Find easy plants for easy landscaping

Today, you’ll learn how to find the best plants for low maintenance landscaping.  If you’re looking to have easy landscaping in your yard, these tips will help you find the right low maintenance plants for your yard.

Show Notes:  Low Maintenance Landscaping Plants

  • These tools find the right plants for your yard
  • Not a list of plants
  • There is no one ‘best plant’
  • The best plant is the one that
    • thrives in the available place
    • has the desired growth structure
    • has the right appeal to you and the space
  • Goal: have a healthy beautiful yard with less work so you can enjoy more time doing what you love
  • Low maintenance plants are incredibly important
    • Bring beauty to your yard
    • Enhance appeal of property
    • Enhance lifestyle
      • Relaxation
      • Comfort
      • Pride
      • Enjoyment
    • Reduce effort to maintain
    • Require minimal care

How to pick the best low maintenance plant for your space

  • Understand your space
    • USDA zone
    • Soil characteristics
      • type
      • Topsoil depth
      • Depth
      • Organic matter
      • pH
      • Episode 11
    • Moisture
      • Total annual
      • Pattern
      • Pooling/runoff
    • Sun
      • Time of day
      • Time of year
      • Total amount
  • Plant selection
    • Growth habit
      • Size
      • Propagation
      • Lifespan
    • Match existing conditions
      • USDA
      • Soil
      • Organic matter
      • Moisture
      • Sun
    • dispersive or aggressive plants
      • Check local resources for listings
      • State agricultural extension office
      • Ex: Callary pear, bradford pear, purple loosestrife
        • Recently banned for sale in OH
      • Style preferences
        • Find what you like that fits
        • Native, exotic
        • Color – foliage, bloom
        • Timing – foliage, bloom
  • A few examples of great plants
    • Works for most of US
    • make sure you check for your area!
    • Juniper (Juniperus virginiana)
      • Native to much of northern hemisphere
      • Cultivated varieties range from groundcover to medium tree
      • Evergreen
      • Tolerates wide range of soils and moisture
      • Tradeoff: Prefers full sun
    • Heart Leaved Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium)
      • Blue late summer blooms
      • Tolerates wide range of soils, moisture
      • Does well in shade and sun
      • Tradeoff: Prefers moderately fertile soil
    • Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)
      • Tolerates all sorts of conditions
      • Tradeoff: Prefers full sun, non-waterlogged soils
    • Check show notes for low maintenance plants giveaway list

Links for today’s episode:

