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14 low maintenance plants for seniors who love gardening

14 low maintenance plants for seniors who love gardening

Gardening is a popular activity for Australian seniors. In addition to the sheer joy of spending time in your garden as you cultivate edibles and flowers, you can create a pleasant and relaxing outdoor space, get some fresh air, and stay physically active. Picking the right type of plants ensures you get the most out of your gardening without upkeep becoming a chore. Consider adding these low-maintenance plants to your garden today.

Why choose low-maintenance plants?

Gardening keeps you active, and for seniors it can promote flexibility and mobility through movements like walking, reaching, and bending. Setting down new seedlings, watering your plants, and weeding can help stimulate your body’s systems. Relaxation and a sense of accomplishment are also associated with gardening.1

On the other hand, your garden can quickly become a maintenance nightmare if you don’t choose the right plants. Heavy-duty mowing, edging, pruning, spraying, and fertilising are some of the gardening tasks that can become intensive with a high-maintenance garden, especially in the warmer months.

Avoiding joint strain, long hours of exposure to the sun, and the risk of falls associated with hard gardening work are important priorities for seniors, so low-maintenance plants are therefore recommended for older Aussies who want the benefits of gardening.

Recommended low-maintenance plants for Aussie seniors

Planting these low-maintenance plants will bring your garden to life with beauty and lushness that requires little hard work.

1. Lomandra (Lomandra longifolia)

This pretty Australian native plant yields creamy flowers and narrow leaves that will require very little maintenance once it’s established. Lookout for Tanika, a new variety that can grow in shade or full sun while tolerating frost.2

Lomandra growing along a footpath

2. Camellia (Camellia japonica)

Camellias will thrive on little maintenance once they are established. Providing beautiful rich-green leaves and white, pink, or red flowers; this plant delivers beauty and colour to your garden without needing a lot of attention.2

Close up of pink camellia in camellia bush

3. Japanese sacred bamboo (Nandina domestica)

Bring extra interest to your garden with Japanese sacred bamboo. This shrub offers intense-green foliage, red berries, and white flowers; and despite not being native to Australia, it will thrive in most regions of the country without a lot of maintenance.2

Red and green Japanese sacred bamboo

4. New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax cvs)

If you’re looking for a hardy, low-maintenance plant that tolerates frost, try the New Zealand flax. This attractive plant grows in clumps and delivers a striking visual impact with long, sword-like leaves that come in a range of colours.2

Clump of New Zealand flax in garden

5. Bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae)

The bird of paradise is another visually arresting plant that needs little attention or work. It features long, spoon-shaped leaves and gorgeous orange and blue flowers.2

Close up of flowering birds of paradise

6. Oleander (Nerium oleander cvs)

This Mediterranean plant will tolerate just about any soil and climate, from dry and sandy gardens to drought-like conditions. With a range of cultivars to choose from, you can bring beautiful oleander flowers in colours such as white, pink, apricot, and red. Note, this plant is poisonous, so it might not be a great choice if pets roam or live in your garden.2

Close up of pink oleander flowers

7. Zoysia

If you love the look of a green lawn but don’t want to be watering it every day, try the Zoysia grass. It’s suited to warm climates and is slow growing, so you won’t need to mow it every week.3

Lush green Zoysia grass

8. Kikuyu

The Kikuyu is another low-watering grass that needs less attention. However, it’s quick to propagate and grow, so it’s a good choice only if you don’t mind more frequent mowing.3

Green and hardy Kikuyu grass

9. Native plants

If you’re looking specifically for a native plant, try some low-maintenance species. These include Westringia (Funky Chunky), Pilotheca (Cascade of Stars), and Callistemon species (Bottle Brush), which are three good choices to work into your garden.4

Red bottle brush on tree

10. Succulents and cacti

Succulents and cacti are great choices for the dry, warmer climate of Australia’s regions. For seniors, they’re a wonderful choice because they need little maintenance or watering. Excellent options include Aeonium arboretum (zwartkop), Portulaca grandiflora, Senecio mandraliscae (Blue chalk), Crassula campfire, and the Echeveria species.4

Succulents and cactus potted in green tins

11. Living mulch

Living mulch introduces groundcover to your low-maintenance garden, thereby cutting water usage and the need for weeding. They add extra colour and self-renew, in contrast to regular mulch, which needs regular manual application. Great options include Grevillea, Myoporum parvifolium. Cerastium tomentosum, and Scaevola aemula.4

Yellow living mulch growing outdoors

12. Cordyline (‘burgundy spire’)

This attractive plant adds a modern touch to your low-maintenance garden with its dark pink strap-shaped foliage.4

Bold burgundy spire in garden

13. Lavender avonview

This attractive lavender is a tough shrub that can thrive without much care or maintenance. Its versatility makes it great for anything from hedges and feature plants to pots.4

Blooming purple lavender avonview

14. Rosemary officinalis

Another tough shrub to consider for your garden is the Rosemary officinalis. Like the Lavender avonview, it can be used as hedging and can also thrive in pots.4

Blooming rosemary officinalis thriving in garden

A beautiful garden requiring little maintenance is possible provided you start by choosing the right plants. From water-efficient lawn grasses to natives, Aussie seniors who love gardening can find spectacular plants that don’t need much in the way of watering and trimming.

Australian Seniors Insurance Agency offer a comprehensive range of cost-effective insurance designed especially for Aussie seniors. To find out more about how our home insurance, travel insurance, and other products that can help you manage life’s uncertainties, chat to our friendly customer service team today on 13 13 43.


  1. Gardening for older adults Baptare
  2. Don’s Top Six Low Maintenance Plants Burke’s Backyard
  3. Low maintenance garden ideas realestate.com.au
  4. The best low-maintenance plants for your garden Bunnings Warehouse