low maintenance landscaping plants Pennsylvania

15 Low Maintenance Landscaping Plants For Pennsylvania

There are approximately 2100 native plants in Pennsylvania, including trees, shrubs, perennial herbs, grass, and many more. Most of them can be planted in your own garden. As native species, they are much more adaptable to the local climate and growing conditions. Hence, they won’t make you full of hands.

If you are passionate about exploring low-maintenance landscaping ideas or happen to be a landscape designer, then you must love our amazing collection of low-maintenance landscaping plants for your Pennsylvania garden.

Each of them has its distinctive characteristics that are eager to showcase beauty to you. You can surely choose plants that fit you best and look great for your own landscape from our list!

1. Beardtongue (Penstemon)

Before having a low-maintenance landscape, you must choose a great low-maintenance plant material. And perhaps, Penstemon digitalis is something you are looking for to add to your garden.

This native plant features bell-shaped white flowers with a touch of lavender, creating a stunning blend. Its erect stems that carry pairs of blooms make it a lovely plant for either natural landscape or perennial borders in the summer.

low maintenance landscaping plants Pennsylvania
Beardtongue
low maintenance landscaping plants Pennsylvania
White Flowers Beardtongue
low maintenance landscaping plants Pennsylvania
Beardtongue

As a native perennial, it is highly adaptable to Pennsylvania weather. It is a drought-tolerant plant that loves full sun exposure and tolerates any soil types and conditions. Nonetheless, the root is susceptible to rot if exposed to wet soil.

Moreover, Beardtongue is generally free of pest problems – another quality worth noting as low-maintenance landscaping plants for Pennsylvania.

2. Blue Wild Indigo (Baptisia australis)

Among all low-maintenance landscaping plants for Pennsylvania, Blue Wild Indigo is worth consideration because of its effortlessly stunning purple-blue flowers.

Not to mention its charming green foliage that stands well all seasons before laying low on the ground in the winter.

Other than being beautiful, it is also a hardy native plant, making it worthy of being awarded Plant of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association in 2010.

Blue Wild Indigo (Baptisia australis)
Blue Wild Indigo (Baptisia australis)
low maintenance landscaping plants Pennsylvania
Blue Wild Indigo

To create a wonderful landscape, you will need some growing conditions to ensure Blue Wild Indigo grows happily. Though it tolerates lime, this native perennial prefers moist, well-drained soils or clays with acidic to circumneutral pH. It also favors sunlight.

Hence, plant them where they can have ideal lighting exposure. Unfortunately, this plant is toxic, although there is no specific evidence that it can be fatal to humans.

3. Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Having the same milkweed family, Butterfly Weed is a clump-forming perennial native plant that bears bright orange flowers with contrasting green foliage. The flowers are a source of nectar and pollen for pollinators.

Therefore, Butterfly Weed is a must-have flowering native plant that can attract butterflies, identically winged, or other beneficial insects into having frequent visits.

low maintenance landscaping plants Pennsylvania
Butterfly Weed
low maintenance landscaping plants Pennsylvania
Butterfly Flower Weed

You will not be bothered by many maintenance tasks when you decide to plant this Butterfly Weed. As it favors soaking up under the sunlight, it is better to spare a spot with proper full sun exposure in your garden for Butterfly Weed. It also prefers neutral to acidic soil.

Moreover, you must maintain its soil moisture during the first year until established. After that, reduce it to occasional watering because it loves dry soils.

4. Canada Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

The combination of red petals and vibrant yellow center creates an eye-catching appeal to Aquilegia canadensis, more popular as Canada Columbine. Especially when they are blooming, their petals look like they were painted by nature so beautifully.

These stunning flowers show their best from late winter to late summer. Besides the flowers, its erecting bright stamens also attract birds to perch and pollinate.

low maintenance landscaping plants Pennsylvania
Canada Columbine
low maintenance landscaping plants Pennsylvania
Canada Columbine Flower

In nature, Canada Columbine grows in shaded woodlands. Therefore, planting them in partial shade to shade locations is highly suggested. Moreover, this drought-resistant native plant prefers moist or dry with relatively poor soils.

Considering its beautiful blooms and hardiness, we can safely say that it is one of the best low-maintenance landscaping plants for Pennsylvania to plant.

5. Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)

Because of its erect stems covered by showy crowded bright blue tubular flowers, Lobelia siphilitica is well-known as Great Blue Lobelia. The flowers have two different lips, where the upper one bears two segments while three are in the lower lip.

low maintenance landscaping plants Pennsylvania
Blue Lobelia

In addition to the attractive blooms, the green foliage adds to the beauty of this native species by providing a striking color contrast.

