Sell Customers On The Benefits Of Hassle-free Plants

In the 2012 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), a whopping 96.6 percent of respondents rated low-maintenance landscapes as somewhat or very in-demand. In particular, 85.4 percent of them had installed native or drought-tolerant plants in their outdoor living spaces.

The Winter 2011 survey on sustainable gardening by the Garden Writers Association Foundation showed similar results, with 58 percent already having reduced their watering and 35 percent adding more drought-tolerant plants.

At the same time, respondents in the ASLA survey stressed their love for outdoor leisure elements like grills (97.4 percent), pools (79.2 percent) and seating and dining areas (95.7 percent).

According to these gardening and landscaping surveys, the desire for a low-maintenance landscape continues to increase, and Americans’ love for outdoor amenities like fire pits, grills, dining areas and seating also shows no signs of waning.

So combining the two should mean less work and more play, right? Here, experts suggest the fuss-free flowers and foliage for outdoor living that customers love.

“Whether you’re relaxing during a private moment in your personal sanctuary or hosting a dinner party, you don’t want to come out to a tired, ailing landscape,” says Anthony Tesselaar, cofounder and president of Tesselaar Plants. “The idea is to go for something that’s easy-care with season-long interest, so you never have to worry about what’s outside your door.”

“We all lead such busy lives,” agrees California landscaper and North Coast Gardening blogger Genevieve Schmidt. “You don’t want an outdoor living space where you’re looking at more chores or another to-do list.”

Consider Native And Adaptive Flowers For Low-Maintenance Options

If customers are looking for less watering, spraying and pruning, flowers aren’t out. Schmidt regularly uses drought-tolerant, blooming perennials like catmint, hardy cranesbill geraniums, ornamental sages, Russian sage, lavender, lion’s tail, euphorbia, sunrose, artemisia and phlomis.

Landscape roses are another favorite of Schmidt’s, and she often turns to the Flower Carpetline. Often called desert roses in the southwest, these shiny-leaved, colorful bloom factories can be a great choice for low-maintenance, season-long color in beds or containers.

When planted en masse, carpet roses (which spread more horizontally than vertically and become covered with a blanket of blooms) are also a great way to quickly fill in a large bed while turning it into a more low-maintenance, sustainable landscape.

The Flower Carpet range of roses, notes Tesselaar, won high marks in the Dallas Arboretum’s plant trials in extreme heat. The series has also won the most awards for disease-resistance; including, Germany’s coveted All Deutschland Rose designation, a top honor for disease-resistant roses. “And if you want roses in containers, which succumb to drought even quicker, Flower Carpet’s Next Generation line offers even better heat and humidity tolerance.”

Another Tesselaar plant that did well in the Dallas Arboretum trials was the Storm series of agapanthus (lily of the Nile). “It offers up to three flushes of blooms a season with full clusters of strappy foliage in between for season-long interest,” Tesselaar says.

Jimmy Turner, senior director of gardens for the Dallas Arboretum, says it’s good for mass planting because of its sturdy, multiple flower stalks, uniform height and multiple flushes of blooms, each lasting six to seven weeks. “It’s really a head-turner when it’s by itself in a pot,” Tesselaar says.

Schmidt also recommends native and adapted plants, those that naturally grow or thrive in your area without using a lot of resources, respectively. “Native plants are especially nice for outdoor leisure areas, because you’re inviting in the local cycles of wildlife and a balanced local ecosystem, which means wonderful extras like singing birds, the sight of butterflies and nature’s own methods of pest and disease management.”

There’s a native plant society for almost every state, she says, and you can go to your state’s page to learn more about native plants in your area.

Foliage Adds Easy Color And Curb Appeal 

Low-maintenance foliage can also add character to outdoor living spaces.

“Going without flowers doesn’t mean going without color,” says Tesselaar. The colorfully foliaged Tropicanna cannas, which can handle wet feet, can be potted and set right into your favorite water features. And the dark-red, strap-like foliage of ‘Festival Burgundy’ cordyline is so extremely drought tolerant and pest resistant, you’ll wonder if it’s real. It’s basal-branching, low-growing structure allows for fuller, more compact clumps and a gentle fountain effect — perfect for containers or color blocking around your favorite outdoor living spots.

Festival, which is only hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 7 or warmer, also overwinters beautifully as a houseplant, says Tesselaar. “So you can simply bring the patio pot in or out depending on the season or replant it in the landscape year after year.”

Schmidt loves the bright-red color of Japanese blood grass, along with other low-maintenance ornamental grasses like maiden grass (miscanthus — although it’s considered invasive in some areas of the country), blue oatgrass, leatherleaf sedge, fountain grass and noninvasive dwarf or clumping bamboo. Favorites in other parts of the country include ‘Elijah Blue’ fescue, pampas grass (also invasive in some areas), Northern sea oats, blue panic grass, muhly grass (also extremely salt tolerant and prevents sand dune erosion) and little bluestem (hardy to Zone 3).