this is the easy living yards podcast

I’m Ben Hale your nature geek host let’s

jump in and learn how to have a healthy

beautiful yard with less work so you can

enjoy more time doing what you love


what’s up and welcome to episode 23 of

the easy living yards podcast today we

are going to be talking all about low

maintenance landscaping plants now we’ve

covered this somewhat you know here and

there in previous episodes and I will

definitely be referencing some of the

awesome content we’ve already covered in

the previous episodes but today I really

want to cover just people are always

asking about what plants do you do for

this what what are the best plants for

that and and it’s a lot of times a lot

of questions that folks like us have are

around plants you know it’s not about

design we’re not all you know designers

landscape designers we’re not all

thinking about the big picture of our

yard or or you know how it makes us feel

we just want to have some plants in our

space that works right and and sometimes

that’s all we want and and it’s hard to

think about all those other aspects and

I totally get that now now with all that

said you know I also totally understand

the importance of good design and we’ve

talked about that in some other episodes

as well but today I just want to answer

you know some of the stuff that a lot of

you guys are asking about plants what

are the right plants right and and so

let’s get into more about the plants

today as opposed to you know some of the

principles for we’ve been talking about

for low maintenance landscaping or or

that sort of thing right so we can get

out into all that stuff later in other

episodes and that sort of thing and and

for right now I just wanted to give you

the tools to find the right plants for

your yard so just to clarify today we’re

not going to be covering a huge list of

plants you know these are the best

plants for everywhere in the world

because to be honest there’s not not a

single best plant that just works

everywhere right so a low maintenance

landscape for me here in Ohio where I

currently live

is not necessarily best plant for you

even if you also live in Ohio too and

which is crazy but especially if you

live you know say in Texas or in

California or Quebec right so wherever

you are there are certain plants that

and even in a certain space that you

have so a plant in your front yard might

not be the best plant in your back yard

or plant close to the house might not be

the best plant for out by your mailbox

so these are all considerations you have

to think about with your your specific

space in mind ok so that’s why today is

not going to be a list of plants that

are I could give you a list of plants

that are my favorites but to be honest

that wouldn’t work for most of you so

we’re gonna instead I’m gonna give you

the tools to figure out what are the

right plants for your yard okay and I

just want to clarify a little bit more

that there is even even if we drill all

the way down to let’s just talk about my

backyard even if we drill down to my

backyard there is no one best plant

because there are multiple plants that

will work in that condition but there’s

not necessarily one best plant because

each plant has a specific function that

it serves and it also yields a specific

thing free for us in different ways too

so structurally its growth patterns its

color all that stuff you know and so

it’s based on not only the plant and how

it thrives in your space but also what

you want out of this space and so that’s

different for every person

at different times of the year and

different times in our life too so this

could change as well and so there is no

one best plant and you know now just to

walk over exactly what I said

the best plant is the one that thrives

in the available space that you have

that you’re talking about and again this

could be a very specific space such as

what plant works best by my mailbox

right so is the best plant is the one

that thrives in the available space has

the desired growth structure that you’re

looking for and also has the right

appeal to

you and the space that it fits in so for

example you might really like a certain

flower but it just doesn’t really look

quite right you know as a foundation

planting nice to your house it just

doesn’t match it architectural II it

doesn’t you know hide the the form that

you want or it doesn’t accentuate the

form that you want and so for that

reason it’s just not the right plant for

that space even though you might love it

personally okay so let’s rewind a little

bit or I guess kind of step back a

little bit and and think about why we’re

even talking about what’s the best plan

right so it’s not just what’s the best

plant for that you like or whatever you

know that fills a space again our goal

here is to have a healthy beautiful yard

with less work so that you can enjoy

more time doing what you love that’s the

most important part folks is we’re

giving ourselves back our own time

because we don’t want to be using that

time working our yard or trying to

figure out better plants or you know

googling what’s the coolest yard ideas

or whatever we want to just have our

beautiful yard so we can enjoy it and we

we can move on with our life to do more

important things with our life okay

I love landscapes but that’s what they

are is their landscapes they’re not our

life goal and and so here we’re trying

to free ourselves from our landscape by

