Garden Plants-Which Plants?

This is the low-maintenance guide to low-maintenance plants. Rather than reel off loads to choose from, i've put some different categories below and in each category i've selected five of the best plants. Where those plants are meant to go together in a scheme, i've made sure they'll combine nicely and put the largest ones first in the list (they'll go at the back). So you can take any of these lists and (depending on the size of your garden) buy threes or fives or tens of each of the plants to make a stunning low-maintenance garden.


Plants-Lowest of the low:   These are the plants you can just put in and leave; at most all they'll need is a once-a-year trim.

1) Mexican orange blossom- Evergreen with white flowers in summer.

2) Oregon grape- Evergreen with yellow  scented flowers in winter

3) Box- It's greater to make shapes out of this evergreen - the play dough of the garden.

4) Black lily turf- It looks like black grass and will slowly spread to cover an area ground-cover plant.

5) Bugle- Beautiful purple flowers i summer on a spreading evergreen ground-cover plant.


Winter plants:   If you really want to make sure your garden looks good in winter try these.

1) Mexican orange blossom- Evergreen with white flowers in summer.

2) Dogwood- The stems of these plants come in brilliant reds, purples and yellow which make a great display in winter.

3) Daphne- Early flowering with delicate pink flowers.

4) Bugle- Evergreen spreading plant that will cover the ground with shiny dark leaves.

5) Snowdrops- White flowers in January and February.


Low-maintenance arrangement that changes through the seasons:   If you want things coming and going at different times of the year.

1) Tussock grass- This tall grass will come up through summer and its bronze seedheads will stay well into winter.

2) Japanese anemones- Tall flowers from August through to end of September.

3) Elephant's ears- These are evergreen and flowers in the depths of winter.

4) Lily turf- Evergreen grass-like plant which flowers in autumn.

5) Snowdrops- These fill the gap between the dead of winter and spring.

Garden plantsCredit: wikimedia

Arhitectural plants for instant impact:   You probably don't need to choose more than one plant from this list to make a statement in the garden, especially if you buy it big.

1) New zealand flax- A bold of strappy leaves. The purple ones look great against a light background.

2) Century plant- This spiky plant is not very hardy so only try it if you have a sheltered spot, but it makes a striking statement in a modern setting.

3) Pittosporum- Evergreen with interesting shapes to its leaves and scented flowers.

4) Stag's horn sumach- This has great autumn colour and a sculptural shape in winter, just right for a single, centrepiece plant.

5) Cabbage palm- Spiky leaves from a central point make this look like an explosion of colour in a light setting.


Using one type of plant over a large area:    A great way to keep the maintenance down and to look stylish is to use 10, 20 or more of just one type of plant.

1) Lavender- You do need to trim this once a year but it has many benefits.

2) Dogwood- These look like nice enough shrubs in summer, but in winter they have crazy coloured stems.

3) Pheasant's tail grass- Evergreen with coppery foliage in autumn and through winter.

4) Golden male fern- An evergreen for a shady spot, it grows to about half a metre.


Drought-resistant plants:   If your soil is poor or watering is your least favorite job, try these.

1) Butterfly bush- Th one called "Black Knight" has dark flowers in summer which smell divine.

2) Bear's breeches- Tall stately plant with purple and white spikes of summer flowers.

3) Yarrow- These come in shades of yellows and reds and flower in late summer.

4) Lady's mantle- Yellow flowers above soft green leaves.

5) Bugle- Evergreen ground cover with purple flowers in early summer.


The most useful plants:  Some of the plants appear more than once on these lists - these are the real winner in a low-maintenance garden. One tall, one medium and one ground cover - Mexican orange blossom, Dogwood and Bugle are the winners!