Then there are Schmidt’s other foliage faves, which includes phormiums (New Zealand flax), nassella (needlegrass) and Mexican feathergrass. Succulents, she adds, have exploded in popularity — in containers, hanging baskets and even as wall art.

Of course, the plants themselves aren’t the only part of a low-maintenance landscape, say Schmidt and Tesselaar. There are also tips and tricks like mulching, grouping together plants with similar needs, efficient irrigation, reducing your lawn and maintaining healthy soil. But low-maintenance plants are a key ingredient.

“Some work in the garden is great if you enjoy it, but we all have tasks we’d rather not do,” says Schmidt. “I know I’d rather be doing artful pruning, potting up containers and deadheading instead of weeding or mowing. The idea is to reduce or eliminate what feels like work so you’re free to focus on what really matters to you.”

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...

August 23, 2016

Kick Spring Sales Up A Notch With 18 New Plant Introductions For 2017

It’s time to look forward to the spring season and what plants will get your business off to the right start. These 18 new cultivars have all the traits of good breeding — uniform habits, bold colors, showy blooms, good vigor, and excellent branching.

Read More

August 23, 2016

Gardens Alive! Parent Company Buys Zelenka Farms

  Zelenka Farms, which has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, says LM Farms, which owns Gardens Alive!, has purchased the company and all of its assets. BFN Operations LLC and its affiliated entities, d/b/a Zelenka Farms, operated one of the largest wholesale nurseries in the U.S. Its products include shrubs, trees, perennials, roses, and groundcovers. The owners of Gardens Alive! have successfully purchased several other companies from bankruptcy and are experienced nursery managers. Niles Kinerk, Chairman of LM Farms, stated that “the opportunity to purchase Zelenka Farms assets and to continue the turnaround that is well underway is exactly the kind of opportunity that we look for. We understand the efforts of the management team led by Eric Ek and others have been successful, and we will support the management team in the coming months and years.” Zelenka Farms operates its six facilities across the key growing regions in the […]

Read More
Coreopsis-UpTickCream-19793-DarwinPerennials

August 20, 2016

Growing Tips On Coreopsis UpTick Series From John Wilson At Seville Farms

Editor’s Note: In this new feature, the Greenhouse Grower varieties team will choose one noteworthy variety each month we think is worth bringing to your attention. Then we’ll share growers’ and breeders’ perspectives on the best ways to produce it successfully at your operation. This month we focus on the hardy Coreopsis UpTick series, winner of Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Industry’s Choice Medal of Excellence for Breeding. Growing Tips From John Wilson, Seville Farms When asked about producing Coreopsis UpTick, John Wilson says he doesn’t have much to say because it was so easy to grow. Wilson, a Corporate Grower for Seville Farms, says based on the new series’ strong performance during the trialing he has done so far, the nursery ordered a large quantity of the plants for future growing. “If breeders were looking to come up with something that says ‘wow,’ they have done it with the UpTick Series,” […]

Read More
Latest Stories

August 23, 2016

Kick Spring Sales Up A Notch With 18 New Plant Introduc…

It’s time to look forward to the spring season and what plants will get your business off to the right start. These 18 new cultivars have all the traits of good breeding — uniform habits, bold colors, showy blooms, good vigor, and excellent branching.

Read More

August 23, 2016

Gardens Alive! Parent Company Buys Zelenka Farms

  Zelenka Farms, which has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, says LM Farms, which owns Gardens Alive!, has purchased the company and all of its assets. BFN Operations LLC and its affiliated entities, d/b/a Zelenka Farms, operated one of the largest wholesale nurseries in the U.S. Its products include shrubs, trees, perennials, roses, and groundcovers. The owners of Gardens Alive! have successfully purchased several other companies from bankruptcy and are experienced nursery managers. Niles Kinerk, Chairman of LM Farms, stated that “the opportunity to purchase Zelenka Farms assets and to continue the turnaround that is well underway is exactly the kind of opportunity that we look for. We understand the efforts of the management team led by Eric Ek and others have been successful, and we will support the management team in the coming months and years.” Zelenka Farms operates its six facilities across the key growing regions in the […]