creating our beautiful landscape so that

we can do what we love more okay and so

with all that said let’s kind of get

into now why low maintenance landscape

plants are important and then also how

to pick the best plant for your space

okay so as far as importance I think it

you know this might go without saying

but I just want to be clear that low

maintenance plants are incredibly

important because they allow us to meet

our goal of having a beautiful yard with

less work so we can enjoy more time

doing what we love so low maintenance

plants should bring Beauty to your yard

enhance the appeal of your property and

that could also you know enhance your

property value or perceived value it

should enhance your lifestyle these

plans should enhance your lifestyle

through relaxation through comfort

through pride through enjoyment among

many other things but those you know

just the ones that come to mind for me

right now they should also reduce your

effort to maintain them by definition

you know being low maintenance plants

they shouldn’t require a lot of work to

maintain so that’s what we’re looking

for is what’s when we’re talking about

what is the right plant for your space

from a growth and thriving standpoint

it’s what’s the right plant for your

space that can maintain itself can grow

be happy be resistant to disease by

itself without us having to constantly

nurture it ok these plants that we’re

talking about here you know plants in

general just have evolved for millennia

to grow and thrive right and so we want

to make sure we’re picking the right

plants that can grow and thrive in our

conditions that mimic the conditions

that they evolved in to grow in and

thrive in ok

these again you know they should require

minimal care so it’s kind of goes hand

in hand with reducing effort to maintain

but also just you know we don’t have to

think about and we don’t have to care

for them we don’t have to nurture them

once they’re established you know

sometimes these things do take a little

bit of time to establish some of these

plants once they’re you know that once

they’ve taken root and they’ve really

gotten hold in your landscape it should

be just kind of you know take a glance

set of everyone so everyone take a

glance at them every once in a while

kind of see if they’re doing ok and then

just forget about them enjoy them for

what they are and and let them do what

they’re meant to do you know it’s kind

of like you know when you have a dog

right and you you uh you take your dog

outside and you see it playing right the

dog it just it loves what it’s doing

because it’s doing what it’s meant to do


well plants when they’re put in the

right space with the right conditions

they also love to do what they do so

they’re gonna grow in there they’re

going to thrive in that space and that

what we want okay so now that we

understand why low maintenance plants

are so important let’s figure out how to

choose the right plant for your space so

when we’re talking about our space it’s

really important to understand your

space you’re talking about before you go

ahead and start looking for plants so

even before you blew up you know a

nursery catalog or go start googling

whether the best plants for your yard in

in Ohio or whatever before you start

doing any of that make sure you

understand your space because it’s not

just the general area you’re in but your

specific space has certain requirements

that are very important now that said

it’s also good to know your regional

conditions as well and that ties into

here as well so it’s both important to

know your regional climate and

conditions as well as your microclimate

in micro conditions so on your specific

space in your specific area so I

mentioned two already two examples one

could be my backyard the other could be

let’s just state you know let’s take the

example of the mailbox right you have

your mailbox right out front on the

street in the corner and you’re trying

to you know kind of spruce it up there

might not make it look like it’s just a

stick with a box on the end of it right

you’re trying to you know put some

plants around it make it look pretty

maybe make a little garden around it

right so that’s a specific area that

could be very different in condition

compared to the rest of your area

compared to your backyard right and so

it’s good to know your specific

condition as well as the regional

condition and that’s the point I’m

trying to make okay

so first with understanding your space

you want to know your USDA zone and if

you’re not familiar with this already

I’ve mentioned it in several episodes

the USDA zone is basically a climatic

zone that is based on your average low

temperature in the cooler part of the

year and so as you can imagine the

farther up north you go across the

United States the the cooler it gets

okay and so the lower your zone number

and and so for southern Ohio here for

example we’re a much lower number than

then southern Florida and we’re a much

higher number than northern United

States and into Canada okay

and so there are similar climatic grades

as well for other parts of the world if

you’re listening to another part of the

were from another part of the world okay

and so it’s very important to know your

USDA zone most plants when they have a

their little nursery tag on them it

tells you what zone they grow in and

when you’re researching stuff online as

well it tells you what zone this plant

grows in from you know say zones three

