Best low maintenance plants: 50 fuss-free growers for your plot
Choose the best low maintenance plants for a simple gardening solution, leaving you more time to relax in your beautiful plot
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Looking for the best low maintenance plants so you can get the most out of your space with minimal effort? After all, gardens are for relaxing in, so if you don’t have a lot of spare time, you’ll want plants that are easy to look after.
If you find that every summer becomes an endless loop of watering, weeding and dead-heading, it could be time to step back and look at how to make your garden more hassle free. Choosing the best low maintenance plants means you can have an outdoor space where you can unwind, instead of keeping on top of endless chores. With a few easy plant choices, you can transform your garden into more of a relaxation zone.
Opt for plants that are hassle free, will bounce back if you neglect them and quietly do their own thing for months on end. Evergreens tend to be a good choice as they add year-round interest and as long as you give them a quick tidy with the secateurs every now and then, won’t get out of control.
In this epic list of 50 of the best low maintenance plants, you can choose from edibles, climbers, container varieties and wildlife-friendly picks, all of which will ensure your low maintenance garden ideas not only look good but are easy to look after too.
The best low maintenance plants: 50 easy options
To help you get inspired for your plot, we've chosen our favorite options for the best low maintenance plants so you can add them to your planting list.
Buddleja davidii ‘Sugar Plum’ is a new undemanding shrub bearing deep pinkish-red flowers on a low-growing plant that is attractive to a wide range of butterflies and bees. Remove faded flowers to encourage more repeat blooms. Plant in sun or partial shade. Height: 3m.
You'll find more of the best bee friendly plants in our guide.
Hellebore species and hybrids are a welcome source of food for bees early in the year. They are one of the best plants for winter pots too, providing a good splash of color in the colder months.
Grow in shade and add lots of organic matter when planting. Trim the away the old leaves in winter before the new flowers appear. Height: 50cm.
3. Phacelia tanacetifolia
Not just for the bees, phacelia attracts many other beneficial insects such as lacewings and ladybirds. The faded stems can be dug in to improve your soil. Sow seeds from March to June in a sunny, well-drained patch. Height: 45cm.
4. Malus sargentii ‘Tina’
The blossom of this white-flowering crab apple is adored by bees, and birds devour the red fruit in autumn. A lovely slow-growing dwarf variety, it's one of the best trees for small gardens and is suitable for both borders or containers, and will do well in both sun or partial shade. Height: 2m.
5. Rosa ‘Scarborough Fair’
If you've been reading our guide on how to grow roses and are now looking for the perfect variety for your plot, this very pretty bushy shrub rose with clusters of cup-shaped pink blooms is a good one to try.
It has a classic Old Rose scent and offers good resistance to black spot. Tough and reliable, it's a smart choice for your selection of the best low maintenance plants. Height: 1m.
6. Cobaea scandens
An ideal gap-filler and happy in a shady spot, the cup-and-saucer vine is a quick-growing annual that will romp against your garden wall ideas or a metal arch. Sow seeds in May or buy plugs online or from your local garden center that can be planted straight out in the garden. Height: 3m.
7. Clematis Urophylla ‘Winter Beauty’
If you've been considering growing winter clematis, you might want to add this variety to your shopping list.
Small, waxy bell flowers stand out against evergreen foliage from December to February, bringing welcome flowers and foliage to a winter garden. Plant in free-draining soil in a sunny, sheltered spot. Height: 3m.
8. Campsis radicans
Another great option for the best low maintenance plants, particularly as it's fast growing. The trumpet vine will provide fast cover against a sunny arbour or can be used as part of your pergola ideas to soften the look of a garden structure.
It is drought tolerant and has a self-clinging habit. Prune in late winter for best results. Height: 8-12m.
9. Iris ‘Superstition’
Bearded irises are a must-have for your cottage garden ideas, with elegant flowers that appear towards the end of spring, around May. Plant in full sun where the rhizome is not shaded by other plants. Height: 90cm.
10. Anemone x hybrida
Japanese anemones are an undemanding perennial flowering reliably in late summer, with pretty blooms in pink shades or white. They're not particularly fussy about where they are planted in your flowerbed ideas, which is what makes them such a good option for the best low maintenance plants. Height: 1.5m.
11. Agapanthus ‘Northern Star’
This deciduous variety is the hardiest, a real trooper. It has large, deep-blue heads appearing on tall stems. For the best flowers, plant this variety in full sun where it will reward you with beautiful blooms. Height: 60cm.
You'll find plenty more expert tips on how to grow agapanthus in our guide.
12. Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’
This variety produces masses of flowers on tall stems for a long period from late spring to autumn. It performs best when planted in a sunny spot in well-drained soil. Height: 90cm.
13. Geranium ‘Ballerina’
This compact hardy geranium is dwarf variety that forms mounds of silvery foliage and small, pink-veined flowers that keep coming in summer. Grow in pots or well-drained soil in sun or partial shade. Height: 15cm.
