Garden Spaces: 11 Native Plants for a Low-Maintenance Garden

For a low-maintenance garden, try growing these native plants for a beautiful and lively garden.

| October/November 2009

  • Grow these 11 native plants for a low-maintenance garden.
    Illustration by Gayle Ford
  • Design a native garden with low-maintenance plants featured in our plant key.
    Illustration by Gayle Ford

Here are some native plants that require minimal work for a low-maintenance garden. (See our personalized plant key to design your own native garden.)

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Black-eyed Susans are one of our most beloved wildflowers. They’ll show their sunny faces reliably throughout the summer and reach 2 1/2 to 3 feet. There are both annual and perennial forms of this flower.

Dwarf fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides)
Compact fountain grasses include ‘Hameln’ and ‘Little Bunny’ and the taller ‘Moudry’ (about 3 feet), with brown-black flowers. Cut these back to about 8 inches in late winter or early spring.

Missouri evening primrose (Oenothera missouriensis)
Be sure to choose this low-growing evening primrose, also called ‘Ozark Sundrops’, as some others in the genus get tall and rangy and are very aggressive. This perennial with cheerful yellow flowers usually grows less than a foot tall.

Flax (Linum usitatissimum)
This carefree herb, which grows to about 20 inches and comes in both annual and perennial forms, adds its pretty blue flowers to the summer garden.

Little bluestem grass (Schizachyrium scoparium)
This grass has attractive blue-green leaves and fluffy white seed heads in the fall; it grows to about 3 feet.

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