- A GUIDE TO LOW-MAINTENANCE SHRUBS
- 10 Easy-Care Perennials Every Garden Should Have
- 11 Easy Care Plants for Every Garden
- 10 Low-Maintenance Shrubs for Your Garden
- 1. Buxus (Box)
- 2. Fatsia Japonica
- 3. Red Robin (Photinia)
- 4. Holly
- 5. Choisya Ternata ‘Sundance’ (Mexican Orange)
- 6. Euonymus Fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’
- 7. Lavender
- 8. Aucuba Japonica (Japanese Laurel)
- 9. Daphne
- 10. Abelia X Grandiflora
A GUIDE TO LOW-MAINTENANCE SHRUBS
With today’s Type-A, overly-scheduled, short-on-time society, homeowners are turning to low-maintenance living options with increasing regularity. These materialize in the form of hairstyles that require little attention, cars and appliances that function fully with minimal focus and of course, plants that can thrive with very little TLC. If you are looking to create a healthy looking landscape, highlighted by beautiful shrubs, but don’t have a green-thumb, fear not. There are many low-maintenance options that will make it look like you invest more time in your yard than you actually do. Relax, your secret will be safe with us.
Here are a few tried-and-true, low maintenance shrubs to consider:
Boxwood are tough, generally slow growing, evergreen shrubs. They’re quite easy to maintain, especially if you opt for a looser appearance instead of a more traditional clipped look. Be sure to check with your local garden center or landscape professional to find the varieties that work best in your area, as there are dozens from which to choose. Whether your landscape is clean and modern or you’re evoking the spirit of the Colonial era, boxwood is a great choice.
Spiraea is an easily grown, sun-loving, deciduous flowering shrub. It has a dense growth habit and is covered in pink blooms through much of late spring and early summer. Popular cultivars include ‘Goldmound’ with its bright yellow leaves, ‘Neon flash’ with its contrasting dark green foliage and bright pink blooms, and ‘Little Princess’, a variety that’s slightly smaller than many other spiraea. Spiraea can either be completely left alone, or lightly trimmed and shaped.
Groundcover junipers do exactly what their name implies. They’re a low growing shrub that fills in to create a dense mat over a large area of ground. Because they grow from just a few spreading branches, they’re easy to prune, but it’s important to read the nursery tag and plant them with adequate space. Popular varieties include ‘Procumbens ‘Nana’’, ‘Blue Pacific’, and ‘Blue Rug.’
It doesn’t get much easier to maintain than a yucca. They maintain their size and shape with virtually no human intervention, they bloom reliably year after year, and their range extends from New England to Arizona. When yucca blooms, it sends up a flowering stalk that can reach six feet tall, creating a dramatic landscape statement.
Oakleaf hydrangea is low maintenance not because it’s small (it can grow to six feet or so) but because its natural form looks most beautiful unpruned. Read the tag and plant in a space that will let it reach its full size with minimal intervention and you’ll be treated to huge bloom clusters shaped like inverted ice cream cones and rich burgundy fall foliage. Popular choices include ‘Alice’, ‘Snow Queen’, and the dwarf ‘PeeWee’.
The best landscapes are the ones you enjoy, not the ones you view as a chore. Use this list as a starting point when planning your next landscape improvement, and seek more information from your local landscape professional.
10 Easy-Care Perennials Every Garden Should Have
By Doug Jimerson
With literally hundreds of perennial flowers to choose from, a trip to the garden center can be bewildering. Our advice? Start with the classics: beautiful, reliable, and easy-care perennials. Here are 10 that should appear in every garden.
1. Black-Eyed Susan
Commonly called Black-eyed Susan, rudbeckia is a joy to grow. It develops wave after wave of cheerful daisy-like blooms from early summer to fall. The flowers sport yellow or orange petals that surround a darker center. Most varieties grow around two feet tall and, like annual flowers, many will bloom the first year from seed. Denver Daisy and Indian Summer are two annual forms that often come back year after year. Because rudbeckias are native to the central and eastern parts of the United States, they are also naturally drought and insect resistant. Some favorite classic perennial varieties include Goldsturm (in photo), Cherokee Sunset, Prairie Sun, and fulgida.
