Your home isn’t just four walls and a roof. Your backyard can be almost as important, an opportunity to show off your personality and a place where you can relax and create memories. Knowing what to plant in your new backyard is half the battle when deciding on how to make your outdoor space your own. Choosing plants that are native to the NOLA area is an essential part of making sure that the plants will easily survive the hot and humid climate, and can be a great way to spruce up any hardscaping design. Adding in those native plants that are also low maintenance will make your life a lot easier. Check out these six low-maintenance plants perfect for a New Orleans garden.
1. Southern Magnolia
A true icon of Southern gardens, the Southern Magnolia is an excellent choice for those homeowners looking for a touch of Southern charm. This flowering tree is a popular choice due to its beautiful white blooms that appear annually each Spring. It is a large tree that should have more than enough space to grow as some become up to 60 feet high and 40 feet around at maturity. It’s important to know (this may be a positive or a negative for you), the Southern Magnolia grows slowly and attracts lots of activity from birds, squirrels, and rabbits who eat the fruit after the blooms appear. Another aspect of this tree that is important to note involves that it needs to be protected from northerly winds.
2. Louisiana Phlox
Also known as the Woodland phlox, this bright blue perennial groundcover is excellent to use to fill in areas of your New Orleans garden. The blooms appear in spring, and the Louisiana phlox won’t grow more than 12 inches in height. Lucky for you and your maybe green(ish) thumb, it does well in both mostly sunny and shady conditions and provides a fragrant flower that attracts butterflies. No fall pruning is needed, but you can cut back the flowers to the lower green portions of the plant to encourage more growth.
3. Silver Bell
This small tree is an excellent option for those yards with established Black Walnut trees as they can handle the toxicity in the area. Silverbells prefer acidic soil and produce beautiful clusters of small white flowers every spring. Pruning after the blossoms arrive is helpful for this tree variety that enjoys lots of sunlight and well-drained soil. Add pops of color and choose from a few Silverbell varieties that include different shades of pink as well.
4. Gulf Coast Yucca
For a low maintenance plant, the Gulf Coast Yucca is about as low key as you can get. This perennial sub-shrub has a simple leaf shape and blooms exotic white flowers. Plant this bear grass in a sunny spot in the garden that is away from high traffic areas due to its sharp leaf blades. Then, enjoy the view!
5. Simpson’s Rosinweed
Known as a perennial wildflower, Simpson’s Rosinweed can reach up to 5 feet high with large 2-inch yellow blooms that show out from summer to fall every year. The yellow flowers attract plenty of attention from area pollinators making this an excellent option for supporting the local environment as well. Simpson’s Rosinweed requires a low amount of water, making it an excellent choice for hot Nola summers. It does best in well-drained soil but isn’t too picky about living in other soil conditions as well.
6. Blue-Eyed Grass
This herbaceous perennial is excellent to use along walkways or borders within a New Orleans garden. Blue-Eyed Grass is a short grass that features violet-blue flowers that appear in late spring and continue through summer. It prefers partial shade to full sun and may need to be watered weekly in the hot summer conditions of the area. Blue-Eyed Grass is quick to reach the full height at around 12-18” and is commonly used among a rock garden to add interest to your outdoor space.
When it comes to your lawn care and gardening, choosing low maintenance options is essential. If you’re like me, you’d prefer more time to enjoy your garden than you spend working on it. Make sure to choose native plants that can handle the Nola climate conditions as well as offer a wide variety of nectar for area pollinators. Consider adding any or all of these six low maintenance plants perfect for a New Orleans garden!
Written in conjunction with Jacob Palmer of LawnStarter.
Jacob Palmer is a gardening and landscape design writer. When mowing lawns on his street as a child, he discovered a lifelong passion for landscape design. He now has three children who can all be found helping him most weekends with his next big garden project.
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