Top 5 Over-used Landscape Plants and Possible Replacements
Driving around looking at landscapes (both old and new) can become quite boring. Same plants used over and over again. This is usually because they are low-maintenance or flower a long time. Both of which I understand, but there are some great alternatives.
Here are my top 5 over- used plants and their possible replacements.
#1- Taxus Yes, I work at Home Nursery where our biggest seller is Taxus, but something about a landscape of all Taxus does nothing for me. They are probably the lowest maintenance plant you can find and they will grow just about anywhere. Taxus are great for the right situation, but not as your only foundation plant! Taxus come in many different forms- uprights, spreaders and large shrubs. So, suggesting a replacement is hard. Boxwood, Hemlock, Chamecyparis and Junipers offer a different texture and color in similar forms.
#2- Knock Out Roses These things are everywhere! I agree they are pretty, disease resistant and grow like crazy. Unless they are going to be trimmed frequently, these do not belong in front of windows as a foundation plant. Knock- Outs will get to 4-5’+. When the Knock- Outs were introduced they were amazing compared to the Nearly Wild. But newer introductions are just as good. Check out the Drift and Oso Easy roses. There are many color options and stay manageable in the foundation plantings.
#3- Spirea These are low- maintenance and flower, but they are just boring meatballs. There are some newer varieties out that are improvements. For example, Sundrop and Super Star are a little brighter than Goldmound and Anthony Waterer. Why not try some of the new dwarf Weigela? Some have a dark red or variegated leaf and a pink flowers. Check out Weigela Dark Horse and Weigela French Lace.
#4- Euonymus alatus- Burning Bush It’s hard to beat the red foliage of this plant in the fall, but what else is great about this plant? It doesn’t flower in the spring or summer; bark isn’t pretty in the winter. Consider Itea Little Henry as an alternative. It flowers in the summer and has great purple- red fall color too.
#5- Arborvitae Emerald Green- Need a quick hedge? Emerald Green seems to be the plant of choice. After a drought you can pick them out much easier because they are brown. Emerald Greens make a fast hedge, but there are better options. Consider upright Junipers. They come is blue and green foliage, different sizes and textures. Junipers are much more adaptable to hot/ dry conditions and most of them grow fast too.
There are many options when it comes to plant material. Do your research, tour a botanical garden or ask a garden center employee to suggest an under used plant. I would bet that these over used plants are not their recommendation. Consider what the plants look like in all seasons; flowers or foliage color in spring/ summer, fall color, bark in winter. The over used plants are good, but who wants a landscape that looks like everyone else’s?