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18 Beautiful, Easy to Maintain Flowers & Plants for Lazy Gardeners (PLUS: Tips for a Low Maintenance Garden!)

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18 Beautiful, Easy to Maintain Flowers & Plants for Lazy Gardeners (PLUS: Tips for a Low Maintenance Garden!)

If watching Ground Force as a child led you to believe that gardening is a terribly difficult pastime that involves lots of heavy lifting and a flagrant disregard for underwear, chances are you've been put off the pursuit for life (and also regularly have nightmares about water features).

However, it needn't be as tricky as you might think. There are lots of low maintenance plants that will look gorgeous with little to no effort required. Plus, believe it or not, the world of gardening advice is filled with myths that make it appear harder than it really is. For instance, water droplets will almost certainly not burn your plants. (Click here to find out more – and for some more gardening myths debunked.)

We promise that we won't spout any myths, though – just show you some plants that will reap maximum rewards for minimum effort!

Shrubs

Acting as a fantastic shelter for wildlife and also providing structure to your garden, shrubs are a great low maintenance choice. Consider picking a mixture of shrubs that produce flowers, berries and a range of colours in their foliage to add interest.

1. Azalea

Find a spot with dappled shade and moist soil and your azalea will be happy to look after itself until next spring. Then you'll need to put down some mulch, and remove flower deadheads when you see them if you'd like to encourage new growth. Azaleas also require acid soil to grow healthily; here is a complete guide to growing Azaleas.

AzaleaImage credit: Kurt Stüber

2. Heather

Though this plant will require a little investment at the beginning, needing watering twice a week in order to grow big and strong, after a year or two heather can look after itself, thanks very much. A bonus point is that they are pretty drought resistant – great for when hosepipe ban season looms. Find out more about heather here. Again, depending on the type of heather you may need to use acid so do your research in advance.

3. Lavender

Aside from the glorious scent, lavender also looks incredibly pretty with its purple/blue (sometimes even white) flowers. Prune it immediately after flowering and provide a spot with good drainage, and your lavender will thank you with its incredible ability to withstand even the sunniest of areas and poor soil.

Bulbs

From daffodils to tulips, bulbs are varied and a joyful addition to any garden. To ensure that your bulbs transform into beautiful flowers, make sure that the tip of the bulb is facing upwards when you plant, and check how far down you should place it in the soil depending on the species.

4. Crocus

With a range of gorgeous colours including blues, yellows and even striped petals, crocuses are hardly little things that can even pop their heads up when there's snow on the ground. Place them in your borders around two bulb widths apart from one another, or for a more natural look drop a handful of bulbs onto your lawn from waist height and plant them where they land. Click here for more.

CrocusImage credit: Meneerke bloem

5. Spring Bulb Iris

If you've got poor soil in your garden, these little beauties will be your best friend. Pop your iris (spring bulbs not to be confused with perennial iris which require different conditions) into a large hole, and add some stones for good measure. Then just leave them to it! Here is a handy guide to growing an Iris as well as a guide to the different varieties available.

6. Snowdrops

When snowdrops emerge we know that spring is on its way, so they're a great way to introduce some floral beauty as early in the season as possible. Find a moist, partly-shaded spot for your plants, and leave them to die back on their own when flowering is over. Click here for some excellent tips on getting the most from your snowdrops.

SnowdropsImage credit: Ian Kirk

Climbers

A particular favourite in small gardens, climbing plants take up little space on the ground and are great for adding interest to walls and fences. Some will require supports to ensure that they climb where you want them to, but others cling on their own without any assistance from the gardener.

7. Ivy

Is your garden wall in need of a lick of paint? For a quick and easy solution, plant some ivy instead. The plant will happily cover your wall rapidly, perhaps even within a season depending on the height. Ivy requires very little watering and loves the shade, so avoid spots which get too much direct sun. It is also good at providing ground cover.

8. Climbing hydrangea

Climbing hydrangeas love the shade and are best suited to well drained but moist soils and a reasonably cool environment. So long as you position your hydrangea somewhere where it is protected from the cold winds of winter and too much direct sun during the winter, it should grow very healthily.

HydrangeaImage credit: Meneerke Bloem

9. Jasmine

The heady fragrance from jasmine plants is delicious, and with options available for both winter and summer flowering, you can enjoy it for most of the year. You can usually get away without watering your plant, though it might need the odd drink during dry spells.

Annuals

Though they'll only last for one year, annual plants are excellent if you require an instant burst of colour. Keeping a spot reserved for annual plants so that you can change the variety each year will ensure your garden always looks fresh.

10. Sunflowers

Growing up to 14 feet in height, sunflowers offer interest to your garden and are easy to care for to boot. Grow yours in a sheltered spot – next to a wall is perfect – and ensure that they'll have plenty of sun. This guide to caring for sunflowers is particularly helpful.