Unlike some other low-maintenance plants, it is not drought-resistant; thus, regular watering is necessary to maintain moist soil. However, this does not necessarily make it a difficult plant to care for.

low maintenance landscaping plants Pennsylvania
Great Blue Lobelia

In terms of lighting conditions, it can tolerate sun to shade, making it easier for you to determine the planting location. In addition, Great Blue Lobelia also grows well in various soil types, like sand, clay, or loam.

6. Green and Gold (Chrysogonum virginianum)

Considering that these plants are quite famous for their beauty and ease of care, it feels incomplete if you don’t include Green and Gold in the category of low-maintenance landscaping plants for Pennsylvania.

It bears star-shaped yellow flowers that bloom beautifully from late spring to fall. The green foliage provides the perfect combination of light colors, accentuating the flowers even more.

low maintenance landscaping plants Pennsylvania
Chrysogonum Virginianum

Knowing that this native Pennsylvania plant is hardy, it is very adaptive to various conditions, like heat, flood, drought, and cold. However, Green and Gold plant needs a location with partial shade, average moist and acidic soils to have plants that grow healthy.

Since it is a low-growing perennial, it is excellent as a ground cover that will perfectly decorate your landscape.

7. Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium)

If you are thinking of having fantastic flower beds, Jacob’s Ladder can be an ideal option. It is a lovely flowering Pennsylvania native plant that grows terminal clusters of light blue flowers with solid white stamens, creating an appealing center point to any landscape.

Additionally, its pinnately green compound leaves look like ribbons adorn each flower stalk.

Chrysogonum virginianum
Jacob’s Ladder
Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium reptans)
Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium reptans)

Similar to Green and Gold, this sprawling perennial is a great ground cover choice, thanks to its showy flowers that bloom from spring to late spring. And like most ground cover plants, it loves partial shade yet tolerates full sun in cool summer climates.

Jacob’s Ladder also prefers humusy, moist, well-drained soil to grow.

8. New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)

Aster novae-angliae or New England Aster is a species of the Aster family that has a variety of eye-catching flower colors, ranging from pink, white, to purple. However, the most commercialized is the pink flowers variant.

The color contrast created by this cultivar is breathtaking, combining a rose pink-purple with a bright yellow in the center. No wonder butterflies and birds love to visit.

low maintenance landscaping plants Pennsylvania
New England Aster
low maintenance landscaping plants Pennsylvania
New England Aster

In addition to its beauty, New England Aster is also pretty easy to care for. It thrives in both full sun and partial shade in moist, rich soils – though it can handle medium moisture.

Moreover, this versatile plant tolerates drought, making it easier to handle, especially when you forget to water them.

9. Showy Goldenrod (Solidago speciosa)

Another native plant species features clusters of yellow flowers covering up their arching stems that stand out against dark green foliage. Their blooming period is between late summer to early fall, allowing you to add transitional beauty to the season in your garden.

Also, thanks to those pretty flowers, birds, butterflies, and other pollinators are happy to perch on them.

Showy-Goldenrod
Showy Goldenrod Flower
low maintenance landscaping plants Pennsylvania
Showy Goldenrod

Since it is less invasive than other goldenrods, taking care of Showy Goldenrod becomes easier. Prepare a planting location that is exposed to sunlight and partial shade at the same time so that the seeds can develop properly.

In addition, this native species can do well on moist to dry soil. However, it will grow aggressively in moist soils.

10. Summer Phlox (Phlox paniculata)

Do you prefer to have a flowering landscaping plant over green foliage types? Then, Summer Phlox is your definite choice! This native species will show off its exquisite white summer flowers, with circle magenta marks on the center that will surely stand out in your landscape.

Plus, the evergreen oval leaves provide an eye-catching color combination.

low maintenance landscaping plants Pennsylvania
Summer Phlox

Furthermore, it is one of the low-maintenance plants that like to get full sun exposure or part shade. Once established, Summer Phlox is also drought-tolerant even though it prefers rich-organic, acidic soil.

low maintenance landscaping plants Pennsylvania
Summer Phlox

Knowing its enchanting beauty, you can also plant it as border fronts or a collection of plants in cottage gardens. We assure you that Summer Phlox will captivate anyone who looks at them.

11. Swamp Sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius)

Who doesn’t love sunflowers? Its bright yellow flowers with dark brown disk floret will easily captivate everyone’s attention. Especially if the flowers are smaller and form large heads atop the tall spikes stems like those of helianthus angustifolius or swamp sunflower.

Not only that, but swamp sunflower also produces seeds favored by songbirds.