Growing Tip: Rudbeckia doesn’t always last more than a few years in one spot, but it does have a tendency to self-sow in other locations. Watch for seedlings to sprout and transplant them where you need color the most.
Few perennials are as versatile as salvia, also called perennial sage. This big family of gorgeous bloomers includes varieties that are tough enough to take the cold of Minnesota and others that thrive in the heat and humidity of Florida. Plus, many salvia varieties develop deep blue flowers, a color that’s often hard to come by in the flower border (and also a coveted hue!). Some classic varieties that prefer a cooler climate include May Night (in photo), Carradona, and New Dimension. For warmer climates (zones 7 and above) choose Wild Thing, Hot Lips, or Black and Blue.
Growing Tip: As soon as your salvia stops blooming shear back plants by about one third their height. This promotes a second season of flowers later in the summer.
Do you want a burst of sunshine in your garden? Make room for coreopsis! Its bright sunny-yellow or golden flowers are hard to miss even on a dreary day. Most coreopsis grow about 18 inches tall and produce single or double flowers. On some varieties the foliage is fine and delicate, making the flowers look like they are dancing on a lacy cushion. Like rudbeckia, coreopsis is a native prairie plant so it can take a little neglect when it comes to water and fertilizer. Some top coreopsis picks include dwarf-form Nana (in photo), pale yellow Moonbeam, award-winning double-flowering Early Sunrise, and pink-flowering Limerock Dream.
Growing Tip: Plant coreopsis near the front of your border so you can easily remove the fading flowers. This will extend the bloom time through the summer.
Sedums are the workhorses of the perennial border. Almost impervious to heat, drought, and disease, sedums get bigger and better each year. This large perennial family includes ground-hugging varieties such as Angelina as well as taller types such as the classic three-foot-tall Autumn Joy. Most sedums bloom in late summer and fall, but they all offer handsome, fleshy foliage that looks great all season long. One of the first perennial flowers to pop up in the spring, sedums are also one of the last ones to succumb to fall’s cold temperatures. Their nectar-rich blooms are also a favorite with butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. Other great sedum choices include the pretty ground covers Tricolor and Kamtchaticum variegatum (in photo) Taller must-have sedums include Vera Jameson, Voodoo, and Neon.
Growing Tip: Because sedums spread, it’s a good idea to divide them every few years to keep them in top form. Dig the plants and use a sharp spade to separate them into smaller pieces you can share with friends.
See how to divide perennials!
5. Purple Coneflower
A decade ago, you didn’t have a lot of options when it came to choosing an coneflower (Echinacea) for your garden. Most varieties available looked a lot like the original native form, which has single, pink petals surrounding a dark center. But recently plant hybridizers have had a field day with this resilient perennial flower, creating new flower forms almost every year. Now, you can choose from double- and triple-flowering varieties and colors that include white, raspberry, orange, and yellow. Coneflowers generally grow 3 feet tall and bloom from early summer until fall. They’re a favorite with butterflies and make excellent cut flowers for indoor bouquets. Some favorite varieties include dwarf Kim’s Knee High, boldly colored Salsa Red, double-flowering Bubblegum, or surprising Sombrero Sandy Yellow.
Growing Tip: Single-flowering forms often live longer than the double or triple types. Before you buy, check the plant’s zone of hardiness to see if a particular variety will survive the winter in your garden.
Talk about dependable! Peonies last for years with very little help from you. In fact, there are many cases where peonies are still growing and blooming where they were planted 50 years earlier. Peonies form pretty, 3-foot tall mounds of foliage that burst into bloom in mid-spring. The plants are available in single-, double-, or semi-double forms, and flower in a wide range of colors and bi-colors. Peony blooms are also highly fragrant and make extraordinary spring bouquets for weddings or graduations. All these dependable plants require is a sunny garden spot that’s well drained—they won’t prosper in heavy, mucky soil. Choice varieties include single-flowering Krinkled White, gorgeous Coral Supreme, classic double pink Sarah Bernhardt and pink-and-cream Annamieke (in photo).
Growing Tip: Peonies require a period of cold and darkness to bloom well. That’s why they grow best from zones 4-8 where they bloom from May to June.
