If want a colorful yard every year, combined with low maintenance, perennials are the way to go because they come back to life every season without any effort from you.
However, before you go on a plant buying spree, make a plan of your yard and determine what you need based on grade and the amount of sunlight each portion of your yard receives daily. Some low maintenance shrubs and plants do well in sunlight, while others prefer mostly shade.
Understand, perennials return year after year so you are stuck with what you plant for a while, unless you really hate it and end up ripping all of them up after a year. So take some time to really think about the type of shrub or flowering plant you want in your lawn.
In this article, I will discuss four of the more popular low maintenance flowering bushes and shrubs in the southeastern part of the United States. All of these listed below will do well in warmer climates.
Hostas are leafy plants that come in many different patterns and colors, not just the leafy green ones you are probably used to seeing. They are probably more common in parts of the southern United States than any other plant.
Hostas are also incredibly easy to grow, even if you have the opposite of a green thumb, and are considered an excellent ground cover if you are interested in replacing some of those grassy areas.
One interesting fact about hosta is that it is a particular favorite of wildlife. So if you live in an out of the way area, this can either be a pain or a pleasure. If you like to avoid critters and deer in your vicinity, you will need to have a fenced in area wherever wildlife is present else they will eat it all up. However, if you like to feed animals, they will certainly eat all of the hosta you leave out for them.
Care and Maintenance Tips for Hosta
Hostas prefer to be in shady areas away from the sun so they are an excellent border around trees or the boundaries of a walking path.
After you plant your hosta, put down a layer of compost or mulch around the base each spring to help retain moisture. Hosta requires no maintenance throughout the year until the first frost at which time you should cut it down to about two inches above the ground.
As the years pass, hosta will get very large. After several years, you should divide each plant by splitting it down the middle through the root bulb, then replant it.
Azaleas are native to several continents including Asia, Europe and North America. They are somewhat of a tradition in the southeastern portion of the United States where every year around the first week in April, home lawns blooms with varying colors of azaleas. They are a great choice for a front yard landscaping ideas.
The azalea actually has a negative history because of its toxicity. The leaves, nectar and honey from inside the bulbs are toxic to humans but are more likely to poison animals if they ingest any part of the plant. Typical reaction includes vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. With Credit: mjpyrothe proper treatment from a Doctor or Vet, victims usually recover without further complications.
In ancient time, if someone sent you parts of its flower in a black vase, it was considered a death threat.
Care and Maintenance Tips for Azaleas
Azaleas grow slowly and will not bloom the first year you plant them. They do best in well-drained soil.
They should be pruned regularly to prevent disease, particularly in the early spring when leafy gall is most common. If necessary, use a fungal spray if discoloration appears on leaves and petals. You should also inspect for root rot all through the year.
Azaleas prefer shady areas but can tolerate a moderate amount of sunlight. After planting, place mulch all around the root to keep moisture in the ground.
Purple Smoke Bushes
These bushes grow straight up to about 15 feet tall and about that wide also. However, if you want something a little more tame, you can keep them cut back each year to a manageable height or form.
Many homeowners use these colorful bushes as property dividers or for privacy since they can get so big. And because they are a perennial, they will bloom each year while growing on average a foot or more, depending on the moisture and sunlight in the area.
Best of all, in the fall, the leaves tend to turn almost orange while still retaining shades of their purple.
Care and Maintenance Tips for Purple Smoke Bushes
Since these bushes will eventually get so big, it helps to dig a hole as deep as the root ball and twice as wide when initially planting them. After packing dirt around the root ball, water it thoroughly then apply mulch over the root to keep the moisture in place.
If you plan on keeping the bush pruned back, it will require more maintenance to keep it in shape.
If you plan on letting it run wild, the only thing you need to look for periodically is diseased leaves that look like they may have fungus on them. To combat fungal diseases and other pests, prune the bad areas then use a commercial pesticide sprays
Now, for my personal favorite, hydrangeas. Hydrangeas are typically about 5 – 10 feet but some varieties can get as tall as a small tree.
Hydrangeas have two types of flower arrangements.
- Mophead flowers are large round flower heads resembling pom-poms.
- Lacecap flowers are round, flat flower heads with a center core flowers surrounded by outer rings of still more flowers.
One of the easiest types to grow in your yard is called Annabel, or sometimes known as snowball bush. You have probably seen these types whether you realize it or not. They have big puffy white flower head in the early summer that slowly turn green.
Another type of hydrangea is called Invincible Spirit which feature pink flowery heads and grow in the same manner as Annabel.
Care and Maintenance Tips for Hydrangeas
The only maintenance involved with these types of hydrangeas is cutting them back in the spring. Annabel grows in either sunny or shady areas making it a versatile choice for any home.
Hydrangeas should be pruned from time to time and all dead stems should be removed each year. Once the plants is established after several years, you should cut down about a 1/3 of the older stems all the way to the ground during the summer months to help bring out the plant.
If the plant starts to become larger than you would like, it is best to cut it back in mid-summer so that you do not harm the following year’s bloom.
At some point in just about every adult’s life, they become sick of yard work. While there may be a few out there that still find it enjoying, if you are like me, the thought of cutting a large yard every week or maintaining tightly cut shrubbery is less than exciting. Low maintenance plants are one solution.
Planting the right type of plants and shrubs around your house can reduce the amount of time you spend doing things you do not like and allow for more times for the things you do. Make a plan and decide what you need and where you need it. Perhaps you want more privacy without adding a fence, or perhaps you want to reduce the amount of grass area you have to cut.
Either way, draw it out and take note of the sunlight in each area. Use this article as a basis for planning out what should go where. Then you can sit back and watch all of your hard work bloom year after year.
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