Low Maintenance Plants

Consider Plant’s Mature Size When Choosing Low-Maintenance Plants

by Mike Dooley

When picking plants that are classified as low maintenance, many gardeners look to insect-and disease-resistance as their only criteria. But choosing the right plant for the space is also important.

For an example, a low-maintenance plant placed under a window that is three feet off the ground is not such a great idea if the plant, at maturity, will attain twice that height. In this situation, you’ve inadvertently increased your maintenance work by picking a plant that naturally gets too large for the area. If your thought is “just trim it,” think of what you have done by creating a lifetime of trimming!

So, what do we do? Select plants that are resistant to insects and disease, but also mature at the desired height. By doing so, we have done three things. First, we have reduced our maintenance. Second, we have maintained our plants with that “natural look.“ Third, we have saved our marriage (whose hubby really wants another pruning job?).

The following is a list of recommended plants grouped by size and application:

Shrubs that will not block your view of the mountains: Texas Sage, Blue Mist Gulf Stream, Nandina, Baccharis (“Starn”), Abelia, Upright Rosemary, Parney Cotoneaster, Fern Bush.

Shrubs that will not block your window view: Potentilla, Dwarf Indian Hawthorn, Crimson Pygmy Barberry, Turpentine Bush, Prostrate Rosemary, Dwarf Junipers.

Plants to screen junk cars, motor homes, and that ugly storage building: Wichita Blue Junipers, Spartan Junipers, Eleagnus, Purple plum, Washington Hawthorn, Dwarf Crape Myrtle, Rose of Sharon, Lilac.

Happy Gardening!