7. Bearded Iris
Bearded iris are one of the most sumptuous flowers in the spring garden. These spectacular perennial flowers are a snap to grow, and are prized for their eye-popping, crown-like flowers that are held aloft on tall graceful stems. They come in an almost unlimited selection of colors and bi-colors, and some varieties even put on a second show of bloom in fall. When not in bloom, bearded iris plants feature striking, sword-like foliage that stands up straight throughout the growing season. Like peonies, bearded iris requires a period of cold and darkness to bloom so are at their best in zones 3-9. Top picks include: Immortality, Again and Again, Goldkist (in photo), and Savannah Sunset.
Growing Tip: To keep your bearded iris in top form, dig and divide them every three to four years. If allow your iris to grow into one thick clump, flower production will slow.
Talk about easy care! Once planted, daylilies require only a minimum of attention, yet they’ll reward you with armloads of gorgeous flowers every summer. All these reliable plants need is a sunny spot and protection from weedy intruders. Daylilies are early risers, pushing their pretty grass-like leaves up through the soil in early spring. When summer rolls around, plants develop graceful flower stems packed with buds that open into beautiful blooms. Daylilies get their name from the fact that each flower lasts for just one day. Not a worry because each plant produces a quantity of buds/blooms so there’s always color. In general, daylilies are classified as either standard or ever-blooming. As a rule, standard bloomers have bigger flowers and more colors to choose from. Ever bloomers have a more limited color palette and smaller blooms. For the biggest color show include both types in your garden. Choice varieties include ever bloomers such as Stella de Oro (in photo), Happy Returns, Buttered Popcorn, and Black-Eyed Susan. Standard bloomers include Chicago Apache, Ice Carnival, Double Passion, and Fire King. Daylilies are hardy from zones 3-9
Growing Tip: Although daylilies prefer full sun, they will survive in partial shade. Flowering will be a bit more limited, but they will provide some much-needed color in these locations.
Although there are many different varieties of lilies to choose from, the two most popular types are Asiatic or Oriental. Asiatic lilies generally grow two to three feet tall and produce clusters of upward-facing, jewel-like flowers at the top of each stem. Most Asiatic lilies bloom in red, orange, yellow, white, or bicolors. They’re extraordinarily hardy and thrive in zones 3-8. Asiatic lilies spread slowly in the garden, forming bigger clumps each year. Oriental lilies tower over their Asiatic counterparts, often growing six to seven feet tall. Their flowers are often pendulous and highly fragrant. Oriental lilies also spread, although not as quickly as Asiatic lilies. They are hardy from zones 4-8. Top Asiatic lilies include: Sensation, Sunny Borneo, Buzzer, Matrix, and Golden Joy (in photo). Some top Oriental lilies include: Starfighter, Love Story, Farolito, and Show Winner.
Growing Tip: Both types of lilies are best divided in the early fall. Dig the entire clump, separate the bulbs, and replant, spacing them 18 to 24 inches apart.
Having a shady backyard doesn’t mean you can’t have a colorful garden. Hostas thrive in the shade, and are available in an almost limitless selection of sizes, shapes, and colors. In fact, there are so many hosta options to choose from that you can create an entire garden with just this one species. Hostas prefer a rich, slightly moist soil, but are tough enough to endure less-than-ideal conditions. Their biggest challenges are deer and slugs, two creatures that find hosta foliage especially tasty. Hostas also develop gorgeous flower spikes in pink, lavender, or white. The flowers of some varieties are also fragrant. Some choice large hosta varieties (some can get 4 feet tall) include Sagae, Frances Williams, Sum and Substance, Francee, and Patriot. Medium and small varieties include: Fire & Ice, Paul’s Glory (in photo), Guacamole, June, and Blue Mouse Ears. Most are hardy from zones 3-9.
Growing Tip: If you see holes in the leaves of your hostas, you probably have slugs nearby. These creatures dine at night so you won’t see them destroying your plants during the day. To combat them, use an organic slug bait or place halved orange or grapefruit pieces around your plants. At night the slugs will be attracted to the fruit, which you can then remove, slugs and all.
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Here are 11 of the best, tried-and-true easy care plants to grow in your yard and garden that will provide all-year-around interest – and a few you might want to stay away from.
