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Low Maintenance Perennials

Well-documented research shows that green space has many positive effects on the health and well-being of people. However, according to the Dutch Ministry of Land Use, in densely populated cities in The Netherlands the amount of urban amenity plantings are well below the recommended level of 800 sq.ft. (74 sq. m) per home. If increasing the quantity of plantings is impossible, effectiveness and quality can be increased by creating more biodiversity in green areas.

Herbaceous perennials are an excellent group of plants with which to achieve more variety and color on small sites. They are eminently suitable for use as ground covers, in flower beds, under trees, along roads and waterways and as edging around shrubs. Using perennials is also an effective way to add color and interest to existing urban/public plantings.

Low maintenance perennials are affordable - While it is true that, comparatively, herbaceous perennials can be quite expensive to buy and that preparation of planting sites takes time and money, by using low maintenance species, the reduced maintenance costs compensate for the initial expenditures. Over a 10-year period, a perennial bed does not have to cost any more to maintain than a shrub border or lawn. To achieve this, the right plants have to be chosen; they should be healthy, sturdy and suppress weeds with their excellent ground covering abilities.

Essential conditions for low maintenance perennial plantings
• Improve the soil on the site and thoroughly remove all weeds before planting.
• Choose plants with requirements that match the site conditions, especially for light and moisture.
• Choose the right plants for the desired use (good ground covers for weed suppression, salt tolerant plants for roadsides, etc.)
• No one plant will be suitable for planting in every situation.
• Consider the plant knowledge level of the maintenance crews and be prepared to provide concise maintenance instructions.
• Plant the right number of plants per sq. ft./m for fast coverage.
• Weed and water when necessary and replace dead plants until the ground is covered (usually at the end of the first summer after planting).

Some suitable species for urban plantings:
Alchemilla, Aster, Echinacea, Geranium, Hemerocallis, Liriope, Nepeta, ornamental grasses, Pachysandra, Rudbeckia and Sedum.

  • Liriope muscari 'Classic Blue'

    Liriope muscari 'Classic Blue' (2.5 inch pot)

    Liriope muscari 'Classic Blue'Ingwersen Lily TurfLiriope muscari 'Classic Blue' (a.k.a.'Ingwersen') has ½" wide, green leaf blades. Blooms profusely with long, full, lavender flower spikes mid-Summer. Classic Blue Liriope stays in clump form. It...

    $2.37
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  • Carex appalachica

    Carex appalachica (3.5 inch pot)

    Carex appalachica Sedge - Appalachica SedgeVery fine, dark green, weeping blades, 12" long. Evergreen in warmer climates. Appalachian Sedge is a native to the Eastern U.S. Clumping nature-spreading slowly- makes it suitable for borders. A good ground...

    $5.74
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  • Carex flacca

    Carex laxiculmis 'Hobb' (3.5 inch pot)

    Carex laxiculmis 'Hobb' Common Name: Bunny Blue® Sedge, RushFamily: Cyperaceae Zone: 5 to 9 Height: 12 inches Spread: 12 inches Bloom Time: Insignificant yellowish flowers late spring. Part shade to full shade Water: Dry to medium Maintenance: Low...

    $6.10
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  • Carex flacca

    Carex flacca [a.k.a. glauca] (3.5 inch pot)

    Carex flacca [a.k.a. glauca] Common Name: Pennsylvania sedge Family: Cyperaceae Zone: 4 to 9 Height: 8 to 10 inches Spread: 6 to 12 inches Insignificant green flowers, late Spring. Part shade to full shade Water: Dry to medium Maintenance: Low Deer...

    $6.10
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  • Hemerocallis 'Stella Supreme'
Photo courtesy of Walters Gardens, Inc

    Hemerocallis STELLA SUPREME (25) BR Plants

    Hemerocallis 'Stella Supreme' (25) BR Plants (Berbee) Height: 14 InchesFlower Color: Yellow ShadesHardiness Zone: 3 - 9 This daylily is similar in blooming behavior as the ever-popular ‘Stella de Oro’, but differs in terms of flower color...

    $166.60
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  • Rudbeckia fulgida 'Goldsturm'

    Rudbeckia fulgida 'Goldsturm' (3.5 inch pot)

    Rudbeckia fulgida 'Goldsturm' Common Name: Black-Eyed Susan, Coneflower. Zones 4 to 10, Sun. Plants reach 24 inches tall and 18 to 24 inches wide;Growth rate: Moderate, easy to grow. 1999 Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year.Royal Horticultural...

    $4.24
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  • Liriope spicata

    Liriope spicata (bare root plant)

    Liriope spicata a/k/a Creeping lilyturf Zones 4 to 10; Full sun, filtered sun or deep shade. Mature size 10 to 16 inches height, forms a dense grass-like groundcover. Spreads quickly by underground rhizomes to form colonies, and can be somewhat...

