Low maintenance suggests plants characterized by their ability to look good without much input from the gardener. These plants are adaptable to a variety of soils and light levels, and require minimal pruning, grooming, deadheading, staking, fertilizing and dividing. This is the definition used to choose the following plants; neither the definition nor the plant list is intended to be complete.
Drought tolerance (DT) is of paramount importance in some low maintenance gardens, but in others water is readily available, therefore, drought tolerant plants will be marked with DT.
Choosing low maintenance plants is one way to minimize garden maintenance, but there are also other considerations, including the following.
Conifers, Trees, and Shrubs require the least maintenance of any group of plants. As long as their mature size is accommodated by the space they are in, little to no maintenance should be expected once established.
NW Natives have a reputation as being uniformly low maintenance. Here are some of the easiest to grow.
Grasses are a remarkably uniform group with respect to the amount of maintenance required. Deciduous grasses need to be cut back once a year in February. Most years, evergreen grasses need at least some grooming at the same time. Grasses which reseed readily should be avoided to minimize weeding.
Edibles as a group require a lot of maintenance and should be avoided if low maintenance is a priority, however, the following ones may be left alone and harvested from as desired.
* These are the lowest maintenance fruit trees for the PNW, however they still require annual pruning, climbing a ladder to harvest all the fruit, and may require spraying.
Perennials as a group require generally more maintenance. They will likely need some deadheading during the growing season, cutting back in the fall, and dividing of vigorous spreaders. That being said, here are some sturdy perennials which require very little tending while still looking good over a long season. Perennials grow quickly, making a garden appear mature sooner.