Some links in this article are affiliate links and if you click on them I will receive a small commission at no cost to you.
Do you need plant recommendations for your garden that are really real? Not just some list that’s been reworked from a magazine or garden website – a tried-and-true list of plants to grow in your garden that you can trust are the lowest maintenance, longest living, and provide a long bloom or garden backbone. That kind of list?
I thought so – me, too! So I took a long, hard look at our garden and am sharing the list I came up with based on what I think is the ultimate plant criteria:
What would I always plant again – and what would I avoid?
Of course, under that are a few other must-have criteria like:
- easy care (does it need a lot of cutting back, spraying, training, does it become weedy, etc.)
- long bloom time or seasonal interest
- lives a long time (so, obviously, this isn’t a list of annuals…)
The other thing that I think you’ll appreciate about this list is that these 11 perennials and shrubs provide all-season interest. Meaning, if you planted only the plants on this list, your garden would have something blooming from February through October (maybe even November in milder climates) and even have some evergreens to provide winter interest!
This is different from my previous favorite easy care plants lists (which you can see here and here to compare!), and time has sharpened my view of good-vs-bad plants, which is why I’m also adding a few plants to the end of this list that I will NEVER plant again. Live and learn, right?
11 Easy Care Plants for Every Garden
Listed in order of bloom time in my Pacific Northwest Garden, zone 8:
1. Spring Bulbs: Daffodils (February-March), Grape Hyacinth* (March-April), and Tulips (April-May)
I will never have a garden, even the smallest bed, that doesn’t include these bulbs. The only- and I mean only- hard part of planting bulbs is to remember to plant them in the fall. They are truly one of the only “plant and forget it” flower, coming back every year (well, some varieties of tulips don’t, but you don’t have to plant those…) with no further care other than cutting back the leaves after they’ve turned brown.
Best Varieties: Any daffodils and grape hyacinths, but for reliable yearly blooms look for Darwin Hybrid Tulips. They are larger and come in a lot of colors (the pink tulip above is a Darwin) and never have to be replanted – a true perennial tulip.
*NOTE: a reader let me know that in their area grape hyacinth are weeds that can be hard to get rid of – even in lawns. This has not been my experience at all in my zone 8 PNW garden, but you should ask around in your area to be sure.
2. Bunnera (March-May)
This pick is no surprise to those who’ve been reading AOC for awhile – I like to champion this little workhorse plant since it is so pretty, both when it’s blooming and when it’s not, since it’s almost evergreen in our garden. The most wonderful thing about this, though, is that it grows happily in dry shade, one of the hardest-to-grow areas of any garden. It does need supplemental water in the driest months, but that’s it for maintenance, basically.
Best Variety: ‘Jack Frost’ Brunnera, pictured above has glowing variegated leaves – and most importantly, doesn’t reseed everywhere like the common green brunnera does.
3. Hardy Geranium (April and even into fall, depending on variety)
There are so many varieties of this popular perennial in shades from white all the way to deep purple and blooming from just a month or so, to all summer long, that you’ll easily find something for your garden. I’ve grown a couple and they are a pretty perfect low-growing plant.
Best Varieties (highly subjective, as most are great!): purple ‘Rozanne’ (June-Sept.), white-pale pink ‘Kashmir White’ (May-July), and pink ‘Tiny Monster’ pictured above (April-July, with sporadic blooms after shearing into October). Note to ‘Tiny Monster’- it really does get huge, so the price for the longer bloom is that there’s more maintenance to keep it in check with shearing – I actually use a hedge trimmer for this plant!
4. Daylilies (1-2 months bloom, most varieties May-June, some all summer)
I’ve grown a lot of daylilies over the years and my favorites are the pinkish varieties like I show here, just because they’re different from the normal orange or yellow. I do, however have the small Stella d’Oro yellow daylilies, since they bloom all summer long and the leaves just look great in a bed with other plants. I’ve had to deadhead and pull off brown leaves, but that’s about it for maintenance – and when they’re blooming, they’re stunning.
