Gardening is a hobby many people love, and it should be therapeutic, not contribute to stress.  With hectic daily routines from work to family obligations, you may think even though you want a garden, you just don’t have time to maintain one.  Well, don’t worry because you can have a thriving and colorful garden without giving up other activities and without the headache of constant weeding, deadheading, watering, and trimming.

Having a low maintenance garden is especially important for gardening novices who don’t want their gardens to be an intimidating project, but a relaxing one with time to enjoy their flora and fauna.  Of course, every garden requires some maintenance, and any vegetation or flower needs attention.  The trick is discovering which ones need less and understanding if they will work in the garden you’re planning.

Carol Witschel, owner of Wisspering Pines Garden Center and Landscape Design in Dingmans Ferry, said low maintenance gardeners should select drought tolerant plants.  “Since water is the most important care plants and flowers need, plants that require very little are perfect for people who don’t have much time,” she said.  According to Carol, flowers that need relatively little water and do not require frequent deadheading include lavender, catmint, lantana, sweet alyssum, and diamond frost euphorbia.

Plants and shrubs that are drought resistant and low maintenance include Russian sage, juniper, yucca, cotoneaster, and barberry.  “It’s important to keep in mind that all plants and flowers will need watering for some time after planting to establish good root systems,” said Carol.

According to Suzanne Kohrs, owner of Bold’s Florist and Garden Center in Honesdale, a variety of annuals exist that like the sun and require minimal watering such as begonias, portulaca, salvia, celosia, nicotiana, zinnia, gazina, and vinca flower.  Some examples of perennials that thrive in the sun and require little care are ornamental grasses, verbena, and echinacea.  There are perennials that love the shade, such as bleeding hearts, geranium, hosta, ferns, and columbine.  Herbs that love a lot of sun and need little watering are basil, rosemary, parsley, thyme, sage, cilantro, oregano, and mint.  Using mulch is a great way to reduce work in a garden.  “In addition to mulch, administering peat moss around plants helps with watering and keeps weeds under control,” said Suzanne.

The staff at Wisspering Pines recommends all plants and flowers be installed with two to four inches of an organic or hardwood mulch.  While this takes initial effort, it pays off in the end because the mulch helps the plants retain water, keeps roots cool, discourages weed growth, and gives the garden a tidy appearance.  Another low maintenance ingredient is a time release fertilizer.  “It generally needs application only once per season and will keep your flowers blooming and plants and shrubs healthy,” said Carol.

“Make sure you put compatible fertilizer with plants,” advised Suzanne.  “Too much nitrogen will make your plants tall and leafy. For blooming plants, you need fertilizer with high phosphate,” she added.

Stress less and be lazy in your garden this spring!


1. Shrubs and trees are good in any garden because they provide visual interest without too much effort.

2. If you’re a container gardener, keep in mind that the smaller the pot, the more quickly the soil dries out and needs watering.

3. Plants that are drought resistant tend to be more hardy and are able to with stand weather extremes, pests, and other abuses.

4. Read labels on the fertilizer for suggested amounts.  If in doubt, use less.

5. Use a good base potting soil.  Make sure it’s light and fluffy to the touch because roots cannot grow in heavy soil.