to nine so that will tell you it grows

as cold as zone three and as warm as

zone nine okay and so we’re looking for

the plants that fit into our zone okay

all right so next you want to understand

your soil characteristics so I recommend

you get a soil test if you haven’t done

so already you can usually get in touch

with your local Extension Office your

USDA Agricultural Extension office and

they can run a soil test for you either

for free or for very low cost and it’s

well worth it and if you can it’s worth

also doing multiple samples across you

know different parts of your property to

get an understanding of how your soil

might be different so when it comes to

your soil some of the things that are

important to understand are the soil

type the topsoil depth the the depth of

your overall soil so you have your

topsoil which is the high organic matter

area hopefully hopefully you have a few

inches of that but the reality is most

of us in suburbs that are younger than

say about 30 ish years have very little

topsoil because a lot of time what’s

customary is during the development

phase the topsoil scraped off and

removed for development and it’s sold to

local landscape suppliers and then the

houses are developed and in the places

where that’s not done usually just the

process of compaction it roads this and

erosion during construction erodes the

topsoil way to where you have very

little left anyway so there’s usually

not a whole lot done to preserve the

topsoil during development and it takes

a long time for it to grow back

especially under turf grass lawns so

the reality is it’s good to know your

topsoil death and how much you have and

that you can do by just kind of digging

a hole and you’ll see kind of your

richer darker houmous area of top

hopefully hopefully it’s a few inches

sometimes it’s you know very little so

but it’s just a darker color than the

rest of your soil and then underneath

that you’ll see kind of it’ll graduate

into your mineral soil so for us in

southern Ohio it’s a clay based mineral

soil and it’s kind of like a reddish not

quite red but orangish color and

sometimes a little bit of grayish color

based on your substrate material and and

so you’ll start to see your bare mineral

soil underneath your topsoil and so it’s

good to know your topsoil depth as well

as your mineral soil depth and basically

how deep do you go until you hit bedrock

for some places that’s about three

inches other places it’s several feet

and so it’s good to understand that

because that also dictates what types of

plants can grow in that condition you

also want to know the amount of organic

matter you have in your soil so that

kind of goes hand-in-hand with your top

soil depth so the organic layer is the

area of topsoil and you also want to

know your soil pH and I go into a lot

more depth in all this stuff stuff in

episode 11 so I strongly encourage you

if you’re not familiar with

understanding what what parts of soil

you need to understand go check out

episode 11 and I’ll have a link in the

show notes ok

beyond soil without spending too much

that you guys can tell I love soil right

oh yeah every time I mentioned soil I

end up talking like whey lager that I

planned on it so I hope you guys love

soil as much as I do and that it’s not

boring because how can this stuff be

boring right it’s super cool anyway all

right off my nerd podium okay

so soil is important also important to

understand is moisture okay so when I’m

talking about moisture I’m talking about

your total annual rainfall so it’s good

to know about how much rain do you get

each year do you get five inches do you

get fifty inches do you get eighty

inches there’s some places that are get

that much you know it

you’re in the Appalachian Mountains

regions of Virginia I think that’s how

about how much you get is that it’s

almost like a temperate rainforest there

here in southern Ohio we get about 42

ish inches of rain per year and if you

live in about let’s see Las Vegas area

you get about five inches of rain here

so there’s huge differences in that

amount of rainfall and what plants can

thrive under those conditions

okay so understanding your total annual

rainfall is important also the pattern

of rainfall you get do you get all of

your rain in one or two rain events a

year or is it spread out with a lot of

different shower periods throughout most

of the year or maybe during certain wet

seasons of the year those patterns are

very important to understand and can

greatly influence what plants can thrive

in that condition okay the next piece is

we’re now getting out of the regional

piece of moisture and we’re going down

to the very local piece when it comes to

moisture and that is where does the

water go on your property specifically

the space you’re considering right now

just water pool up on it does it run off

of it during rain events or does it kind

of sit there for a little bit and then

soak in or does it stay there over a

couple days this is all very important

to understand when you’re considering

different types of plants that grow in

that condition some plants love having

waterlogged soils and they can thrive in

it and it gives them great tolerance for

other parts of the year some of them can

withstand that most of the year others

can tolerate the you know wet soggy

times and then that helps them withstand

long drought periods after that some of

them can’t tolerate what roots at all

and so it’s really important to