Best Varieties: Stella d’Oro (May-Sept), Pink variety like this one (late May-July)
5. Spirea Japonica (shrub pictured blooms June-August)
There are quite a few spirea shrubs, many of which bloom in spring like Bridal Wreath (which I have too), but I love this pink blooming shrub pictured above the most. It’s about 4′ tall and wide, it blooms June-July and then will bloom again if sheared back. And although they’re listed as full sun, I have 4 that are in partial to almost full shade and still bloom. Love.
Best Varieties: Unfortunately, I can’t find the name of the spirea pictured above, but there are a lot of similar varieties like ‘Little Princess‘ (3 ft. tall) and ‘Shirobana‘ as well as the fun pink and white ‘Peppermint Stick.’
6. Hydrangeas (June until frost)
Hydrangeas hold a special place in my heart, as I know they do for many others. Blooms that start out blue, white, pink, and green will change colors as they age to purples and mauves. They provide so.much.beauty for so little little time investment. Basically, you cut them back in winter and that’s it other than basic soil improvement like papering & mulching. If you have no other blooming plant, this one will give you enough for cut flowers all summer long.
Best Varieties: ‘Little Lime‘ (pictured above, front), ‘Pee-Gee‘ (pictured above in back, trained as a standard), and Endless Summer (pictured at the top of the post).
7. Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia (July-September)
Black-eyed Susans are so cheery and provide color at a typically dry time in the garden, July & August. I would always have a stand of them in any garden for that reason alone. They also spread nicely – not enough to overtake anything, but just enough to fill in borders, like in my garden above.
Best Varieties: ‘Goldstrum‘ and ‘Indian Summer.’
8. Sedum (July through October)
Not the cacti-type sedums, the perennial sedums like Autumn Joy are soft with fleshy leaves and long-blooming flower umbels that start out green and slowly change colors through pink to dark copper. They fill a great spot in the late summer-autumn garden and make good cut flowers, too.
Best Varieties: ‘Autumn Joy,’ or ‘Indian Chief‘
9. Aster (August-October) and 10. Japanese Anemone (September to frost)
Most people think of autumn flowers as mainly hot colors like orange, red and yellow. These two fall blooming perennials prove that pastels can work in autumn, too. Asters are classic fall plants and come in a number of colors (including red), though the purple is my favorite, and I appreciate the texture from the needle-like foliage.
And Japanese Anemones? They will steal your heart with their happy blooms swaying in the fall breeze high above their leaves. Found mostly in pinks and whites, they make wonderful cut flowers. To be honest, the anemones take a bit more maintenance than the others on this list, since they spread pretty rapidly and have to be pulled up pretty consistently. But totally worth it.
Best Varieties: ‘New England’ Aster, ‘Italian’ Aster, ‘Queen Charlotte’ anemone (light pink), and ‘Honorine Jobert‘ anemone (white).
11. Dwarf Boxwood (year-around interest)
To provide a bit of winter interest when the perennials have died down and the shrubs are sticks, boxwood is my go-to evergreen. I have planted full-sized boxwoods in some places, but they do require regular shearing so they don’t look scraggly or take over an area. Dwarf boxwoods always look great so they are perfect for any size garden bed.
Best Variety: True Dwarf English boxwood
Plants to Avoid
1. Lamb’s Ears
This is probably not popular, since they are a really fun plant and edge a bed with a gray-green color that seems to go with everything, but they are SO invasive that I will never plant them again.
I’ve actually had them in my gardens for many years, trying to make them work because I just love the fuzzy leaves and glowing color. I even keep the flower stalks cut down to help them look a bit neater. But I’m just tired of trying to keep them in check, and the hours it takes to refresh them each spring. I’m just saying no – finally.
Here’s another that many may not agree with, but I cannot get these to grow nicely for me. They are planted in a moist shade area (it usually grows moss nearby, a-hem) and get regular water during our dry July-September months and they’re still dried up brown stubs by the end of July. With no blooms. Not worth it.
Oh, it’s sad for me to write this, because I’m in love with quince blossoms which are not only pretty, but bloom in February when I’m so ready for their sweet pink flowers.
But this shrub is horrible, really. It’s full of inch-long thorns that hurt, it suckers like mad – even into the grass and nearby plants, AND it grows out of control when planted where it’s happy. This shrub you see above? I used a hedge trimmer last summer and hacked it back (and got some nice scratches to go along with it) to a nice 4′ x 4′ size that I thought would last awhile. Um, obviously no.
