Choosing material for larger sites (commercial properties, schools, parking lots etc) takes plants that can thrive in less than perfect conditions. This often includes hot sun, wind, poor soil, bad drainage, winter salts, snow loads and inadequate irrigation to name a few. So tough, long-lived and reliable plants need to top the list. Plant them in large groups for maximum impact. Here are a few of our own stars (PC Grown!) that will shine in the landscape:
Cotoneaster – A small-leafed spreading shrub with great fall interest. Cranberry Cotoneaster (C. apiculatus) will get 2-3′ high x 3-6′ wide and Willowleaf Cotoneaster (C. salicifolia) is slightly shorter at 1′ x 5′ wide. Both are deer resistant, have small white flowers in spring, persistent red berries in fall and winter, and really good fall color.
(10-15/100 sq. ft. – 3′ on center)
Forsythia x ‘Gold Tide’ – This low spreading Forsythia has everything the taller varieties have (early spring yellow flowers, medium green foliage, deer resistance) but this is a low growing spreader getting 1-1.5′ x 5′ wide. It’s drought tolerant and pretty indestructible! (12/100 sq. ft. – 3′ on center)
Hemerocallis – The reblooming Daylilies are what you want for flowering summer color. Choose varieties like ‘Stella d’Oro’, ‘Big Time Happy’, ‘Rosy Returns’ etc. Need deer resistance? Go with Nepeta (Catmint) or Perovskia (Russian Sage). Plant in large sweeps to be effective.
(25/100 sq ft. – 2′ on center)
Juniperus – Several varieties of the low and medium spreading Junipers will do the job adding the evergreen component year round. There are many to choose from but Blue Rug (J. horizontalis ‘Wiltoni’), Parsons (J. squamata ‘Parsoni’) and Sargent (J. chinensis ‘Sargentii’) are a great for starters. They’ll spread on average about 8′ and their evergreen needles vary in shades of light to dark to silvery-green. Blue Rug as purplish winter foliage.
(10/100 sq. ft. – 3′ on center)
Potentilla Bush Cinquefoil (P. fruticosa) is made for the sun. Small leaves on a shrubby plant that gets roughly 3′ high x 4′ wide. The white flowering ‘Abbotswood’ and yellow ‘Gold Finger’ have large noticeable flowers that bloom from June to frost.
(10/100 sq ft. – 3′ on center)
Rudbeckia – Black-eyed Susans will bloom later in summer into fall providing bright, golden-yellow flowers with black seedheads. Leave them up through winter for a nice contrast against a snowy landscape.
(25/100 sq. ft. – 2′ on center)
Spiraea – Any variety is good but when you need something shorter choose ‘Gold Mound’, ‘Magic Carpet’ or ‘Little Princess’. They’ll grow about 2-3′ high by 3-4′ wide. Colorful new growth leafs out early, the flowers bloom a long time in spring and it has great fall color. Deer resistant and drought tolerant.
(approx. 15/100 sq. ft – 30″ on center)
Stephanandra – (S. incisa ‘Crispa’) Top of the list when it comes to erosion control for hills and banks. White flowers are blooming now, covering the top of the plant. The small cut-leaf foliage has respectable fall color. Grows 2′ x 4′ wide and layers itself in, creating a tough, weed-smothering groundcover.
(15/100 sq. ft. 30″ on center)
Ornamental Grasses – Don’t forget these! Add movement to the planting with Panicum (P. virgatum) ‘Shenendoah’ (Switchgrass), Pennisetum (P. alopecuroides) ‘Moudry’ (Fountain Grass) and Miscanthus (M. sinensis) ‘Adagio’ to name a few. Plant in groups of 7 -10 to make an impact.
These are all quite drought tolerant once established. Plant with M-Roots and Aqua-tain (water absorping gel crystals) and keep watered until they’re rooted in.