17 Low-Maintenance Plants and Dwarf Shrubs

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Quartz Rose Verbena

This groundcover blooms profusely all season.

Verbena x hybrida ‘Quartz Rose’
Annual trailing verbena grown as a groundcover that blooms profusely all season with bright pink flowers with a white eye
Plant in loose organic soil that is well-drained; makes an excellent container plant; attracts butterflies
Plant in full sun
Height: 8-12 inches
Width: 12-18 inches, spreading
Grown as an annual in all zones:
All Zones: Plant in spring after danger of frost has passed; plant in full sun; water when dry; bring indoors for winter or discard plants after first killing frost.

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Dwarf Globe Blue Spruce

The dwarf globe blue spruce should be planted in full sun.

Picea pungens ‘Globosa’
Dwarf, globe-shaped evergreen shrub with bright blue needles
Plant in full sun in moist, but well-drained soil
Protect from harsh winds and hot sun
Water to establish and then when dry
Height: 3-5 feet
Width: 5-6 feet
Hardy in USDA zones 2-6 (7):
Zone 2: Plant in spring to prevent winter heaving; plant in full sun; apply extra mulch after first hard frost; avoid contact with salt; avoid exposure to harsh winter winds.
Zone 3: Plant in spring to prevent winter heaving; plant in full sun; apply extra mulch after first hard frost; avoid contact with salt; avoid exposure to harsh winter winds.
Zone 4: Plant in spring to prevent winter heaving; plant in full sun; apply extra mulch after first hard frost; avoid contact with salt; avoid exposure to harsh winter winds.
Zone 5: Plant in spring to prevent winter heaving; plant in full sun; apply extra mulch after first hard frost; avoid contact with salt; avoid exposure to harsh winter winds.
Zone 6: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in a sunny area but avoiding hot afternoon sun; apply extra mulch after first hard frost; avoid exposure to harsh winter winds.
Zone 7: Plant in early fall; plant in a sunny area but avoiding hot afternoon sun; apply extra mulch after first hard frost; avoid exposure to harsh winter winds; may be short-lived in this zone, especially with long, hot summers.

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Purple Prince Butterfly Bush

This plant is on the watch list of several states for possible invasiveness.

Buddleia davidii ‘Purple Prince’
Gardener’s Note: This plant is on the watch list of several Western and Midwestern states for possible invasiveness.
Deciduous shrub with gray-green foliage and bright purple flowers that attract butterflies
Plant in rich, but well-drained soil; prune heavily in very early spring
Water regularly until established; fertilize in spring
Deadhead to reduce seedlings and prolong blooming
Plant in full sun for best flowering
Height: 8-10 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Hardy in USDA zones 5-9:
Zone 5: Plant in spring to prevent winter heaving; plant in full sun; mulch heavily after first hard frost; avoid contact with salt; care for plant as herbaceous perennial and prune to the ground in early spring.
Zone 6: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun; mulch in fall; care for plant as a deciduous shrub and prune heavily in late winter.
Zone 7: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun; mulch in fall; care for plant as a deciduous shrub and prune heavily in late winter.
Zone 8: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun; mulch in fall; care for plant as a deciduous shrub and prune heavily in late winter.
Zone 9: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun; mulch in fall; care for plant as a deciduous shrub and prune heavily in late winter.

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Firelight Spiraea

This shrub bears deep orange foliage and pink flowers in early summer.

Spiraea japonica ‘Bumalda’ or ‘Firelight’
Deciduous shrub noted for its deep orange foliage and pink flowers in early summer
Plant in full sun to partial shade; color and blooming are better in sun
Plant in rich, but well-drained soil
Water regularly until established; fertilize in spring; prune ½ to 1/3 when dormant
Height: 2-3 feet
Width: 3-4 feet
Hardy in USDA zones 4-8:
Zone 4: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch heavily after first hard frost to prevent winter heaving; avoid contact with salt.
Zone 5: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch heavily after first hard frost to prevent winter heaving; avoid contact with salt.
Zone 6: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch after first hard frost.
Zone 7: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch in fall.
Zone 8: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch in fall; gold foliage may fade and defoliate early in hot, dry weather.