“But they’re so sweet – look at those little periwinkle blooms!” Just don’t do it, no matter how quaint and old-fashioned they seem. They start out small and sweet and soon take over your garden – and any other garden space their clingy little seeds can find. I’m trying to forget them.
What are your thoughts on this list? I hope you’ll chime in with your favorites and those you won’t plant again, too- either here, on AOC’s Facebook page or Instagram!
Disclosure: affiliate links in this post will earn commission based on sales, but it doesn’t change your price. to read my full disclaimer and advertising disclosure.
Make This Year’s Garden A Success!
10 Low-Maintenance Shrubs for Your Garden
With our increasingly busy lifestyles, it comes as little surprise that many of us are choosing to have gardens that are as low maintenance as possible.
Finding the time to maintain plants, shrubs and a lawn can be a difficult task for many of us.
Even if you have little interest in gardening, the chances are you’ll want your garden to look nice and be a welcome oasis away from the stresses of everyday life.
Luckily, having a nice garden doesn’t necessarily mean that it will take up too much of your free time.
By carefully planning your garden and following some simple low-maintenance tips, there is nothing to say you can’t have the best of both worlds.
We recommend that you start by choosing some low-maintenance shrubs, to fill the beds and borders of your garden.
To help you, we have compiled a list of 10 of our favourite low-maintenance shrubs that will be a welcome addition to any garden, large or small.
Many of the shrubs on our list are classed as ‘evergreens’, meaning that they will look good all year round, and yet they tend to require less pruning and maintenance than many other plants.
So, let’s begin with the first shrub on our list.
1. Buxus (Box)
Buxus are ideal topiary for modern and contemporary style gardens, where they are typically planted in containers.
They are often used to form hedgerows, too.
This slow-growing evergreen shrub requires surprisingly little maintenance. It tends to thrive best in shady areas and can even be grown underneath trees. Excessive sunlight can cause discolouration in the leaves.
Buxus can be left to grow as it pleases, but should you choose to keep it in an ornamental style then it will, of course, need the occasional prune to help it keep its shape. That’s best done once a year, at the end of August.
2. Fatsia Japonica
This glossy-leafed shrub is, as the name suggests, a native to southern Japan.
Fatsia japonica is an evergreen shrub with sparsely branched stems, that grows to a height of somewhere between 1 and 3 metres. It makes the perfect addition to borders or, alternatively, works well as a feature, in a large container on a patio.
In autumn and early winter, it produces a small white flower, followed by small black fruits in the spring, so offering different interest at different times of the year.
It will grow best in moist, good draining soil situated in partial shade or full sunlight.
Fatsia japonica has made our top 10 as, once established, this shrub is fairly low maintenance and needs little or no regular pruning – perfect!
3. Red Robin (Photinia)
Another popular choice of shrub for low-maintenance gardens in the UK is the humble Red Robin.
Red Robins are evergreen and can grow to anywhere between 2.5 and 4 metres in height, with a similarly sized spread.
This lovely shrub would make the perfect addition to any garden and its beautiful red leaves make for an eye-catching feature.
Like all of the shrubs on this list, Red Robins require virtually no pruning at all; in fact, pruning can potentially spoil the shrub, if done incorrectly.
As long it is grown in moist soil, in full sun or partial shade, Red Robins are about as low maintenance as it gets.
Holly instantly makes us think of Christmas, but this evergreen shrub looks fantastic all year round and deserves a place in any garden.
With its distinctive spiky leaves and red or yellow berries, holly is perfect for creating a dense hedgerow. The shrubs also make outstanding specimen plants in the garden, or as part of a mixed border.
This evergreen shrub is very slow growing, meaning pruning is minimal, but they can actually grow to a whopping 25 metres in height.
The berries, which ripen in the winter months, provide a welcome food source for birds; however, they cause stomach upsets in humans, if ingested, so if you have young children, this may be one to avoid.
Holly tends to thrive best in full sun or slight shade, and it likes well-draining soil.
5. Choisya Ternata ‘Sundance’ (Mexican Orange)
The next shrub on our list is the Choisya ternata ‘Sundance’, winner of the RHS Award of Garden Merit, which was given for its shape and colour, and excellent resistance to pests and disease.