    $1.46
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  • Liriope spicata

    Liriope spicata (3.5 inch pot)

    Liriope spicata a/k/a Creeping lilyturf Zones 4 to 10; Full sun, filtered sun or deep shade. Mature size 10 to 16 inches height, forms a dense grass-like groundcover. Spreads quickly by underground rhizomes to form colonies, and can be somewhat...

    $3.58
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  • Liriope muscari 'Variegata'

    Liriope muscari 'Variegata' (3.5 inch pot)

    Liriope muscari 'Variegata' - Flat Variegated Lilyturf, Border Grass, Blue Lilyturf Zones 5 to 10; Full sun, filtered sun or deep shade. Mature size 10 to 16 inches height, forms a dense grass-like groundcover. Evergreen, clump-forming perennial with...

    $3.93
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  • Liriope muscari 'Variegata'

    Liriope muscari 'Variegata' (2.5 inch pot)

    Liriope muscari 'Variegata' - Flat Variegated Lilyturf, Border Grass, Blue Lilyturf Zones 5 to 10; Full sun, filtered sun or deep shade. Mature size 10 to 16 inches height, forms a dense grass-like groundcover. Evergreen, clump-forming perennial with...

    $2.61
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  • Liriope muscari 'Royal Purple'

    Liriope muscari 'Royal Purple' (bare root plant)

    Liriope muscari 'Royal Purple' Big Blue Lilyturf Zones 5 to 10; Full sun, filtered sun or deep shade. Mature size: 14 to 20 inches height,forms a dense grass-like groundcover. Evergreen, clump-forming perennial displays narrow blade-like, green foliage...

    $1.70
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  • Liriope muscari 'Royal Purple' (3.5 inch pot)

    Liriope muscari 'Royal Purple' (3.5 inch pot)

    Liriope muscari 'Royal Purple' Big Blue Lilyturf Zones 5 to 10; Full sun, filtered sun or deep shade. Mature size: 14 to 20 inches height,forms a dense grass-like groundcover. Evergreen, clump-forming perennial displays narrow blade-like, green foliage...

    $3.70
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  • Liriope muscari 'Big Blue'

    Liriope muscari 'Big Blue' (bare root plant)

    Liriope muscari 'Big Blue' Big Blue Lilyturf Zones 5 to 10; Full sun to dense shade. Mature size 12 to 18 inches height, clump forms a dense grass-like groundcover. Evergreen, clump-forming perennial displays wide blade-like, dark green foliage. Dense...

    $1.46
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  • Liriope muscari 'Big Blue'

    Liriope muscari 'Big Blue' (3.5 inch pot)

    Liriope muscari 'Big Blue' Big Blue Lilyturf Zones 5 to 10; Full sun to dense shade. Mature size 12 to 18 inches height, clump forms a dense grass-like groundcover. Evergreen, clump-forming perennial displays wide blade-like, dark green foliage. Dense...

    $3.58
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  • Liriope muscari 'Big Blue'

    Liriope muscari 'Big Blue' (2.5 inch pot)

    Liriope muscari 'Big Blue' Big Blue Lilyturf Zones 5 to 10; Full sun to dense shade. Mature size 12 to 18 inches height, clump forms a dense grass-like groundcover. Evergreen, clump-forming perennial displays wide blade-like, dark green foliage. Dense...

    $2.37
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  • Juniperus procumbens 'Nana'

    Juniperus procumbens 'Nana' (3.5 inch pot)

    Juniperus procumbens 'Nana' Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper Zone: 4 - 9 Evergreen Height: 1 foot Width: 4-5 feet Sun or Shade Very short, ground hugging juniper Dense mound of branches that radiate from the center New growth is bright green turning to...

    $5.75
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  • Juniperus h. 'Wiltonii'

    Juniperus h. 'Wiltonii' (3.5 inch pot)

    Juniperus h. 'Wiltonii' Blue Rug JuniperEvergreen Common Name: creeping juniper Type: Needled evergreen Family: Cupressaceae Zone: 3 to 9 Height: 4 to 6 inches Spread: 6 to 8 feet Sun: Full sun Water: Medium Maintenance: Low Trailing juniper has a...

    $4.54
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  • Juniperus c. 'Blue Pacific'

    Juniperus c. 'Blue Pacific' (3.5 inch pot)

    Juniperus c. 'Blue Pacific' Blue Pacific Shore JuniperCommon Name: shore juniper Type: Needled evergreen Family: Cupressaceae Zone: 6 to 9 Height: 6 to 12 inches Spread: 4 to 6 feet Sun: Full sun Water: Medium Maintenance: Low Use: Ground Cover,...