11. Petunias

Petunia seeds need to be grown under glass from February-April, so if you want a truly low maintenance option then it's best to get young plants and plant them straight into the ground in June. Choose either pots, hanging baskets or a spot in your flowerbed.

PetuniasImage credit: Flagstaffotos

12. Zinnias

With orange, white, red, pink and pale green colour options to choose from, zinnias are a gorgeous addition to any garden. They're something of a butterfly magnet, too, so if you're looking for a wildlife haven in your yard, zinnias are a great choice. To ensure your flowers look their best, fertilise them once a month.

Grasses

Suitable for both containers and flowerbeds, grasses require very little care indeed and provide great contrast to other plants. No matter what sort of soil you have, and whether you want to put the plant in a shady or sunny area, there's a grass plant that will be perfect for your needs.

13. Stipa tenuissima

Though its name is a bit of a mouthful, this grass – also known as Mexican feather grass and Texas needle grass – doesn't take much looking after, and the tendrils create a gorgeous cloud-like effect with the green summer foliage turning golden in the autumn. Simply prune in the autumn to care for your plant. Click here for some more information.

stipa tenacissimaImage credit: Xemenendura

14. Bowles' golden sedge

The dark green leaves of this grass are edged with white, and it will do well in full sun or partial shade. Pop it at the front of a border, or next to a pond. Click here to find out more.

15. Pheasant grass

With arching leaves that sport attractive, reddish brown flowers, this plant is frost hardy and requires very little care. To get rid of dead foliage, run your fingers through the leaves and tease the dead ones out.

Perennials

If you are after a low maintenance garden, you will certainly want to include some perennials in the mix. A perennial is a plant which will last more than two years, which of course means less re-planting and more enjoying what is already there.

16. Hardy Geraniums

Even in shade, these gorgeous flowers provide great ground cover and stop weeds in their tracks, as well as offering a beautiful display of brightly coloured petals in pink, blue, violet and magenta. Thanks to their wild nature, you'll need to do very little to keep them happy – simply ensure they're watered weekly during dry spells.

GeraniumsImage credit: Brew Books

Bedding plants

Opt for a symmetrical pattern for a formal look, or try an informal approach for something a little more wild. In either case, bedding plants can cheer up your garden with bright colours, and if chosen wisely can cheer up lazy gardeners too thanks to their low maintenance requirements.

17. Fuchsias

It would be easy to mistake these beautiful flowers for fairies in pretty dresses, but despite their exotic appearance fuchsias are decidedly low maintenance. Simply pinch out while the plant is young to encourage new growth, and pop in some liquid fertiliser monthly. Fuchsias are particularly happy in hanging baskets – all the better to see those beautiful skirts!

FruchiasImage credit: Peter Clarke

18. Marigolds

These cheerful flowers will do well in a sunny spot, and the petals can be wonderful in salads. Their scent can be useful in deterring pests, and they love poor soil – double bonus points there! Tall growing marigolds should be spaced about two-three feet apart, whereas lower growing types are best spaced at a foot apart. This article offers some more in depth advice on marigold care.

Tips for a low maintenance garden

Of course, the types of plants that you opt for are not the only influence on how much time your garden will take out of your week. Check out our tips below for an easy life.

1. Keep it together

This is a real time saver, and one for truly lazy gardeners. Place all of your pots together so that you can water them all at once!

2. Automatic watering

During the summer, let's face it – watering the plants can become a bore. If the advice above about gathering your pots together still doesn't make watering them any more appealing, consider installing an automated watering system that will do the job for you.

3. Fence or hedge?

Though hedges require clipping annually, walls and fences aren't without their maintenance requirements, needing painting or treating regularly, so decide which job you dislike the least and go with that. Of course, ivy could help you out with an unsightly fence (see above).

Hedge TrimmingImage credit: Aidan

4. Go wild

If you've got your heart set on a lawn, why not cultivate a wildflower meadow? (Hint: this pretty much involves leaving the lawn to its own devices, though it can take a while to get established – click here.) As well as being able to enjoy a more natural looking garden, you'll also be doing your local wildlife population a favour, as they'll have a lovely new spot to call home.

5. Plan, plan, plan

While planning out your garden carefully may take some time, it will be well worth it. Placing your plants wisely from the start will help to minimise problems later on, as happy plants will mean less maintenance.

6. Relax!

It's important to have realistic expectations of your low maintenance garden – while it can certainly look beautiful and be a lovely place to spend an afternoon, it's not going to resemble the painstakingly cared-for lawns of a stately home. However, you will definitely have more time to spend enjoying its beauty with a cold drink!

 

Featured image credit: Troy Tolley

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