understand how does the water interact

with the space you’re considering okay

and now fond moisture the next piece is

sunlight so how much Sun do you get is

is really often listen on plant tags and

so understanding your space and how much

Sun it gets but not only that what time

of day does it get Sun

what time of year does it get son for

how long and what’s the and then also

understanding what’s the total amount of

sunlight so those are the kind of sounds

similar but here’s the difference so the

time of day that it’s in sunlight really

factors in to not only sunlight but heat

as well okay

so if your plant is really susceptible

to heat stress for example if it gets

early early day sunshine it will

probably do much better in that location

than if it were a late day sunshine

space because the hint of the plant is

not tolerant of heat stress if that

makes sense

so during your harder periods of the day

the plant might kind of shut down its

biochemical processes and just kind of

sit there and even might look a little

wilty or droopy because is overheating

basically and so that plant is better

suited for a cooler part of your

landscape and cooler part of the day to

be active and so thinking of a space

where it can fit into their early

morning period would be better for

suited for that plant okay so that’s

enough on your understanding your space

so just to recap real quick

understanding your USDA zone your soil

characteristics your moisture and your

son will go a really long way to helping

you understand your site conditions

there’s of course there’s we could talk

for hours on site conditions what are

all the parameters that are necessary

you know

from anything from like mineral content

you write to toe to whatever and to wind

shear right there’s all this stuff that

could factor in but right now I wanted

you to just focus on these main areas

and and that will go a long way to

helping you selecting the right plants

for your space okay so now the plant

selection bit okay when we’re talking

about plants we want to think of several


before we get into the matching existing

conditions there’s some other bits as

well so your growth habit your whether

it’s dispersive or aggressive

what are your style preferences

as well as matching your existing

conditions so we’ll kind of get into all

those but I just wanted to give you a

quick overview of what I’m about to talk

about okay so growth habit when it comes

to plants matching your space is very

important but also important is the

growth habit of the plant okay so now

we’re talking about like the physical

characteristics of the plant and how it

matches with your space so if we’re

talking about our little mailbox that

we’re trying to spruce up it would kind

of be foolish to plant you know a a

Colorado blue spruce right next to your

mailbox because it’s gonna grow and

eventually completely engulf your

mailbox and it doesn’t functionally

serve this space so you want to

understand the growth habit of your

plant and how it’s going to interact

with your space okay so when you’re

thinking about this it’s important to

understand the size of the plant so the

the mature size of it as well as the

growth rate so how long is it going to

take to reach that mature size how is

how is its propagation pattern so does

is it have a spreading habit for example

it is it shoot up suckers along it these

these are all important things to

understand and also what’s the lifespan

of the plant you’re considering is it an

annual so have having an annual in that

space maybe it’ll look good for a season

but then you’ll have to reconsider

planting it again next year or is it a

short-lived perennial and is that okay

so if it’s a short-lived perennial will

it divide by itself or received by

itself every couple years or is it

something you have to divide every

couple years or is it a long-lived

perennial is it going to outlive you and

in the same space you know is it going

to eventually outgrow this space as well

so these are important things to

consider okay

so aside from growth habit now let’s

talk about matching those existing

conditions so we just did our little

homework on our site our region as well

as far as climate and conditions right

so how do we match the plant to that

well it’s it’s pretty simple actually

you basically start searching for plants

that that grow in your USDA zone

have the right soil type or our tolerant

of the the soil type that you have and

that’s you know all those

characteristics we listed out pH is one

you know I kind of glossed over but it’s

incredibly important the organic matter

that you have in your soil the moisture

level and the sunlight you have there

those are all very important

considerations so basically looking for

the plants that fit the conditions that

you have is much easier than trying to

alter the existing conditions on your

site okay and that is the if there is

like one trick or magical piece of

low-maintenance landscape design it is

that it’s instead of trying to alter

your site or your location to fit the

plant that you want it’s finding the

right plants that fit and grow and

thrive in your site okay and and that’s

really the key to low maintenance

landscaping and that’s what we’re

talking about here so now that you

understand your space you can go out and

find the right plants to fit your space

okay so we’ve talked about matching our

existing conditions we’ve talked about

the growth habits it’s in the next piece

