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Friday, October 22, 2021

What to plant in Spring: Suggestions for low maintenance plants

A listicle of the best easy to maintain plants to include in your garden this Spring.

Reading Time: 5 minutes 

If you’re thinking of buying new plants for your spring gardening or if you’re renovating, then put low maintenance plants on your shopping list.

Spring is the time when everything in nature perks up. When it comes to gardening, this is the time to prepare your garden soil, clear the weeds, and identify plants that survived the winter frost. Then, you can move on to shopping, to add colours and edibles to your yard.

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Choosing low maintenance plants will save you much time in your gardening, while you continue to enjoy a thriving garden all year round.

Prep your Soil

Soil is the foundation for every living thing in our environment. Making your soil organic rich will be like adding an extra boost to it. If you’re planning to buy loads of flowering plants, then add to your shopping list some premixed garden soil – this will have the necessary nutrients to give your plants the best chance to survive and thrive.

Low Maintenance Plant Suggestions

The below is not an extensive list but worth the money and time. These low maintenance plants once established in the garden will require less care as years roll in.

Three Perennial Plants

Perennial plants give more bang for your money. Once established they’ll flower and fruit everywhere if watered during dry periods and shown some care.

  • Correa reflexa (Native Fuchsia) Best planted in part shade location. Low level shrub. Blooms from Spring to Autumn.
  • Plargonium (Geraniums) Best planted in full sun to part shade. Low level shrub. Blooms late Spring to Autumn.
  • Daisy (Perennial varieties) Best planted in full sun to part shade. Colourful fillers. Blooms late Winter to Autumn.

Daisy (Perennial varieties). Source: Brian Norcross
Daisy (Perennial varieties). Source: Brian Norcross

Three Annual Plants

If you want to add quick colour to your garden in any season, then annuals are your best bet.

  • Zinnia (Zinnia) Full sun. Medium sized shrub. Blooms Summer to Autumn.
  • Cosmos bipinnatus (Cosmos) Full sun. Medium sized shrub. Blooms Spring to Autumn.
  • Calendula offinalis (Marigold) Full sun. Medium sized shrub. Blooms late Spring to Autumn. Marigolds are a special favourite for Indian-Australians, because we had it around us in abundance growing up. They formed such an integral part of our celebrations. Here in Australia, they can bring that feel of celebration to our gardens, with their gold, copper and brass display. Another great attraction will be that they are drought-resistant and heat-tolerant. They also make wonderful companion plants for all our favourite veggies – tomatoes, eggplant, chillies – keeping insects and pests at bay.

Calendula offinalis (Marigold). Source: Canva
Calendula offinalis (Marigold). Source: Canva

Three Screening Plants

As much as we love our neighbours, we love our privacy more, especially in our backyard. These screening plants grow fast and are low maintenance.

  • Syzgium austral “Pinnacle” (Lilly Pilly) Fast growing screening plant. Native, suitable to all conditions.
  • Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star jasmine) Part shade. Needs sturdy support for climbing.

Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star Jasmine). Source: Flickr
Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star Jasmine). Source: Flickr

  • Viburnum odoratissimum (Sweet Viburnum) Evergreen shrub. Dense growth. Perfumed flowers.
Three Pool Plants

A pool by itself is not going to be appealing to your outdoor space. Adding plants to soften the structure works very well if you choose plants wisely.

  • Magnolia “Little Gem” (Magnolia) Full sun to part shade. Perfumed flower. Compact growth habit.

Magnolia “Little Gem”. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Magnolia “Little Gem”. Source: Wikimedia Commons

  • Ophiopogon jaburan (Giant lilyturf) Best suited for dry and shade area. Grassy foliage.
  • Grevillea juniperina (Prostrate Grevillea) Suits full sun area. Low level shrub. Blooms from Spring to Winter.
Three Ground Covers

The benefits of ground cover plants are numerous, especially in summer months when they cover the soil and help it retain moisture, saving time in watering. Ground covers are best suited in your garden bed, in between pavers or as alternative to lawn.

  • Viola hederacea (Native violet) Best suited for part shade to shade area. Native groundcover with tiny flowers.
  • Gazania tomentosa (Silver Gazania) Full sun. Suitable for slope area. Blooms from late Spring to Summer.
  • Thyme spp (Thyme) Suitable for all weather conditions. Full sun. Aromatic leaves.

Thyme. Source: MaxPixel
Thyme. Source: MaxPixel

Three Edible Perennials

Who doesn’t love bringing in good produce from the garden? It’s definitely worth the joy even if it takes time, energy and money. If you plant some perennial plants in your edible garden bed, then gardening becomes a breeze with fresh produce every year.

  • Mint (in ideal condition the roots will be invasive)
  • Ginger
  • Pomegranate
Three Annuals/Biennials plants

Here are some easy-care annuals you can plant among your perennial edible plants each season to enjoy fresh produce from your yard.

  • Beans
  • Spinach
  • Potato

 The plants listed here are available in most retail and online nurseries. Cost will vary based on the size of the plant. If you are looking for cost-effective ways to buy plants then buy seeds, seedlings and tubestock. If you have time constraints, then buy a bigger size plant for quick establishment in your yard.

Garden set-up. Source: Supplied
Garden set-up. Source: Supplied

 A final tip

Get the kids involved. It’s a good idea to take them shopping to pick plants they like, their favourite veggies for example – even though this might not be possible in lockdown. Get them their own tools. Encourage them to dig around, and clear the weeds. Give them their own little corner, their own little indoor plant to care for, start seeds indoors, or get them to make popsicle markers. You’ll be sowing a lifelong habit.

READ ALSO: How to create your own sustainable garden at home


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