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...
2018 Ball Seed Catalog

July 17, 2017

Ball Seed’s 2018 New Varieties Catalog Now Available

The expanded guide includes breakthrough breeding from Ball in annuals, perennials, vegetables, potted plants, and more.

Read More
Pleasant View Open House

July 16, 2017

Pleasant View Gardens, D.S. Cole Growers Hosting Open House in August

The event gives horticulture industry professionals the chance to check out nearly 80 new introductions from Proven Winners, as well as Pleasant View’s new Savor Edibles & Fragrants line.

Read More
All American Selections

July 12, 2017

All-America Selections Celebrates Milestone Anniversary, Releases Annual Report

Coinciding with its 85th anniversary celebration, AAS is hosting an open house at its new offices, and has also released its annual report.

Read More
Latest Stories
2018 Ball Seed Catalog

July 17, 2017

Ball Seed’s 2018 New Varieties Catalog Now Available

The expanded guide includes breakthrough breeding from Ball in annuals, perennials, vegetables, potted plants, and more.

Read More
Pleasant View Open House

July 16, 2017

Pleasant View Gardens, D.S. Cole Growers Hosting Open H…

The event gives horticulture industry professionals the chance to check out nearly 80 new introductions from Proven Winners, as well as Pleasant View’s new Savor Edibles & Fragrants line.

Read More
All American Selections

July 12, 2017

All-America Selections Celebrates Milestone Anniversary…

Coinciding with its 85th anniversary celebration, AAS is hosting an open house at its new offices, and has also released its annual report.

Read More

July 8, 2017

Plant Patent Law: Protecting the Variety Pipeline

Breeders call for better cooperation in protecting intellectual property while considering how stricter laws and expensive patents could impact the future of innovation.

Read More
Calibrachoa ‘Superbells Holy Moly!’ (Proven Winners)

July 8, 2017

Are Utility Patents Tying Up Innovation With Litigation…

The opportunities for innovation in plant breeding could be greatly advanced by creating an industry-led patent licensing platform.

Read More

July 8, 2017

Fleuroselect and CIOPORA Offer Organizational Leadershi…

Learn why breeders feel these organizations should be emulated in an industry-led initiative to protect plant breeding efforts.

Read More
Thalictrum Nimbus White (Terra Nova Nurseries)

June 30, 2017

Kelly Norris Dishes on New Plants, Going to Seed, and B…

From woody perennials to genetically modified petunias, Kelly Norris gives his take on what turned out to be a busy spring.

Read More
Jim Devereux, Green Fuse Botanicals

June 24, 2017

Green Fuse Botanicals New Vice President is Focused on …

Jim Devereux, who will oversee production, sales, and marketing for Green Fuse, says he hopes to bring genetics to the market that break from traditional production methods for finished growers.

Read More
Ushio Sakazaki feature

June 22, 2017

Japanese Breeder Ushio Sakazaki Wins Medal of Excellenc…

From Supertunias to Superbells, this innovative Japanese breeder has used wild genetics to create game-changing plants that help consumers reconnect with the beauty of nature.

Read More
CallaFornia Red

June 20, 2017

Dümmen Orange Enters Calla Market With Acquisition of G…

Golden State will continue to supply the market through September 2018, at which time Dümmen Orange will assume supply and delivery of much of Golden State’s product line.

Read More
Plantpeddler Variety Day

June 14, 2017

Plantpeddler Hosting Variety Day on Aug. 4 in Cresco, I…

The free event will allow attendees to tour Plantpeddler’s trial gardens, which include more than 1,200 varieties of vegetative annuals displayed in large containers, baskets, window boxes, and beds.

Read More
Jonathan Babikow, Emerald Coast Growers

June 9, 2017

New Head Grower at Emerald Coast Growers is Excited abo…

Jonathan Babikow, Emerald Coast Growers’ new general manager/head grower for its Lancaster, PA, location, talks about his favorite perennials, the advantages of growing in Pennsylvania, and his future hopes for his career.

Read More
Petunia 'Amore Mio' (Danziger)

June 8, 2017

AmericanHort Update on Genetically Engineered Petunias

AmericanHort is actively assisting affected plant breeders, distributors, growers, and retailers as the genetically modified petunia regulatory response continues. Since the last update, there have been several changes to the list of petunias confirmed or suspected of being genetically engineered and therefore unauthorized to be imported or sold. Also, the list of recognized laboratories for petunia variety confirmation testing has expanded. Most importantly, petunia varieties on the USDA-APHIS Biotechnology Regulatory Services (BRS) list require an APHIS Form 2000 for importation. APHIS also began requiring that any Petunia spp. Shipments, not including regulated GE varieties, must be accompanied by a list of variety names. This resulted in some inspection delays at the USDA-APHIS plant inspection station in Atlanta over the past two weeks. In response, AmericanHort has negotiated a more flexible approach with APHIS, and new guidance has just been posted for importing Petunia plants, cuttings, or seed. The new guidance allows […]

Read More
Bailey Expo

June 8, 2017

Bailey Nurseries Expo to Take Place in Late July in Min…

This year’s expo will focus on bridging the gap with Millennials and non-gardeners through creative marketing, engaging in-store displays, and heightened customer service.

Read More
Scaevola Mix from Suntory

June 6, 2017

How Was Your Spring? Let Us Know by Taking Greenhouse G…

Please take a few minutes to answer Greenhouse Grower’s 2017 Spring Recap Survey. The deadline for completing the survey is June 20.

Read More
Eason Horticultural Resources Hot New Perennials Booklet

June 6, 2017

Eason Horticultural Resources Releases New Perennials B…

“Hot New Perennials for 2018” is a compilation of information shared with Eason from a broad range of perennial young plant producers, breeding companies, and breeder representatives.

Read More
Beedance Bidens Yellow (Suntory Flowers)

June 1, 2017

Recommendations for Successfully Growing BeeDance Biden…

Anne Roberts of Meadow View Growers says growers in northern states can take advantage of cooler temperatures early in the season and grow BeeDance Bidens varieties with less heat.

Read More

May 30, 2017

Danziger Launching New Interactive Marketing Programs D…

The new campaigns include a focus on Danziger’s Amore petunia series, using videos and displays to help attendees “share their love” for Amore.

Read More