of check and this is more of a I guess

you could call it like an ethical thing

or a responsibility thing is

understanding whether the plants you’re

considering are dispersive or aggressive

and you know some people like to use the

word invasive you can use that as well

if you like so these are plants that

even though they may be planted in your

specific space how do they affect the

neighborhood around you the region

around you how do they affect the houses

down the street are you going to have

plants popping up around you that while

they might look pretty they might be

disrupting things as well and so these

are plants that kind of escape the

landscape the designed space of our

homes and they get into the environment

and they can really disrupt things so

it’s it’s worth considering and checking

out to make sure that the plants you’re

planting aren’t wreaking havoc on the

spaces around you and it might seem like

you know okay well they’re gonna look

more pretty or whatever but if they’re

if there’s something that’s expanding


a space that is potentially sensitive or

could be you know established with other

plants that are in fragile relationships

already because we’ve kind of you know

taken away a lot of forests and natural

spaces across this this continent maybe

you know we could actually be

introducing stuff that’s out competing

the the plants that really need that

space to grow if that makes any sense

okay so what you can do here to

understand if your plant is dispersive

or aggressive or so-called invasive is

to check local resources for listings of

plants that are discouraged you can

check with State Agricultural Extension

offices and folks you know we all have

access to Google if you can be listening

to this podcast I’m sure you can check

out Google as well and Google can be a

very helpful resource tool for

understanding some of this stuff so some

examples here in my specific area of the

Midwest is the calorie pair or the

Bradford pear so these are selected pear

trees to have small tiny fruits and

beautiful blooms they get you know a

nice pear shaped structure to the tree

as well and they’ve been selected for

landscape use well unfortunately these

trees have caused massive problems in

the edge habitats across our Midwest

region where they take over a space

along with other invasives and it’s

really difficult for a lot of the native

plants to establish there and so so it’s

actually just recently been banned for

sale in Ohio completely in landscape

nurseries across the state so that’s the

extent where it’s caused problems has

now been finally realized many years

after introduction that that it’s

actually it’s causing such a problem

even though it’s kind of a pretty tree

for a few months or a few weeks of the

year with its flowers it actually causes

a lot of problems the rest of the year

by out competing a lot of plants that

should be in that space

similarly there’s another plant in Ohio

called purple loosestrife and this plant

is it has beautiful flower spikes on it

bright pink flowers looks really great

pretty well it takes care of itself

pretty well basically and it also grows

in wet conditions very well well it

turns out that this plant while it is

really beautiful and pretty easy to

maintain once you establish it that it

also is really a dispersive in expansive

in marsh conditions so anywhere there’s

these wet conditions it’s really

disrupting a lot of natural ecosystems

in waterways that taking over very

sensitive native plants and very

sensitive space along water edges that’s

you know pretty sensitive habitat so

it’s actually causing a lot of problems

in and just like the the pears the

cultivated pears this purple loosestrife

has also been banned for sale in Ohio so

it goes to show you that it’s kind of a

little bit you know late on that front

but that’s where it’s important you know

whatever your plants you’re considering

check to see if it’s considered as a and

invasive and this primarily goes for the

exotic plants so is it an exotic

invasive sometimes the the term invasive

is a little bit I would say misused

where it just means that a plant grows

really well in a space and that by

itself doesn’t mean it’s an invasive it

just means it’s growing where we don’t

want it and so it’s good to check up on

that and just see kind of do your

research and figure out okay is this

plant going to take over an ecosystem

where it shouldn’t be in the first place

okay so with that the next piece is your

style right we haven’t talked about that

and that’s really important for making

sure that it’s a plant you’re going to

enjoy that you’re going to be happy with

and you know if it’s not something you

enjoy and you’re going to be happy with

it that well I guess that means the

contrary right you’re going to be

dissatisfied and you’re not going to

like the choice you might end up havin


replace it if it really bothers you and

so we want to make sure that whatever

low maintenance plants you put in your

space they match your style preferences

and they also match the need for the

space so when we’re talking about

finding our plants find what you like

that fits in the space it could be

native it could be exotic but you know

make sure if it’s what your preferences

are there and if you want I do have a

previous episode on natives and exotics

as well you can check out it should have

the color that you want so that could be

the foliage the bloom and also meet the

timing that you want and this gang goes

