Gardening Advice

Low Maintenance Plants for Your Garden

Alex Manders /

While a well-maintained garden can fully change the overall appearance of a property, not everyone can devote time and energy to constant watering, weeding and deadheading. Whether you are travelling a lot, you don’t have the time or you are simply not confident enough in your gardening skills, rest assured that you can still have a neat and lovely-looking garden because there is a plant for every person.

Although all plant varieties require attention to a certain extent, there are plenty of low-maintenance plants that prove to be very easy to care for. Of course, you will need to take in mind a few factors, such as climate, soil and garden size, but if you choose to plant flora native to Australia or resistant to high heat and drought, you can easily save time and fuss in the long run.

So, if you:

  • Are having trouble keeping your plants thriving;
  • Need help choosing the right low-maintenance plants for your garden;
  • Are wondering how to save time from constant watering and weeding;

Then, read on! From hedges to groundcovers, there are plenty of options to choose from – all of which we have covered in this article.

Table of contents:


Hedges serve as great windbreakers, backyard boundaries and privacy walls. However, if you are limited in space or short on time, you cannot just choose any shrub variety. Choosing the right low-maintenance plant for your garden means you get the outdoor space you wished for without having to worry about it in the long run.

A common myth is that evergreen hedges can pretty much be left on their own device, although that is partially true. While deciduous trees and shrubs shed their foliage and blossoms every year and create extra work for the gardeners, evergreens look fresh and neat all year long without requiring much attention. Moreover, evergreens are known for their hardiness, meaning it will be harder to kill them even if you fail to look after them properly.

However, if you are really looking to keep your gardening routine hassle-free, we recommend considering a slower-growing hedge variety. Although it might be tempting to choose a fast-growing plant, hedges that grow slowly require less work in the long term. Once established, they will need only minimal attention. Their maintenance will consist mainly of watering through the first few months, while the roots establish and later on, some pruning and trimming from time to time to maintain them neat and up to size.

Some examples of low-maintenance hedges suitable for your gardens are:

  • Euonymus japonicus (unpretentious and traditional hedge variety)
  • Photinia (popular option among Australian gardeners for its pretty foliage)
  • Sasanqua camellia (variety, which can add some colour to your garden)
  • English holly (thrives well in the cooler areas of Australia)
  • Burkwood Osmanthus (small shrub, ideal for growing in a pot)
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Climbing plants

Climbing plants, also known simply as climbers, are popular for their ability to turn gardens and otherwise unsightly structures into beautiful, fairy-like spaces. That is why many people think that those types of plants are very hard to grow and require lots of care. However, the good news here is that several low-maintenance crawling plants exist and can just as well achieve that dream magical atmosphere.

Climbing plants are extremely diverse and you will see that there is a climber to suit just about any garden or backyard. The four main types of crawling plants are:

  • Twiners
  • Tendrils
  • Scramblers
  • Sticky feet

Low-maintenance climbers are natural growers and to keep them healthy and eye-pleasing, all you will need to do is prune away dead or damaged twines or occasionally direct or cut back the plant if it becomes unruly and wanders off its path. Although there are crawling plants that can grow on just about anything, to stay on the safe side and save yourself some trouble, we recommend giving your crawler a sturdy structure like a pergola, fence or arbour.

Here are a few examples of low-maintenance climbing plants that thrive well in the Australian climate:

  • Boston ivy
  • Passionfruit
  • Morning glory
  • Honeysuckle
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Flowering plants

Often, we associate flower gardens with time-consuming gardening routines, lots of watering and confusing sun exposure requirements. In reality, whether you have to spend much time in the garden or not comes down to what flowers you planted in the first place.

Low-maintenance flowering plants are considered those that are easily adaptable, high-heat and drought-tolerant, and require minimal deadheading (removing faded or dead blooms of a flower). They can be annual plants and live for only one season, then die off, as well as perennial, which flower every year. Some examples of such low-maintenance flowers are Begonia, Cosmos, Zinnias and Moss Rose.

Moreover, when the time comes to choose the flowers for your low-maintenance garden, keep in mind to select flowers that are NOT:

  • Vigorous spreaders
  • Too picky about sun exposure and soil
  • Prone to pests and disease

While it’s true that flowers require more attention than other plants, some tricks exist that help garden owners minimise the upkeep of their gardens and save them time. Here are some of our tips on how to keep your garden low in maintenance:

  • Keep it small – If you want to limit your gardening chores, it is always best to keep your garden small in size.
  • Use mulch – Mulching is not rocket science and it can be an important garden maintenance task that gardeners don’t ignore. After planting and watering, apply a 5-7 cm layer of mulch to help your plants retain water better. As an alternative, you can use shredded leaves or untreated grass clippings.
  • Choose just a few flowering plants – Choose a maximum of 3 to 4 different types of flowers and plant 3 of each kind. The less flowering variety you have, the less hassle will be to meet all their requirements.
Remember! Low maintenance does not mean no maintenance. Even if the flowers you choose are said to grow on their own, some occasional watering, weeding and deadheading will always be needed.

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Every professional gardener knows that exposed ground is just asking for trouble. Uncovered soil works as a magnet for weeds, can easily erode in windy conditions and also dries out quickly. That is why, if you want a healthy and thriving garden, you should consider planting a groundcover in areas, as this will minimise the need to maintain that particular patch of your garden.

There are plenty of low-maintenance groundcovers that work just as fine as lawns and can be even seen as a more colourful and less time-consuming alternative. Of course, little preparational work, such as weeding and fertilising, will be needed before you plant the groundcover, but once the plant is established, you will see that groundcovers are hardy plants and require little maintenance. Since most are drought-tolerant, thrive well in either sun or shade and aren’t very picky about their soil, it is fairly easy to find a plant to suit your garden.

Below, you can find some examples of low-maintenance ground cover plants for your garden or backyard:

  • Geranium (adaptive to poor soil conditions – suitable for sandy soils)
  • Lamb’s ear (a groundcover that is sun, shade and poor soil tolerant)
  • Native violet (thrives in most climates but it’s perfect for shady and damp areas)
  • Plumbago (requires minimal attention, as it doesn’t need clipping back after flowering)
  • Mondo grass (a plant that is resistant to drought, which doesn’t need mowing and equally thrives in sunny and shady spots)
  • Native low-growing succulents (most need only very little water, feeding and pruning, like kalanchoe or sedum)
Pro tip! For sandy soils in coastal areas, we recommend adding a soil-wetting agent before planting a groundcover.


  • To minimise your gardening tasks, choose plants that are Australian natives or heat and drought tolerant.
  • The easiest to maintain hedges are the slow-growing evergreen varieties, which require only periodic pruning.
  • Once established, most low-maintenance creeping plants ask only for occasional pruning and directing.
  • Flowers need more attention than other plants, but some tricks can help you shorten your gardening routine.
  • Groundcovers are generally hardy plants that require little maintenance.
  • If you are short on time but your plants need attention, consider resorting to professional garden maintenance help.

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Do you know of any other tricks on how to keep the gardening work to a minimum? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

Image sources


mizy /
TonyNg /
High Mountain /
LFRabanedo /
traction /
simona pavan /

Flowering plants

ntdanai /
unverdorben jr /
Alex Manders /
Natalia Greeske /

Climbing plants

Andrew Pustiakin /
svf74 /
Arturijo /
Calin Tatu /
Nokzd /
Furiarossa /


oxanochka2003 /
newsony /
lennykaiser /
Jeerayut Rianwed /
Martin Fowler /

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