Saturday, July 10, 2010

The top five plants for low maintenance gardens

Maintaining a garden can be a labor of love. Something always seems to need pruning or weeding or watering. If weather or social obligations take you away for a weekend or two, the space can start to look like a mess very quickly. Fortunately, there are plenty of plants that require little or no maintenance. These five were chosen because they need little care but they and bring color and impact to any garden design.
photo by Spray-n-grow



Impatiens
Impatiens is the number one choice for low maintenance gardening because they are so versatile and forgiving. They thrive in the garden or in containers. Since they flower all summer long they bring a lot of color too. While they do prefer dappled sun some varieties will tolerate full sun. You do have to water them frequently when it’s hot. They are one of the least expensive plants you can select and they spread nicely especially if you give them some fertilizer early on.
Wave petunias®


Petunias are very colorful and flower all summer, however most varieties require frequent pruning and deadheading so they would never make a list like this. Wave Petunias® on the other hand don’t require such maintenance, just a little fertilizer and frequent watering. They do well as a border plant or in containers and hanging baskets. They prefer full sun and are heat tolerant.

photo by Spike55151

Hosta

Talk about low maintenance! Hosta are perennial and a plant them once and forget them plant. They do flower but it’s the vast variety of leaf colors and patterns that bring texture and color to any dark corner of the garden. They look great when planted around the base of large trees to make mowing the lawn much easier. After several years they can be split in the fall or early spring.
photo by sunshinesyrie


Coleus


Another great choice for bringing color and texture to shady areas of the garden, coleus come in countless colors. They prefer dappled sun but can tolerate a little more sun with frequent watering. They can be used as a border, a full bed or in containers. Pinching off the top growth periodically will encourage a fuller plant.



photo by puzzler4879





Montauk Daisies


Just when most of the flowering plants in the garden are finishing their show, Montauk Daisies are coming into bloom. Throughout the summer these little bushes add greenery and texture, and then in September they are full of charming white flowers. They are perennial and begin to pop up each spring. In order to get the most flowers and a well shaped plant they require a severe pruning no later than mid June, before they set their buds. If the plant isn’t pruned the stalks will flop over under the weight of the flowers.
photo by NK2Y



These five plants can be the backbone of a lovely and easy garden design. They will bring color and texture and are perfect choices for the busy or novice gardener.

23 comments:

  1. I LOVE impatiens and wish I could grow them, but I have a problem with them every year. In the spring and early summer, my impatiens look great in containers and window boxes! Eventually, though, they develop necrotic spot virus and die. What can I do???

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    1. Sprinkle with 7dust!This will help to keep the necrotic spots away and help them to thrive longer~~ Helps greatly. They have to have water everyday in hot summer, but with well drained containers! Better to plant in shadier areas! Plant in Moisture Control Miracle Gro -will help to survive longer. SassyLady

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  2. cbaxt - Necrotic spot virus is spread by insects. You can treat with insecticides, or if you want to do it without chemicals, you need to start with clean, fresh soil (don't reuse any soil that had been previously infected) and spread the plants out far enough apart that it can't spread between them - pull out any plants as soon as you see symptoms, and it SHOULD stop the spread to all your plants. They need to be close together to spread from plant to plant, as I guess the insects don't travel much...

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  3. I'm guessing you should sterilize the containers as well to get rid of the germ.

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  4. Impatiens are amazing. They grow so well in the North Texas summers. I have a little garden area by the pool and the small sized impatiens grew HUGE and filled the whole area up and stayed around until the first freeze in December. Will certainly plant them again this year and in the front yard as well.

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  5. Which ones would be comparable for the low deserts of Phoenix, AZ?

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  6. Care needs to be taken with Hostas as slugs seen to adore them !

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    1. I read, and have tried this, if you bury a beer can cut in half, half full of beer they will be attracted to and fall in the can. It does work! but beware, its a nasty sight! change cans out frequently, as the stale beer stinks!

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    2. Bees and ants love beer cans buried in the yard too. I had to give this one up and go back to insecticide.

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    3. There has been a problem with impatiens over the course of several years. The fungus is spread through spores. Your yard flowers can get it from the greenhouse, your yard dirt, or the air. Once you have had it, the spores are in your ground dirt. I talked to someone at our local greenhouse and he said greenhouses should not even be selling impatiens for awhile! I was also told to wait 2 years for the spores to die in the soil... so, I am taking a break from impatiens (SAD), and using waxed begonias for a few years.

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  7. Love these plants but unfortunately the deer do also.

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    1. The deer ate my Hostas two years in a row then someone told be to sprinkle them with Cheyenne pepper, it works but you need to reapply after it rains.

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  8. Our local nursery announced that there won't be impatiens this coming year due to some unique disease; they said irreputable suppliers could possibly try to market them anyway. They will die, die, die according to them.

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  9. True, unfortunately. The disease seems to be unstoppable. Hybridizers are frantically trying to isolate the disease and reintroduce healthy cultivars. But so far they have met with little success.

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  10. Impatiens are far from a low maintenance plant, at least in Ohio. That is, unless you have an irrigation system. Impatiens= Impatient for water. Plant with caution.

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  11. It is true, Impatiens are being affected by Downy Mildew. Any reputable supplier will not be supplying these. They may look good for the first month but will soon start to look real sickly. Loosing their leaves and becoming very twiggy. Once you have Downy Mildew in your area it is almost impossible to get rid of at this point. Try giving New Guinea Impatiens, Torenia, Begonias, or Coleus a try for your shady spots.
    Check out www.gardencrossings.com for great plants available online.

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    1. All of my impatiens were affected last year. I hace 75 pots of twigs on my deck. So dissappointing.

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  12. Stella de Ora daylilies are another really easy plant to care for, and they multiply.

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  13. Hi
    Petunia was wondering how do you develop this application?

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  14. I think geraniums are another beautiful filler in the garden, that requires minimal care. Most species now will just stop blooming if they aren't watered once a week. If you fertilize them with the kind of miracle grow you mix with water, a few times a month, they grow to the size of 3 ft bushes-full of blooms.

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  15. Begonias would top my list - they are tolerant of me forgetting to water, happy in shade or sun and a nice variety of color in blooms and foliage. I fill all my containers and fill in between my perennials with them.

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  16. I'm going with New Guinea impatiens this year. Too expensive to buy how many I will need so I bought the seeds at "Harris seeds." Very easy to start indoors under regular florescent lights, kept 2-3 inches above the plants. I use a heating cable for germination and have had terrific success each year. Begonias should be at the top of this list ! I mean how much easier can a plant be? They are easy from seed too! Start 8-10 weeks before your last frost ! Happy gardening all!♡♥

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