for both foliage and blooming so does it

you know change color in the fall does

it have a bloom when you want to have

blooms so does it bloom in late summer

or does it blue on an early spring or do

you want to mixed plantings of blooms so

you get blooms all through the year of

different plants at different heights so

so you can get really in-depth with this

stuff pretty quick but just make sure it

matches the Preferences of what you want

maybe you just want something that kind

of fills the space in looks Green has a

nice structure to it has you know maybe

some unique leaf patterns and that’s all

you want and that’s fine too

so just kind of make sure whatever your

preferences are make sure you’re clear

on them try and picture them as best you

can which can be difficult and then go

find what fits in that space okay all

right now you guys you know I can’t be

talking about plants too much without

just getting into a few specifics so

even though I said this isn’t gonna be a

big long list episode I know you guys

would love to hear a few examples of a

few plants that are awesome and I can’t

help myself anyway so lucky for you I’ve

got a couple of plants here that I’d

love to talk about and I’d love to have

you try them out in your landscape if it

fits right and if it fits your needs as

well and your desires and your

preferences so if it doesn’t don’t

consider these plants so the plants I’m

talking about here I’ve only pulled out

three so of the whole world of plants

these are only three plants and they do

not equal the best plants in the world

and they do not equal the best plants


you’re space these are just three plants

that I like they work in a lot of

conditions across the United States that

do not work in all conditions there I

don’t know if there is a plant that were

maybe the dandelion right maybe we just

need to start loving the dandelion I

don’t know if there’s a plant that works

in all conditions even just in the

United States let alone the rest of the

world right so with that said you know

these these work for most of the United

States make sure you check your specific

area in your specific conditions and the

first plant I like this one because it’s

so versatile because it does kind of

have a you can have it where it kind of

has a cultivated look or even a very

naturalistic look depending upon the

variety or just straight species of

plant that you select and so this plant

and it could be anything from a ground

cover to a tree as well so just for the

sheer versatility of this plant I really

like it and that’s the juniper tree okay

so the juniper tree also very close

relative to cedar so you may be familiar

with one or the other but these both of

these species are so when I’m talking

about the juniper tree I’m talking

specifically about the scientific name

Juniperus virginiana and the cedar is

Juniperus communis so they’re very

closely related and I’m listing out the

scientific names not to be a nerd which

let’s face it guys I have a podcast

about plants and landscaping right so I

add the lost cause there but I’m not

doing it to assert my nerdism it’s to be

specific and to make sure because of so

many different common names that we are

understanding what the right plant we’re

talking about is and I have these

spellings in the show notes so I don’t

expect you to phonetically understand

what I’m saying there and just know what

to look up but I do have it written in

the show notes so you can check out the

names of these plants if you’re trying

to research them so okay with that aside

finished let’s talk about the Juniper so

the Juniper and cedar are native to much

of the northern

this fear there are tons of cult of

cultivated varieties that range from

anything from a ground cover to a

medium-sized tree and the ground covers

can be a very small ground cover or kind

of like a spreading ground cover that

goes all the way up to like six feet

wide and with these you get some

different foliage color from like your

dark evergreen color to kind of like a

grayish hue as well so there’s some

really cool varieties out there it is

primarily an evergreen tree so that’s

really cool too and and why I’m bringing

this up now this tree up or shrub or

ground cover whatever you want to call

it this the Swiss Army knife of a plant

is that it tolerates a huge wide range

of soils and also a very wide range of

moisture so given multiple soil

conditions anything from it this tree

can grow on like bare rock cliffs and

and it also of course can grow in like

really rich soils at the same time too

so it can kind of establish in and I

like kind of scrubland meadow pastures

that are really starting to get rich

anything from I guess degraded soils

also very rich soil meadows to rocky

crags right so it’s I think you get the

picture it’s pretty tolerant of a lot of

conditions now there is one trade off

with this plant as with most plants

there’s you know again I wouldn’t call

it necessarily a trade off but from the

plants standpoint but for us it might be

so the the Juniper does prefer full Sun

I have seen these eastern red cedars

growing in partial Sun conditions in the

woods where there’s like semi open

glades but the reality is it does not

prefer that condition it’s a little more

sparsely I guess the foliage is a bit

more sparse when it’s in that condition

it can do it can grow just fine there

but it’s not going to be the ornamental

specimen you may be you might be looking

