If you’re looking for plants and grasses that don’t require much maintenance, you’ve come to the right place. This blog post will discuss some of the best low-maintenance plants and grasses for the Chesapeake Bay area region. Remember that different plants and grasses will thrive in other areas, so research before selecting the right ones.
So let’s dive in and talk about some good low-maintenance plants and grasses for your yard!
Low-maintenance landscaping is an ideal solution for many homeowners, so how do you start the plant selection process? In a perfect world, you want your yard projects and garden to take up a few hours of your time each week or less. The labor should be something that is at least tolerable to perform.
The best low-maintenance plants and grasses for the Chesapeake Bay area region
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance landscape, our Chesapeake native grasses and sedges are essential. Ornamental, clumping grasses that are deep-rooted only require one task per year: cutting them back in late March or early April as new growth starts at the bottom. The roots of grasses can go deep underground, which helps them stay green during droughts since they can access water from lower depths. They also don’t need nutrient-rich soil to survive like other plants.
Do you have sunny hot spots in your yard?
Here are three great candidates for areas that are windswept or have dry, hot spots:
Tall Switchgrass, Panicum virgatum ‘Cloud Nine’: Watch this grass grow! In only a few short months, it will mature to 7 feet (8 feet when in bloom), with beautiful blue-green leaves that turn golden in the fall. This native cultivar gets its name from the delicate rosy puff clouds that appear above the leaves when they bloom.
Pink Muhly Grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris: The stunning pink-plumed grass is also salt tolerant and drought resistant. There are many cultivars and heights, although the straight kind is ideal for most garden beds at 4 feet tall. The primary disadvantage is that excess water, fertilizer, or poor winter drainage might harm it. Water it during dry spells while it’s establishing, then let it alone.
Little Bluestem, Schizachyrium scoparium: Blue grass, also known as “Blue Ice,” may be used to add structure and winter interest in a garden setting. Fall turns reddish-sienna in hue as the season passes. In ordinary garden soil (e.g., ‘The Blues’ or ‘Standing Ovation’), cultivars are less floppy and stand straighter (for example, ‘The Blues’ or ‘Standing Ovation’).
For a shady spot
Many grass-like plants in the carex family make great sedges. Here are three of our favorites, but feel free to explore and find your perfect plant.
Bristle-leaf sedge, Carex eburnea: This plant is perfect for dry, shady areas under trees. It’s a 12-inch high ball of fine texture that’s reasonably drought tolerant and looks great in masses or mixed in with wild columbine. This plant grows in neat clumps and isn’t too fast spreading. However, it prefers alkaline soil over other types of soil.
Creek sedge, Carex amphibola: Perfect for creating stability on a sloped area next to a ditch or body of water, the 18-inch-tall plant does so by rhizome and from seed. It prefers damper regions but can survive most environments except sunny and hot places that are also dry.
Blue Wood Sedge, Carex flaccosperma: The smallest in the group, this 6-12 inch tall plant has a more rustic woodland look that works well mixed with ferns and spring ephemerals a shady garden.
Here are a couple of helpful resources:
1) Grass comparison chart: Hoffman Nurseries
2) Chesapeake native plant finder