The Q&A Archives: Low Maintenance Plants

Question: I sit on the board of a homeowners association. We live in a community of townhouses and I'm trying to put together a pre-approved list of plants for homeowners to use as a guide when landscaping the fronts of their homes. We're looking for plants that are: 1)evergreen 2)low maintenance and/or minimal pruning 3)can handle scheduled watering 4) don't grow too large as they are mostly in flower beds no deeper than 3-4 feet 5) flowers are ok. What plants can you recommend for our climate area that meet these criteria?

Thank you so much for your time.


Answer: Some of the best plants for you to use are California Native (or near-native) plants. Here's a partial list:
Aloysia lycioides (White Brush); Amaranthus palmeri (Palmer's Amaranth); Ambrosia ambrosioides (Canyon Ragweed); Ambrosia deltoidea (Triangle-leaf Bursage); Ambrosia dumosa (White Bursage); Anisacanthus Thurberi (Desert Honeysuckle); Asclepias subulata (Desert Milkweed); Atriplex hymenelytra (Desert-Holly); Brberis haematocarpa (Red Barberry); Brickellia californicum (Bricklebush); Calliandra eriophylla (Fairy Duster, False Mesquite); Carlowrightia arizonica (Carlowrightia);
Celtis Pallida (Spiny or Desert Hackberry); Dalea wislizeni (Indigo Bush); Dodenaea viscosa (Hop Bush); Encelia farinosa (Brittlebush); Encelia frutescens (Green Brittlebush); Ephedra nevadensis (Mormon Tea); Eysenhardtia polystacha (Kidneywood);
Hymenoclea salsola (Cheesebrush); Hyptis emoryi (Desert lavender); Larrea tridenta (Creosote Bush); Lotus rigidus (Desert Rock Pea); Lycium andersonii (Anderson's Lycium); Mimosa biuncifera (Catclaw, Wait-a-minute Bush); Senecio douglasii (Threadleaf Groundsel); Vauquelinia californica (Arizona Rosewood ); Viguiera deltoidea (Golden-eye).

Recommended Native Flowers

Abronia villosa (Sand Verbena); Aquilegia chrysantha (Golden Columbine); Argenome platyceras (Prickly Poppy); Bahia absinthifolia (Desert Daisy); Baileya multiradiata
(Desert Marigold); Calyophus serrulatus (Dwarf Sundrops); Cassia covesii (Desert Senna ); Datura Wrightii (Sacred Datura); Dichelostemma pulchellum (Bluedicks);
Erigeron divergens (Spreading fleabane); Eschscholtzia californica ( California Poppy); Eschscholtzia mexicana (Mexican Poppy); Justicia sonorae (Sonoran Justicia);
Lupinus sparsiflorus (Desert Lupine); Mimulus cardinalis (Cardinal Monkey Flower);
Mimulus guttatus (Yellow Monkey Flower); Oenthera caespitosa (Tufted Evening Primrose); Penstemon subulatus (Beard Tongue); Phacelia campanularia (Desert Bluebells); Psilostrophe cooperi (Paperdaisy); Solanum hinsianum (Sonoran Nightshade); Sphaeralcea ambigua (Globe-Mallow); Zinnia acerosa (Desert Zinnia);
Zinnia grandiflora (Little Golden Zinnia).

Hope these suggestions get you started on a wonderful master plan for your community.

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