    $4.54
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  • Hemerocallis Stella de Oro

    Hemerocallis Stella de Oro (3.5 inch pot)

    Hemerocallis - STELLA DE ORO Daylily (Jablonski, 1975) Gold Self. Height is 11 inches with a 2.75 inch bloom. Early to Mid-Season Rebloomer, Dormant, Diploid, Fragrant. Stout Silver Medal 1985. Donn Fischer Memorial Award 1979, Award of Merit 1982. The...

    $3.94
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  • Carex pensylvanica

    Carex pensylvanica (3.5 inch pot)

    Carex pensylvanica Common Name: Pennsylvania sedge Family: Cyperaceae This species spreads quickly, forming a casual lawn alternative for shady places.  Zone: 3 to 9 Height: 6 to 12 inches Spread: 6 to 12 inches Bloom Time: May Part shade to...

    $5.74
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  • Carex oshimensis 'Evergold'

    Carex oshimensis 'Evergold' (3.5 inch pot)

    Carex hachijoensis 'Evergold' a/k/a Evergold Sedge, Sedge Grass, Variegated Japanese Sedge. Zone 5 to 10, Sun to part shade.Mature foliage height 8 to 12 inches, clump forming. Evergreen leaves with creamy yellow variegated center strip with deep green...

    $5.74
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  • Nepeta faassenii WALKER'S LOW

    Nepeta faassenii 'Walker's Low' (3.5 inch pot)

    WALKER'S LOW Nepeta faassenii a/k/a Catmint and Catnip Zones 3 to 8. Full Sun or part shade in the south.Up to 30 inches tall (if staked) and 3 feet wide. Arching upright habit. The cultivar name is somewhat misleading, the plant is named for its garden...

    $4.06
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  • Liriope spicata

    Liriope spicata (18)ct Flat

    Liriope spicata a/k/a Creeping lilyturf Zones 4 to 10; Full sun, filtered sun or deep shade. Mature size 10 to 16 inches height, forms a dense grass-like groundcover. Spreads quickly by underground rhizomes to form colonies, and can be somewhat...

    $83.40
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  • Liriope muscari 'Big Blue'

    Liriope muscari 'Big Blue' (18)ct Flat

    Liriope muscari 'Big Blue' Big Blue Lilyturf Zones 5 to 10; Full sun to dense shade. Mature size 12 to 18 inches height, clump forms a dense grass-like groundcover. Evergreen, clump-forming perennial displays wide blade-like, dark green foliage. Dense...

    $83.40
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  • Nepeta faassenii 'Walker's Low'

    Nepeta faassenii 'Walker's Low' (25) BR Plants

    Nepeta faassenii 'Walker's Low' a/k/a Catmint and CatnipZones 3 to 8. Full Sun or part shade in the south.Up to 30 inches tall (if staked) and 3 feet wide. Arching upright habit. The cultivar name is somewhat misleading, the plant is named for its garden...

    $159.40
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  • Daylily SOUTH SEAS

    Hemerocallis SOUTH SEAS (25) BR Plants

    Hemerocallis - SOUTH SEAS (Moldovan, 1993) Tangerine coral with red coral band above yellow green throat. Height is 30 inches with 5.5 inch bloom.Mid Season Rebloomer, Dormant, Tetraploid, Fragrant. Coral-tangerine tepals with a reddish-coral band and...

    $254.60
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  • Geranium 'Rozanne' PP12175

    Geranium 'Rozanne' PP12175 (20) ct Flat

    Geranium 'Rozanne' PP12175 (20) ct Flat Common Name: Hardy Geranium, Cranesbill. Zones 4 to 8; Full Sun to part shade. Mature size 18 to 20 inch height, spreads 24 to 36 inches. Up to 2.5 inches diameter, saucer-shaped, violet blue flowers with...

    $183.80
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  • Echinacea p. 'Magnus'

    Echinacea p. 'Magnus' (30)ct Flat

    Echinacea p. 'Magnus' PURPLE CONEFLOWER The classic purple coneflower. Beautiful rose pink ray petals with a coppery brown, spiky central cone. Petals are held horizontally, making the flowers appear even bigger. Newer blooms are more intense in color...

    $131.80
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  • Carex hachijoensis 'Evergold'
Photos courtesy of Walters Gardens, Inc.

    Carex oshimensis 'Evergold' (30)ct Flat

    Carex oshimensis 'Evergold' a/k/a Evergold Sedge, Sedge Grass, Variegated Japanese Sedge. Zone 5 to 10, Sun to part shade.Mature foliage height 8 to 12 inches, clump forming. Evergreen leaves with creamy yellow variegated center strip with deep...

    $187.96
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  • Daylily HAPPY RETURNS

    Hemerocallis HAPPY RETURNS (25) BR Plants

    Hemerocallis - HAPPY RETURNS Daylily (Apps 1986) (25) bare root clumps An extremely popular and widely used reblooming daylily 3', fragrant, canary yellow complete self Tepal edges are slightly crimped Of 'Stella de Oro' parentage, though flowers...

    $162.60
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