We consider that the ‘Best Landscaping Plants’ are in the long term going to be ones that are easy to maintain in the climate and environment of choice.
Indoor plants that do not require regular watering or special humidity are the easiest to grow.
Landscaping plants that require little pruning and do not drop leaf litter are always a good choice.
Ornamental grasses that do not require mowing are also low maintenance and can be uses as lawn substitutes.
Not all plants will suite all climates, and of course local ‘native plants’ will be very easy to grow. But here we are talking about ornamentals, and we are looking at cool to temperate zones mainly. We look at some, easy to find, and easy to grow plants that require very little maintenance.
Evergreen Shrubs that require little pruning.
Always an excellent choice, larger shrubs that require little pruning can be the backbone of a landscape design. They provide a backdrop for other plants and can act as screening plants.
We really like the evergreen Magnolias and Camellias and they flower as well and for a bit of foliage colour the ‘Gold Dust Plant’. All of them require very little care once established and can go for years without being pruned, although they all can be pruned.
Deciduous trees for landscaping.
Choose ones that will reach an appropriate size, not to big for your garden, and these are a no brainer, little to no care required, other than raking up the leaves in autumn, and that should help give you some exercise as well as providing compost material.
We particularly like the Japanese Maples, Ginkgo trees and for larger trees the Oaks and Elms. But you say what about Elm Leaf Beetle, simply get them injected every three years.
And yes the deciduous magnolias such as the pretty Magnolia soulangiana alexandrina (see picture right) are not only wonderful flowering plants but also require little to no pruning.
Low growing Conifers for landscaping.
Underrated and under used, these evergreen plants make a great ground cover, are generally as tough as old boots and require little care other than the removal of any damaged foliage. Conifers make very useful landscaping plants.
Be a little careful here, some do require care, others do not. We love Hakenolche Macra, or Japanese Temple Grass, it’s deciduous, but looks great from spring to autumn. Mondo grass is easy, and Lomandra as well.
Another very low maintenance grass is Liriope muscari.
Landscaping with a Tropical Look
What about Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise plant), in a container, in a warm sunny position it is simple to grow, and it looks exotic as well. ( see picture at right)
And while we are on exotics, Palm Trees. Now some are easy and others are a real pain, look for ‘self cleaning palm tree’.
These are the ones that drop their old foliage rather than have it hang down in a ‘skirt’, save climbing up to trim them.
And Bromeliads, long lasting flower, grow in full sun, require little watering and are virtually pest free.
If you are growing plants around a pool, those that do not drop foliage will make maintenance easier.
Garlic, Mint, Sage and Oregano are all easy to grow, and so is Thyme. But Rosemary is a real winner, tough, drought tolerant, aromatic, can be pruned or left to its own devices.
No Fuss garden bulbs
Daffodils are the ones, you do not need to lift them, but you can if you want to. Daylilies are almost indestructible.
Bearded Iris are pretty easy once established as well. We find Arisaema candidissimum very easy in a woodland setting, also trilliums, but not suited to all environments.
Perennial plants such as the Salvias are another tough plant, you might need to give them a chop back every year, but that is about it. Agastache is another. How about Lavender, yes it needs to be cut back each year, but it is so simple to prune unlike some others. Agapanthus are so easy its almost silly.
And the best easy care plants:
This will depend on the climate, soil and personal preferences, we find that these very easy care: