Woodie's Picks: Best Low-Maintenance Plants In The Landscape

Woodie's Picks: Best Low-Maintenance Plants In The Landscape

Jun 10, 2024

As we dive into the heat of summer, with hectic schedules that never seem to slow down, the last thing you want in the landscape is something that requires a ton of care and attention. That's why for this week of Woodie's Picks, Woodie's chosen to highlight four of his favorite low-maintenance plants in the summer landscape!

Keep reading this blog to learn from the expert himself on what trees, shrubs, and perennials are perfect for you busy folks who are always on the go!

Low-Maintenance Bloomers For Your Summer Garden

yellow Hypericum calycinum flowers

St. John's Wort

Hypericum calycinum, commonly known as Aaron's Beard or St. John's Wort, is a versatile and hardy evergreen ground cover that offers numerous benefits to the landscape. This low-growing shrub, which typically reaches heights of 12 to 18 inches, is well-known for its vibrant, yellow, five-petaled flowers that bloom endlessly from late spring to early summer.

The plant's dark green foliage provides year-round interest and serves as an excellent backdrop for other garden plants. Its dense growth habit effectively suppresses weeds, reducing the need for chemical herbicides and manual weeding, thus contributing to a more sustainable garden environment and saving the gardener hours of precious time.

Additionally, Hypericum calycinum is drought-tolerant and thrives in various soil conditions, making it an ideal choice for busy homeowners who strive for a low-maintenance landscape.

In addition to its aesthetic appeal, Hypericum calycinum offers several ecological benefits. Its bright yellow flowers attract pollinators such as honeybees and butterflies, enhancing biodiversity in the garden. The plant's robust root system helps prevent soil erosion on slopes and embankments, making it a valuable addition to erosion control projects or areas that are hard to mow.

The evergreen nature of Hypericum calycinum ensures year-round ground cover that provides shelter and habitat for beneficial insects and small wildlife. Its ability to thrive in both full sun and partial shade allows for flexible placement in the landscape, from borders and rock gardens to woodland edges. Overall, Hypericum calycinum is a resilient and attractive ground cover that supports the garden's aesthetic and ecological health.

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A Word From Woodie

Hypericum calycinum is a gardener's dream come true. It offers vibrant yellow blooms and lush evergreen foliage that effortlessly enhance garden aesthetics while requiring minimal maintenance. This is a must-have plant if you want to enjoy your landscape more and work in it less.

russian sage low maintenance summer perennial

Russian Sage

Perovskia atriplicifolia, commonly known as Russian Sage, is a striking perennial that brings a touch of elegance and resilience to any landscape. This plant is cherished for its tall, wispy stems adorned with silvery-green foliage and massive spires of small, lavender-blue flowers that bloom from mid-summer to early fall.

Russian Sage's airy and open habit adds a sense of movement and texture to garden designs, making it a perfect companion for other perennials and ornamental grasses. It thrives in full sun and well-drained soil, exhibiting excellent drought tolerance once established. Its robust nature and minimal maintenance requirements make Perovskia atriplicifolia an ideal choice for low-water and xeriscape gardens, where it can reduce the need for supplemental irrigation.

Beyond its visual appeal, Perovskia atriplicifolia offers several ecological benefits that enhance the health and sustainability of the landscape. Its abundant blooms are a magnet for pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, thereby supporting local biodiversity and aiding in pollinating nearby plants.

Russian Sage also possesses natural pest resistance, and deer resistance, reducing the need for chemical treatments and promoting a healthier garden environment. Its deep root system also helps stabilize soil and prevent erosion, particularly in sloped or rocky areas. Whether used in mass plantings, mixed borders, or as a focal point, Perovskia atriplicifolia provides year-round interest and contributes to a vibrant, thriving garden ecosystem.

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A Word From Woodie

"I have found that planting Russian Sage behind shorter perennials and evergreens in the mixed border created a stunning layered effect. Its tall, wispy stems and lavender-blue flowers provide a beautiful backdrop to the more compact blooms in front. This arrangement not only added depth and dimension to the garden but also ensured that Russian Sage's vibrant color and airy texture are prominently displayed, enhancing the overall visual appeal."

Easy Care Evergreens

hicks yew low maintenance evergreen hedge

Hicks Yew

Hicks Yew (Taxus x media 'Hicksii') is a resilient evergreen shrub that offers numerous benefits and uses in the landscape. Renowned for its dense, upright growth habit and rich, dark green needles, Hicks Yew provides year-round interest and structure to the garden.

This shrub can reach heights of 10 to 12 feet and 3 to 4 feet wide, making it an excellent choice for creating privacy screens, hedges, or foundation plantings. Its adaptability to various soil types, including clay and sandy soils, coupled with its tolerance to shade, makes Hicks Yew a reliable and low-maintenance option for both formal and informal garden designs. It responds well to pruning, allowing you to shape and maintain it to its desired height.

Hicks Yew offers significant ecological benefits to the garden. Its dense foliage provides bird shelter and nesting sites. The shrub's ability to thrive in shaded areas under larger trees or in urban environments with limited sunlight makes it an invaluable asset for challenging planting locations.

Hicks Yew's tolerance to pollution further enhances its utility in urban and suburban landscapes. Whether used as a specimen plant, a backdrop in mixed borders, or as a natural privacy screen, Hicks Yew's versatility, durability, and year-round beauty make it a standout choice for gardeners looking to create structured and sustainable landscapes.

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A Word From Woodie

"Planting Hicks Yew provides gardeners with a reliable and low-maintenance evergreen that offers year-round structure and lush, dark green foliage that seems to enhance any garden setting. Its adaptability to various soil types, tolerance to shade, and resistance to deer make it an ideal choice for creating privacy screens, hedges, or accent plantings where little else seems to thrive. This is one of the few plants I recommend using hedge trimmers on. You can make very uniform hedges from hicks yew with almost no worry of over-trimming."

american pillar arborvitae low maintenance privacy tree

American Pillar Arborvitae

American Pillar Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis 'American Pillar') is a fast-growing, narrow, evergreen tree with exceptional benefits and uses in even the smallest landscape. This cultivar is known for its tall, columnar shape, reaching heights of up to 25 to 30 feet while maintaining a slender width of 4 to 5 feet, making it an excellent choice for privacy screens

This tree's dense, bright green foliage provides year-round color and creates a lush backdrop for other garden plants. American Pillar Arborvitae is particularly valued for its rapid growth rate (up to three feet per year), allowing homeowners to quickly achieve mature, effective barriers. It thrives in full sun to partial shade and adapts well to various soil types, including clay and sandy soils, making it a versatile option for diverse planting conditions.

American Pillar Arborvitae's dense foliage provides essential shelter and nesting sites for birds and small wildlife, contributing to local biodiversity. This tree's natural resistance to deer browsing and tolerance to urban pollution make it an ideal choice for both rural and urban environments.

Planting in rows creates an impressive living wall that can reduce noise and block unsightly views, enhancing the privacy and tranquility of outdoor spaces. Additionally, its vertical form and vibrant color make American Pillar Arborvitae a striking focal point in mixed borders or as an architectural element in garden designs. With its combination of rapid growth, adaptability, and aesthetic appeal, American Pillar Arborvitae is a valuable addition to any landscape.

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A Word From Woodie

"I wanted to have a privacy screen in an area of my yard but didn't want to lose a lot of space, which often happens with large evergreens. American Pillar has served me well in this pursuit. I planted these trees three feet off the property line so as not to encroach on my neighbor's property, yet when they mature, I will have the tall evergreen screen I was hoping for. I planted one-gallon pots 5 feet apart two years ago, and they have grown just as fast as advertised. They are currently 6 feet tall and filling in fast. "

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