You can find more planting advice on how to grow hardy geraniums in our guide.
14. Verbascum chaixii ‘Album’
Short-lived these may be, but verbascums are worthy garden plants for their tall spikes over a long period. Ideal for a sunny spot in free-draining soil, they're a great way to add some height to your garden borders. Height: 1.5m.
Commonly called elephant’s ears, this tough ground-cover plant tolerates exposed spots, but does best in moist, well-drained soil. Spikes of magenta, pink or white flowers appear in spring. Height and spread: 1x1m.
You can find more of the best ground cover plants in our guide.
16. Euphorbia myrsinites
Blue spurge is a drought-tolerant evergreen, which has interesting silver succulent stems that hug the ground, tipped with lime-green flowers in spring.
One thing you do need to be aware of is that the sap causes skin irritation, so it's best to wear gloves when handling this addition to our best low maintenance plants list. Height and spread: 10x50cm
Nepeta (also know as cat mint) is a brilliant choice if you're after the best edging plants for your low maintenance garden. It's a ground-covering plant with pretty blue flowers and grey foliage that prefers free-draining soil. Shear back after flowering. It's also one of the best plants for beginners. Height and spread: 1mx45cm.
Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’ is an evergreen shrub offering mats of weed-proof cover. Look out for gold-leaved ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold’. Height and spread: 1x1.5m.
19. Rosa 'Flower Carpet'
A striking, low-growing rose that is both long-flowering and resilient – a great combination of qualities when you're searching for the best low maintenance plants. It's particularly suited for sloping garden ideas or for planting on banks. Height and spread: 60x90cm.
20. Candelabra primula
These plants relish damp conditions, thriving in full sun. The tall stems carry whorls of flowers in bright jewel colors in early summer. Height: 1m.
A must-have for a damp spot, astilbes throw up plumes of tiny flowers that come in vibrant or pastel colors, so you can find a suitable shade to suit your garden color schemes. A reliable perennial for a semi-shaded spot. Height: 30cm.
22. Hosta ‘June’
The under-storey beneath trees and shrubs is perfect for hostas. If you always struggle with how to get rid of slugs from your garden, make sure you look for varieties listed as ‘slug resistant’, such as this one. The variegated heart-shaped leaves stand out in borders. Height: 50cm.
23. Ligularia PrzewalskiI
Appropriately named golden ray due to its tall spires of yellow flowerheads in the height of summer, this low maintenance perennial is the answer if your soil is permanently wet or squelchy. Prefers sun or semi-shade. Height: 2.5m.
Pulmonaria (Lungwort) is a versatile evergreen perennial with spotted, stripy or silver leaves, and red, pink or white flowers from late winter to late spring. Height and spread: 60cmx1.2m
25. Pachysandra terminalis
This evergreen makes a great ground cover option. White flowers appear above glossy leaves in summer. Suitable for all spots except for very dry soils. Height and spread: 50cmx1m.
26. Epimedium X perralchicum ‘Fröhnleiten’
A useful ground-cover plant for a partially shaded spot, with pretty yellow flowers in spring that lighten a dull corner. The attractive, heart-shaped leaves occasionally remain evergreen. Height and spread: 40x60cm.
In need of more inspiration for the parts of your plot that don't get much sun? Our shade garden ideas offer plenty of ways to make the most of any shady corners.
27. Mahonia aquifolium ‘Apollo’
An excellent shrub with yellow, sweetly scented flowers that will fill an enclosed part of the garden in winter. This variety is well behaved and won’t grow too tall. Height and spread: 1x1.5m.
28. Choisya X dewitteana ‘Aztec Pearl’
This bushy evergreen is on our best low maintenance plants list as it comes into its own in early summer, when pretty fragrant flowers appear. Drought tolerant (so you won't need to spend hours watering plants), it thrives in full sun. Height: 2.5m.
29. Fatsia japonica
This architectural shrub is one of the simplest best tropical plants to grow and is perfect for giving your plot a jungle look and feel. It has large, shiny palmate leaves that reflect light in dark spaces. Likes partial or full shade. Height: 3m.
30. Hebe ‘Heartbreaker’
A bushy evergreen that is slow growing and needs no pruning, which is a key factor for many gardeners when choosing the best low maintenance plants for their plot.
Grey-green and cream leaves turn a striking red in winter, adding a splash of color on grey, overcast days. For best results, plant in a sheltered spot. Height: 1m.
32. Nandina domestica
With its spectacular red berries, Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo) is a handsome plant that won’t encroach on its neighbors. White flower sprays precede the red berries. Best planted in full sun. Height: 1.5m
33. Redcurrant ‘Red Lake’
One of these bushes is all you need for a good harvest during summer. This reliable variety has large berries in summer (around July), and the fruit are perfect for adding to summer puddings, jams and fruit salads. Best planted in a sunny, sheltered spot, although it will also tolerate some shade. Height: 1.5m.