Swamp Sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius)
Swamp Sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius)
low maintenance landscaping plants Pennsylvania
Swamp Sunflower

Like its name bears, swamp sunflower loves full sun exposure since it produces more flowers yet copes well in part shade. For the soil, moist with occasionally wet and well-drained are preferable.

In addition, it is resistant to severe pests or disease, proving itself as one of the most ideal low-maintenance landscaping plants you should try planting!

12. Turk’s Cap Lily (Lilium miciganense)

Lilium miciganense or Turk’s Cap Lily is popular for its distinctive orange flowers. They have curved back petals that almost touch the base of the flower. Plus, the dark brown spots on the inner side of the petals create a unique look.

Turk's Cap Lily
Turk’s Cap Lily

Its long, single stem with one flower hanging makes Turk’s Cap Lily look more graceful and elegant than similar native flower plants. You can enjoy the beauty of these flowers in early summer.

Turk's Cap Lily
Turk’s Cap Lily

It is not that difficult to grow Turk’s Cap Lily. This native flowering plant of Pennsylvania can do well in sun, shade, and part shade. One thing that is needed attention is soil fertility since it favors deep, fertile, and moist soil. It is also generally not prone to any serious pests or diseases.

Unfortunately, it is poisonous to cats. Hence, keeping the plant away from them is a must.

13. White Wood Aster (Eurybia divaricata)

Eurybia divaricata or White Wood Aster is a bushy perennial herb that grows beautiful purplish-white daisies that will adorn the Pennsylvania landscape. They bloom from late summer to late autumn, attracting birds to visit the expanse of blooming flowers covering their green leaves.

White Wood Aster
White Wood Aster

Since it is a low-maintenance native plant, it does not need too many treatments to grow. White Wood Aster favors relatively fertile, dry to medium, well-drained soils under partial to full shade locations.

It is also drought-tolerant; thus, the water requirement is low.

Nonetheless, it can turn into aggressive mode though in dry conditions. Therefore, periodic pruning after flowering is recommended.


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14. Wild Bleeding Heart (Dicentra eximia)

It is a native Pennsylvania plant characterized by heart-shaped pink to magenta flowers adorned with evergreen ferny leaves. The flower buds hang down on the branches to form beautiful clusters.

Because of its charm and long-blooming period, Wild Bleeding Heart is great for ground cover, shaded beds, and borders.

Wild Bleeding Heart (Dicentra eximia)
Wild Bleeding Heart (Dicentra eximia)

Moreover, fertile, humus-rich, and moist soil is necessary to easily grow Wild Bleeding Heart. In addition, the location of the part shade is also preferable to ensure the plant develops properly.

Wild Bleeding Heart
Wild Bleeding Heart

Despite being tolerant of severe diseases and pests, you need to watch out for slugs and snails. Additionally, if eaten, all parts of this native plant are harmful to health and cause severe discomfort.

15. Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

Beautiful blue bell-shaped flowers with nodding clusters of pink buds are the hallmarks of Virginia Bluebells. They stunningly bloom in mid-spring and emit delicate sweet scents.

Virginia Bluebells
Virginia Bluebells

Not only humans are captivated by their exquisite appearance, but long-tongued bees, butterflies, and other pollinators are also attracted to the flowers. Unfortunately, it is threatened in its natural habitat due to destruction and natural disasters.

Virginia Bluebells Flowers
Virginia Bluebells Flowers

For those interested in planting Virginia Bluebells, it’s a good idea to know some of the requirements for the plant to grow well. It loves rich and moist soils.

And for that reason, frequent watering is possible.

This flowering native plant also prefers part shade to shade than the full sun because it will wilt. In addition, Virginia Bluebells is best planted around shrubs or trees.


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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What can I use instead of bushes?

Instead of bushes to create a beautiful landscape for Pennsylvania, you can try to plant perennials that will give you an endless beauty of the season. They are mostly flowering, so they can provide a cheerful atmosphere wherever they are planted. 

Some also include low-maintenance landscaping plants for Pennsylvania that won’t get your hands full. For example, Blue Wild Indigo, Butterfly Weed, Green and Gold, Jacob’s Ladder, and White Wood Aster.

What plants look good in the front yard?

The front yard is essential because it gives the first impression to anyone who visits your home. So don’t be surprised if homeowners will choose interesting plants to plant in front of their homes.

Some of the plants you can choose from, include Blue Wild Indigo, Canada Columbine, Great Blue Lobelia, New England Aster, and Turk’s Cap Lily.

However, suppose you want to plant other than shrubs or perennials. In that case, you can try planting trees, for instance, Eastern White Pine and eastern redbud. Eastern White Pine has unique and long-lived soft blue-green needle-like leaves.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Redbud features stunning pink flowers covering its brown stems, creating a fantastic view when planted in the garden in front of the house.

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