for so just something to consider there

okay so juniper highly recommended from

a versatility standpoint and also


it’s an evergreen as well it it’s nice

to have some evergreens to consider okay

so next plant what’s next right so I

wanted to have some examples of a tree

slash ground should cover slash rabbi

guess but primarily that I guess when I

first thought about those thinking of a

larger longer lived plant like a tree

well I also wanted to give you a

herbaceous perennial so like you’re a

perennial flower type plant as well as a

grass and so the as a perennial flower

herbaceous example I have the heart

leaved aster and I selected this one for

specific reason is because people are

always asking well what do I grow in

shade right I have a bunch of hostas

right hostas are so common for shade

conditions and they look really pretty

they are exotic so if you if you prefer

to go native with some stuff what’s

something that I can plant that’s native

to the United States or maybe just not

it maybe it’s just not a hosta right

hostas are kind of overused sometimes

now so what’s something that can grow in

shade well the heart leaved aster which

I’ll attempt to pronounce this one

scientific name is Cynthia trichome


okay the heart leaved aster has

beautiful late summer blooms it

tolerates a huge wide range of soils

again it also tolerates a wide range of

moisture it does really well in shade

and it can also live in Sun so that’s

really cool because there’s a few plants

that do well both in mostly full shade

all the way to full Sun and so this is

one that does pretty well across so a

wide range of light conditions now I did

say it tolerates a really wide range of

soils the reality is it does have a

preference though it does prefer

moderately fertile soil so if you have

like just like hardpan soil this this

plant is probably not for you but if you

have kind of like okay soil like most of

us do in our yards this guy I’ll do all

right basically if you can grow a lawn

in your soil it’s probably fertile


to try and grow this guy okay and the

cool thing again is that this is a

herbaceous perennial plant that does

pretty well in shade and that’s really

cool and you get these really pretty

blue flower clusters on as well in the

late summer so there you go

so juniper heart leaved aster now for a


I really recommend prairie dropseed now

admittedly for for prairie dropseed it’s

a grass and some people hate that but

think about next time you’re driving

down the road looking at different

landscapes look how often grass is used

it’s a beautiful texturizing agent for

lots of different designs both as a

ground cover as an accent as his winter

texture for those of us that live in

winter areas it grasses are so versatile

and they they they just provide that

beautiful vertical structure in the

garden space so prairie dropseed is a

beautiful plant and it actually when

it’s in bloom even though the flowers

aren’t striking the it has a beautiful

scent to the bloom as well so that’s

something really cool now prairie


is a shorter growing grass it’s not one

of your super tall grasses but it

tolerates all sorts of conditions and

the one trade-off here is it does per

for full Sun and it prefers not to be in

just totally waterlogged spaces so if

you’re looking in a space that’s just

really really wet this probably isn’t

the right grass for you but aside from

being really wet and really shady this

grass is awesome so something to check

out okay so I have to stop myself

because we could talk for hours on all

sorts of different plants and I’m by no

means an encyclopedia of plant knowledge

but every day it seems I’m discovering

new plants and it’s really awesome I

love talking about plants and learning

about plants and all the different

characteristics of each of them all the

benefits of different plants and their

interactions and stuff but I do have to

limit myself

I said only three plants today that’s

all we’re doing and if you guys do want

to learn some more plants you could

plant I have a cool list I’ve put

together so you can check the show notes

for a low maintenance plants list that

you can get dropped right in your inbox

and and it’s a nice loot that I have a

couple more there too but you know not

to be overwhelming but I think I’ve have

about ten plants on there that you can

check out that are great low maintenance

plants that work in most areas of the

United States again it’s really hard to

have a comprehensive list of stuff that

works everywhere because it’s just

something that’s so difficult to attain

so with that said I recommend if you

want to hear or learn about more plants

check out that low Maenads plants list

and all the resources i’ve listed or

mentioned today are listed in the show

notes so you can check out the show

notes as well now if you guys want to

learn more of course I’ve mentioned it

before and I’ll mention again I offer

consultation and and if you really just

want to dive deep into your landscape

and understanding what you can do to

make the greatest impact in your

landscape to increase beauty and save

time spent on maintaining your landscape

so you can do more to do the things you

love in your life

consider consulting with me and you can

go over to easy living yards calm slash

consulting and you can read about all

the options that are available to

consult with me and with that guys

thanks for tuning in and make sure you

live in passion and make tomorrow better

than today