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Quartz Burgundy Verbena

This annual trailing verbena makes an excellent container plant.

Verbena x hybrida ‘Quartz Burgundy’
Annual trailing verbena grown as a groundcover that blooms profusely all season with dark burgundy flowers with a white eye
Plant in loose organic soil that is well-drained; makes an excellent container plant; attracts butterflies
Plant in full sun
Height: 8-12 inches
Width: 12-18 inches, spreading
Grown as an annual in all zones:
All Zones: Plant in spring after danger of frost has passed; plant in full sun; water when dry; bring indoors for winter or discard plants after first killing frost.

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Rockspray Cotoneaster

The pink flowers on this shrub are followed by red fruit.

Cotoneaster horizontalis
Semi-evergreen arching shrub with dark green foliage, pink flowers followed by red fruit
Plant in fertile, average to moist, but well-drained soil
Plant in full sun to partial shade
Height: 5-6 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Hardy in USDA zones 4-7:
Zone 4: Plant in spring to prevent winter heaving; plant in full sun; apply extra mulch after first hard frost; avoid contact with salt; may be semi-evergreen in this zone; prune as needed to keep in bounds and neat in appearance.
Zone 5: Plant in spring to prevent winter heaving; plant in full sun; apply extra mulch after first hard frost; avoid contact with salt; prune as needed to keep in bounds and neat in appearance.
Zone 6: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun; apply extra mulch after first hard frost; prune as needed to keep in bounds and neat in appearance.
Zone 7: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun; apply mulch after first hard frost; prune as needed to keep in bounds and neat in appearance.

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Blue Lyme Grass

This cool season grass has attractive blue foliage.

Elymus arenarius
Perennial, cool season grass with blue foliage
Plant in organic soil; tolerant of wet and dry soil
Plant in full sun; prune while dormant in winter
Can spread invasively by rhizomes
Height: 3-4 feet
Width: 3-4 feet, spreading
Hardy in USDA zones 4-10:
Zone 4: Plant in spring to avoid winter heaving; plant in full sun; mulch after first hard frost; avoid contact with salt; fertilize in spring with balanced fertilizer.
Zone 5: Plant in spring to avoid winter heaving; plant in full sun; mulch after first hard frost; avoid contact with salt; fertilize in spring with balanced fertilizer.
Zone 6: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch after first hard frost; fertilize in spring with balanced fertilizer.
Zone 7: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch after first hard frost; fertilize in spring with balanced fertilizer.
Zone 8: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch in fall; fertilize in spring with balanced fertilizer.
Zone 9: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch in fall; fertilize in spring with balanced fertilizer.
Zone 10: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch in fall; fertilize in spring with balanced fertilizer.

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Wooly Thyme

Wooly thyme bears bright pink flowers in summer.

Thymus pseudolanuginosus
Evergreen perennial groundcover with wooly gray leaves and bright pink flowers in summer
Plant in full sun
Plant in coarse, sharply drained soil
Height: 2-4 inches
Width: 8-12 inches
Hardy in zones 5-8:
Zone 5: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch after first hard frost to avoid winter heaving; avoid exposure to salt.
Zone 6: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; lightly mulch in fall.
Zone 7: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; lightly mulch in fall.
Zone 8: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; lightly mulch in fall.

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Quartz White Verbena

This beautiful white verbena attracts butterflies.

Verbena x hybrida ‘Quartz White Burgundy’
Annual trailing verbena grown as a groundcover that blooms profusely all season with white flowers
Plant in loose organic soil that is well-drained; makes an excellent container plant; attracts butterflies
Plant in full sun
Height: 8-12 inches
Width: 12-18 inches, spreading
Grown as an annual in all zones:
All Zones: Plant in spring after danger of frost has passed; plant in full sun; water when dry; bring indoors for winter or discard plants after first killing frost.

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