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Are you looking to start a garden from scratch and want to grow lower maintenance plants? Often, we have a lot on our plates and don't want to spend all spring and summer weeding, watering, and tending the garden. This is why plant selection is important. Some plants are just known to be easier to grow than others. Consider these easy-to-grow shrubs and perennials to create a worry-free foundation for your landscape.

Low Maintenance Shrubs 

Weigela

Weigela is a traditional, free-blooming shrub that is relatively undemanding and fast-growing. This deciduous shrub bears abundant clusters of flowers mostly towards the end of spring through early summer. It has a wide range of foliage colors and sizes, suitable for nearly any landscape. Larger varieties may need pruning to maintain their shape, and this should be done after flowering so as not to sacrifice the following year's blooms.

Spirea

Novice and experienced gardeners alike love Spirea bushes for their easy care, fast-growth, beauty, and hardiness. These deciduous shrubs range in size from front-of-the-border charms to mid-size, mounding shrubs and groundcovers that make a colorful statement, whether planted singly or as mass plantings. Just be sure to place your Spirea in a location that will accommodate its mature size.

Hydrangeas

Like Spirea, Hydrangeas are one of the most popular flowering shrubs for beginning gardeners. They are a favorite among both professional landscapers and amateur hobbyists. Their lush greenery and long-­lived flowers offer quite the show, especially the Hydrangea Paniculata selections, which have woody stems. They are sun-loving, definitely low-maintenance, and bloom year after year with the ability to change floral color like magic. 

Low Maintenance Perennials 

A perennial plant is a type of low maintenance plant that lives for more than two years.

Ornamental Grasses

These provide a long season of color and beauty, and they don't need substantial water to look their best. They vary in size, shape, hue, and texture in both foliage and inflorescence. You can plant them in full sun or light shade in hot summer climates, as well as fertile, well-draining soil.

Coneflower

Coneflower is one drought-tolerant plant that thrives even in poor soil. Also known as Echinacea, this flower comes in a variety of shades and adds a blast of bold color to your garden. It is a favorite for gardeners, butterflies and bees. All it requires is a trim in late summer to rejuvenate its bold blooms.

Coral Bells

Add some color to your garden bed with striking leaves of Coral Bells. They are available in different varieties and hues and prefer a life of part sun and part shade. They thrive in rich, well-draining soil but are still quite easy to care for, making them a favorite among many homeowners.

Low Maintenance Gardening Tips & Strategies

Know Your Region

Now that you have an idea of some of the low-maintenance plants to choose from, it's essential to learn a little about your site and make sure the plants you choose are right for your garden. Not everything grows everywhere, so what you plant will be determined by where you live and the area's soil type.

Pick the Right Garden Site 

Location matters when it comes to gardening. For your plants to thrive, pay close attention to how sunlight plays through your yard, and make sure you place your garden where you'll see it regularly (near your front door or a window you use often, for example). Most plants have labels on them that detail their sun requirements.

Start with Great Soil

Ensure your soil has good drainage. It should feel crumbly and be able to hold water when moist. Consider improving your soil to make it more suitable for your plants. You can add amendments such as compost or try our organic planting soil. If using containers, get well-draining pots with holes on the bottom. Additionally, a quick, inexpensive soil test from your local co-op extension service can point to what you need to add.

Feed & Water Your Plants

Even low-maintenance plants need water and food. Water them by hand, hose or watering can until the water begins to pool. Then, stick your finger to about an inch in the soil to see if it's wet. It's also helpful to feed your plants a balanced organic fertilizer according to label instructions.

 

FAQs for Beginners Gardeners Learning to Plant

How do I start a garden if I'm a beginner?

As a beginner, it's good to start small, then work your way up to a bigger garden. Find a suitable plot in your backyard or simply plant a container garden on your deck or balcony. Having a garden that's small enough to keep up with may make it easier to maintain in the beginning. As you become more skilled and confident, you can expand your garden.

What gardening tools do I need?

Gardening tools enable you to work quickly and effectively. With the right tools, it's easy for any gardener, whether seasoned or amateur, to feel like a professional. For basic gardening, you'll need the following:

  1. Pruning scissors

  2. Spade

  3. Trowel

  4. Garden fork

  5. Watering can or a garden hose

  6. Forked trowel

  7. Gardening knife

How do I prepare my garden soil?

The soil has a significant impact on the health and vigor of your plants. If your soil isn't right, your garden might struggle to reach its full potential. Before you begin planting, know your soil type. Whether your soil is nutrient-poor sand, heavy clay, or something in between, it can be improved by the addition of organic matter to get the right combination.

How do I test my soil’s pH?

As a home gardener, it's important to test your soil pH to know which soil amendments are best for your garden. Usually, plant nutrients become available or unavailable according to the soil's pH level. This can be done through a simple soil test at home using a pH testing kit. If you have alkaline soil, you can lower the pH by adding organic materials. Acidic soils can be neutralized by adding lime.

In general, what are the best low-maintenance plants?

Low-water perennials and annuals look good all season long. Of course, before buying a cart full of plants, remember to plan your flower bed, prep the soil, and research the plants that will do well in your zone.

When is the best time to start a garden?

For many first-time gardeners, selecting the right type of plants and the right time to install them can be confusing. Generally, late spring, after frost has ended, is a good time to plant, as long as the ground conditions are favorable for the type of flowers you would like to enjoy. Make sure you understand every aspect of growing conditions so that you choose plants that will thrive with minimal care.