34. Kale ‘Redbor’
If you're looking for some of the best low maintenance plants to add to your vegetable plot, then you might want to consider learning how to grow kale.
This particular variety is vigorous and versatile. You can either harvest it at baby leaf stage or allow it to mature for winter pickings. Sow from March to July. Height: 1.2m
35. Alpine strawberry
Grow this as a spreading ground cover plant alongside your garden path ideas and you can simply pick the small tasty fruits as you pass. Delicious! Easy to grow from seed or propagate from runners. It prefers free-draining fertile soil. Height: 15cm.
36. French bean ‘Purple Teepee’
If you grow one tender crop in your raised garden bed ideas, choose dwarf French beans. They relish hot weather and don’t need staking. Sow from March to July at three week intervals. Variety shown is ‘Purple Teepee’. Height: 45cm.
There's more expert tips on how to grow French beans in our grow your own guide.
37. Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’
Stately, deciduous golden variegated arching foliage that forms a low mound in borders. For the best leaf color, grow in sun or partial shade, in well-drained fertile soil. Height: 50cm.
38. Stipa gigantea
If you're keen to learn how to grow ornamental grasses and want a low maintenance option, then you'll want to add this evergreen grass to your list. It will create a long-standing display from June until autumn, bearing golden oat-like flowers. It's happiest when planted in free-draining soil in a sunny spot. Height: 2m.
Carex are sedges, so they are robust and easy going plants that form mounds of strappy pointed variegated leaves. The variety ‘Ice Dance’ (shown) is ideal as ground cover. Suitable for sun or shade and unfussy about soil. Height: 30cm.
40. Miscanthus sinensis
The low maintenance grass makes a handsome feature planted beside perennials. Popular varieties include ‘Malepatus’ (shown) with red flowerheads and ‘Zebrinus’ with bright green leaves splashed with gold. Shouuld be planted in free draining soil in a sunny spot. Height: 2m
41. Sempervivum ‘Sunsparklers Dream Dazzler’
The newly introduced succulent has shocking pink leaf edges and deep pink flowers in summer. Make a striking feature for your patio gardening ideas by grouping potted succulents on a table. Height: 15cm.
Add this option from the best low maintenance plants list to your garden and you'll be rewarded with spectacular spring flowers. It also has glossy green foliage that will form a useful backdrop to other flowers in the garden. If your soil is alkaline, your best option for how to grow camellias is to plant them in a large pot of ericaceous compost. Height: 2m.
Popular for its architectural foliage effects, New Zealand flax is an excellent choice for container gardening ideas. Choose from colorful variegated forms, reddish purple, bronze or ‘Black Adder’ (shown). Height: 1.5m.
44. Buxus sempervirens
Easy to maintain, box is a useful way to create a formal theme on a terrace or for your patio ideas. Buy as a ready clipped ‘ball’ or create more intricate topiary shapes if time allows. Height: 45cm.
A super low maintenance evergreen, heuchera come in a vast array of leaf colors and are suitable for borders and containers, ground cover and even hanging basket ideas. Ideal in sun or partial shade. Watch out for vine weevil as the adults will eat the leaves and the grubs will feed on the roots over winter. Height: 50cm.
There are so many reasons why lavender is a great option if you're searching for the best low maintenance plants. It's hardy, drought tolerant, smells wonderful when you brush past it and bees absolutely love it!
Some of our favorite options for how to grow lavender are to plant it in groups of three or as an informal hedge. Once established, additional watering is unnecessary. Trim in September. Height: 1m.
47. Cistus ‘Silver Pink’
Cistus are a good choice for the difficult, dry spot and are guaranteed to flower for months. Typically problem-free, they flower best in full sun. Height: 1m.
A year-round feature, Yucca gloriosa ‘Variegata’ is a sculptural evergreen with stiff cream and gold leaves, that produces a magnificent flower spike of white bell-shaped flowers in summer. Height: 2m.
49. Phlomis fruticosa
In early summer erect shoots with hooded deep yellow flowers in whorls appear up the stem. Leave the dried seed heads intact for winter interest. Height: 1m.
You'll find more of the best plants for seed heads in our guide.
Sea holly is a tough, coastal plant that can withstand wind and poor soil and won't require extra watering. They thrive in full sun and are happiest in free-draining soil. Look out for ‘Big Blue’ or silvery ‘Miss Wilmott’s Ghost’. Height: 75cm.
Now you've found the best low maintenance plants for your plot, you might want to check out our best budget plants if you're also after some low-cost gardening ideas to smarten up your plot.
Teresa has worked as an Editor on a number of gardening magazines for three years now. So she is lucky enough to see and write about gardening across all sizes, budgets and abilities. She recently moved into her first home and the garden is a real project! Currently she is relishing planning her own design and planting schemes. What she is most passionate about when it comes to gardening are the positive effects it has on our mental health to grow and care for plants, as well as being great for the environment too and help provide food and shelter for wildlife.
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