Read More
Coreopsis-UpTickCream-19793-DarwinPerennials

August 20, 2016

Growing Tips On Coreopsis UpTick Series From John Wilso…

Editor’s Note: In this new feature, the Greenhouse Grower varieties team will choose one noteworthy variety each month we think is worth bringing to your attention. Then we’ll share growers’ and breeders’ perspectives on the best ways to produce it successfully at your operation. This month we focus on the hardy Coreopsis UpTick series, winner of Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Industry’s Choice Medal of Excellence for Breeding. Growing Tips From John Wilson, Seville Farms When asked about producing Coreopsis UpTick, John Wilson says he doesn’t have much to say because it was so easy to grow. Wilson, a Corporate Grower for Seville Farms, says based on the new series’ strong performance during the trialing he has done so far, the nursery ordered a large quantity of the plants for future growing. “If breeders were looking to come up with something that says ‘wow,’ they have done it with the UpTick Series,” […]

Read More
Eucomis arrangement from Golden State Bulb

August 19, 2016

What’s New With Blooming Potted Plants

From exotic orchids and lilies to flashy red cyclamen and jaunty gerberas, new blooming potted plants come in every shape, size, and color.

Read More
Craspedia Golf Ball Beauty (Danziger)

August 19, 2016

Learn How Unconventional Plants Can Be Hidden Gems

According to Kelly Norris, plant breeding inspired by consumer motivations and interests restores our connection with consumers thirsty for out-of-the-ordinary plants.

Read More
Petunia 'Moonstruck' (2015 Welby Gardens Field Trials)

August 9, 2016

Welby Gardens Names Top Selections From Its Trial Garde…

Welby Gardens, an exclusive grower of Hardy Boy Plants, tested more than 900 varieties this year in its field and container trials. Find out which varieties were the cream of the crop.

Read More

August 6, 2016

Growing Tips On Petunia ‘Night Sky’ From Da…

Production tips for Petunia ‘Night Sky’ from Dan Chaney, Vice President of Production, at Ivy Acres.

Read More
Janeen Wright

August 5, 2016

Deliver Plant Performance As Promised

It would be ludicrous to promise more than you can deliver. But you can deliver more than you promise to your greenhouse customers.

Read More
OSU 2016 In-Ground trials

August 2, 2016

Ohio State University 2016 Plant Trials Offer Real-Time…

The Ohio State University (OSU) displayed more than 500 cultivars for evaluation this year at the Chadwick Arboretum and Learning Gardens in Columbus, OH. Several Cultivate'16 attendees took the opportunity to wander the trial grounds and evaluate in-ground entries and those in sun and shade containers and hanging baskets.

Read More
Bellis Speedster (Benary)

August 2, 2016

How Fall Can Be About More Than Pansies

Allan Armitage suggests a few notable plants for the fall shoulder, fall sales, and spring shoulder seasons.

Read More
Petunia 'Amore Queen of Hearts' from Danziger

August 1, 2016

Danziger Targets Future Growth With Recent Management C…

The changes will provide a foundation of growth, creativity, and innovation, notes Micha Danziger, who will now serve as chairman of the Board of Directors.

Read More
Griffin 2017 Seed and Plant catalog

July 31, 2016

Griffin 2017 Plant Catalog Now Available In Print And D…

The print catalog features more than 280 new varieties, while the digital edition has several bonus resources.

Read More
Westhoff-Florist Holland combos

July 30, 2016

Pair New Spring Crops With Fresh Ideas For Increased Sa…

There are plenty of exciting, new spring crops to consider incorporating into your crop selection. What will set your operation apart is how creative you are about what plants you select, and how you promote them.

Read More
Pleasant View Gardens Savor Edibles

July 22, 2016

Pleasant View Gardens Targets Millennials With Savor Ed…

Taking something as ubiquitous as vegetables and herbs and giving it a fresh new look is no easy task, but Pleasant View Gardens took on the challenge with extensive research and creative marketing.

Read More
Dummen New Columbus Office

July 21, 2016

Dümmen Orange Opens New North American Headquarters In …

The new office, which officially opened during Cultivate’16, supports the company’s vision to be integrated into a vibrant and inspiring community, and provides a bright, modern workspace for its approximately 30 local employees.

Read More
Pollen Free Lisianthus

July 20, 2016

Sakata Seed Develops World’s First Pollen-Free Lisianth…

With no stamen to produce pollen, the new Lisianthus varieties have improved flower durability and the benefit of no scattered pollen that can cause staining of flowers and machines.

Read More

July 19, 2016

17 New Vegetable Intros For Greenhouse Production

New varieties of edibles introduced at 2016 California Spring Trials offer something for every type of gardener, from the beginning do-it-yourselfer to the hardcore, heirloom-only type. Check out some of the new varieties we saw at Spring Trials this year that will be available for retail in 2017.

Read More
One Earth Edibles From Peace Tree Farm

July 16, 2016

How To Capture Your Share Of The Edibles Market

At Peace Tree Farm, One Earth Edibles represent healthy living on a healthy planet.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]