see all these blooms is simply not prune it anytime after midsummer. That’s it! This incredibly low maintenance shrub takes care of itself in the landscape where it thrives in sun to part shade. With three sizes available in the series, you can choose just the right variety to make a privacy hedge, a short border under your front windowsills, or anything in between. Hardy in zones 5-8.

Solution #9: Scentara Pura® Lilac (Syringa x hyacinthiflora) 

There aren’t too many shrubs that can tolerate the extreme winter cold of zone 2 and also the heat of zone 8 like Scentara Pura lilac. Plus, it’s a selection from one of the most fragrant lilac species. You’ll appreciate its strong resistance to powdery mildew, which can plague many older lilacs. If you live in a warm climate, know that this special lilac was bred to bloom even where winters are mild in zone 8. Lilacs are super low maintenance shrubs once established. They need well-drained soil but are otherwise very comfortable in average to drier soils that are not rich in organic matter. Hardy in zones 2-8.

Solution #10: Simply Scentsational® Sweetshrub (Calycanthus) 

Selected from a native species, this easy shrub will become one of your favorites for its unique, intriguingly scented blossoms. Debate amongst your friends and relatives whether it's melon, banana, strawberry or even Juicy Fruit gum that your nose is picking up. Its gorgeous velvety textured, magnolia-like, burgundy blooms appear first in late spring and then again in midsummer when the plant sends out a fresh round of flowers. Sweetshrub prefers moist, well-drained soil and grows beautifully in both sun and part shade. Most people find it to be deer resistant. Hardy in zones 4-9.


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