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The 7 plants that will transform your low maintenance garden

It should come as no surprise that there are no zero maintenance gardens, but low maintenance gardening is popular for many reasons. For someone who is new to gardening, it can be daunting as there is certainly a lot to learn, and it can be expensive if you get it wrong. Gardening can also be off-putting if you have a full-time job, if you have a disability or if you simply don’t think you’ll enjoy or keep up with the maintenance. You may be gardening at an older age, meaning you need to be more careful with what you do physically.

The best place to start is by looking at what you’re working with and deciding what is most important to you. As an example, if you are keen to grow your own vegetables and herbs, choose an area that 

Cacti and succulents

Cacti and succulents are amazing plants that are perfect low-maintenance plants as they can be kept indoors. Bright light is a must for cactus and succulents to grow successfully. Grow them for best results in a sunny window, or under artificial lights. They deal quite well with being in a place like a conservatory if you have one. Rattan conservatory furniture in a dark colour can give a conservatory or living room a great look – cacti or succulent in a pot can make a room feel even more homely.

Maintain the health of your plants throughout the year by tailoring your indoor treatment to the changing seasons. Throughout autumn and winter, as the days shorten, and the light intensity decreases your plants will need less water.

In winter, move cacti and succulents to a cool, draught-free location. The best wintering spot for those plants may be a sunny window with artificial lights. The cooler temperatures will help these sun-loving plants adjust to the low winter light. Set the watering time to co-adjust

Apple trees

It may sound daunting, but apple trees are not just for the seasoned pro. And they are also not just for people with acres of space – some varieties can be grown in a border.

Make sure you buy a self-pollinating tree, otherwise your tree may not bear fruit. Simply ask at your local garden centre and they should be able to help you with this. Apple trees, in general, prefer a sunny location, however, they can be planted during the winter, as long as the ground is not hard with frost.

Not only do you get a beautiful blossom in spring, but you can harvest your own apples through summer and autumn. You also get that fantastic autumn foliage colour and the branches are perfect for nesting birds, who will feast on your apples too and bring life to your garden. 

Buddleja

A buddleja is also known as a butterfly bush due to the long spires of small flowers it produces that attract butterflies. They are great for putting into beds and borders if you have recently moved to a house with a larger garden or are branching out from container planting. 

Make sure you are vigorous when pruning as they can grow very large if left unchecked. Make sure you cut it back to one or two buds from the old woody growth. It is usually a cheap plant to buy and comes in a massive range of colours from white to pinks, reds, blues and of course the classic purple. It is commonly known as the butterfly bush for the number of butterflies it attracts. A buddleja is happy all soil types and will grow well in a sunny or partially shaded spot in your garden.

Forsythia

Forsythia is a low-maintenance and easy-going shrub to give your garden a vibrant cloud of yellow flowers in spring. It will require a spot in the sun but will be quite happy in all soil types and aspects. When it comes to a UK winter, they will survive comfortably, and their early spring bloom is a welcome sight before the rest of the garden has woken up. 

Again, Forsythia is prone to grow quite large if left to its own devices, so regular clipping back is necessary. It can make a beautiful hedge if clipped annually.

Honeysuckle

This climbing plant will add a bit of height and structure to your garden and would be a great way to brighten up walls or fences. If you have never grown a climbing plant before then honeysuckle is a fantastic place to start.

Honeysuckle will thrive in full sun or dappled shade in any soil type and is semi-evergreen, which means it will bring foliage colour to your garden all year round, depending on how brutal the winter is. In the summer it brings beautiful sweetly scented flowers that look delicate but are really hardy.

A variety of Honeysuckle called halliana is a beautiful variety with white and yellow flowers that have a heady scent. Or plant Dutch early Belgica and Dutch late Serotina in the same hole for flowers blooming between May to September. They also produce berries that the birds will love.

Herbs

Herbs are the best plants to try if you want to add another element to your gardening.  

You can get real satisfaction in using fresh herbs you have grown yourself in the kitchen. They’re also so easy to grow indoors or outdoors and can easily be grown in containers to save space. Rosemary will thrive in poor soil and needs very little water. Sage, lavender and mint are also good plants for growing however remember mint can be a little rampant – so may be best in a pot.

Try growing thyme, basil, parsley and oregano together in a warm, sunny border or in pots on the patio. They are relatively cheap to buy and only need a light trim to keep them looking healthy.

Vegetables

Growing vegetables has many advantages – similarly to herbs, you can save money and also enjoy eating your hard work. Growing vegetables is easier than you think. Start with radishes, sweetcorn, swiss chard, beetroot, spring onions and carrots, then see what takes your fancy. The possibilities are endless!

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