Choisya ternata grows to 3 metres in height. It can be instantly recognised by the shape of its aromatic leaves, which are referred to as palmately divided (hand-shaped). It also has scented white flowers.
This shrub requires very little, if any, pruning and is best grown in sheltered areas of the garden that receive plenty of sunlight.
6. Euonymus Fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’
This evergreen shrub is named after plant explorer and Scottish botanist, Robert Fortune.
It has leaves that are elliptical in shape and arranged in opposite pairs; they grow to between 2 and 6 centimetres in length, and 1 to 3 centimetres in width.
Euonymus fortunei can offer up wonderful tinged pink leaves during late autumn and early winter, creating an eye-catching display of colour.
It is one of the smallest shrubs on our list and typically only grows up to 1 metre in height. Its slow growing nature means that, once established, it will require very little maintenance or pruning.
This small bushy shrub can also be trained to climb up walls, pergolas and trellis panels, and when climbing they can, in fact, reach heights of up to 20 metres.
Euonymus grows best in well-draining soil, situated in full sun or partial shade.
When it comes to choosing low-maintenance plants and shrubs for your garden, it’s important to not only choose them based upon aesthetics, but also to consider their aroma.
And high on the list of beautiful, fragrant shrubs is lavender.
It is a versatile shrub that can be used as edging or in patio containers, and its flowers are highly appealing to bees and butterflies, which will encourage the local wildlife to visit your garden.
Lavender is also extremely easy to grow; it thrives in dry conditions, in sunny areas of your garden.
You may wish to prune lavender once a year, either in the spring or late summer, to keep it compact. Using secateurs, remove the flower stalks and around 2 to 3 centimetres of the current year’s growth.
8. Aucuba Japonica (Japanese Laurel)
Aucuba japonica was first brought to the UK by John Graeffer, in 1783, and it quickly became known as the ‘gold plant’.
Aucuba are dioecious evergreen shrubs, with leaves growing to between 5 and 8 centimetres in length, and 2 to 5 centimetres in width. They sprout small purple flowers, followed on female plants by large, glossy, red fruits.
They offer a variety of different colours during different times of the year, to give your garden a different dimension with each passing season.
Aucuba loves shady areas, so pick a part of your garden that receives little direct sunlight, preferably north facing. They grow up to 2.5 metres in height and love well-draining soil.
Daphne, like lavender, is famous for its beautiful scent and would make a welcome addition to any garden.
They are typically grown in beds and borders to provide texture and colour, and the smaller, alpine species can also thrive in patio containers. We recommend that you keep them close to pathways and patios, which will allow you to enjoy the beautiful fragrant scent produced during the winter and spring months.
Daphne are certainly one of the most attractive-looking shrubs on our list and will display beautiful pink flowers, set off nicely by the glossy, yellow-edged leaves.
10. Abelia X Grandiflora
We think abelia is an underrated shrub amongst the gardening community.
It is a semi-evergreen shrub that can give months of interest with its attractive colours and light, fragrant scent.
It is medium in size, growing up to 3 metres in height, and has small, glossy, oval leaves and clusters of pale pink flowers.
An added bonus is that abelias are extremely resistant to pests and disease.
They are best grown in sheltered areas that receive plenty of sunlight, so position them in a south-facing corner of the garden and you’ll be rewarded with a stunning low-maintenance shrub that will certainly catch the eye for a large part of the year.
There is nothing to be ashamed of in opting to create a garden that is as low maintenance as possible, particularly when some of the most stunning shrubs happen to be low maintenance, too.
We believe that a garden should be something that’s enjoyed, not a place of work, and by carefully selecting low-maintenance shrubs and plants, you’ll create a garden that not only requires very little of your precious spare time, but one that will look amazing all year round.
Besides planting low-maintenance shrubs, there are many other ways in which you can make your garden as low maintenance as possible.
In recent years, artificial grass has become very popular, even amongst traditional gardeners. If you are considering having an artificial lawn, then why not request your free samples and see for yourself just how amazingly realistic our fake grass products are?
Which of the shrubs included on our list is your favourite? Is there anything that you feel we should have included, but didn’t?
Let us know in the comments section, below.