Lush landscapes and thriving gardens begin with the right plants in the right places. Here are our top picks for fabulous foliage that complement almost any design and flourish with little maintenance.

Australian Willow (Agonis flexuosa)

The Australian Willow, a picturesque tree with a cloud-shaped canopy, is a low-maintenance addition to any landscape and an outstanding roadside adornment. Long, slender leaves are abundant, giving the tree a lush look year round, and tiny white flowers add flair in the spring. The “evergreen” nature of the Australian Willow means there’s no leaf-drop season, and no seeds or fruit drop. This landscape showcase typically grows at a moderate rate to a height of 20 or 30 feet, tolerates drought and sandy soil, is pest resistant and requires almost no attention short of an occasional light pruning. The Australian Willow fares best in areas that do not experience strong winds, heavy fog or salt air.

Loropetalum, Razzleberry variety (Loropetalum chinense)

The Razzleberry, with a heritage rooted in China, is a showy shrub often used as a perimeter plant to enhance the privacy of pool/patio areas. Clusters of brilliant pink blooms add pizzazz in the spring and fall and will even reward gardeners with some summer splashes of color. The Razzleberry enriches landscapes with texture created by rich green leaves that turn to a distinctive bronze in the fall and winter, which makes this showpiece an excellent contrast to other landscape choices. Despite the dramatic changes, the Razzleberry – which can grow to six feet and fares well in both sun and shade – is a year-round plant with no leaf drop to fuss with.

Lily of the Valley Shrub (Pieris japonica)

The versatility of the Lily of the Valley Shrub and its ability to thrive in a wide range of planting conditions and soils makes it a perfect landscape choice. The compact shrub with white blossoms reaches up to six feet by six feet at maturity and rewards gardeners with a kaleidoscope of new-growth red leaves and rich-green mature leaves. The evergreen and cold-hardy character of the Lily of the Valley Shrub, which should not be pruned or trimmed, means this accent to any landscape is virtually maintenance free. It needs shade and cannot tolerate full sun, which makes it an ideal choice as an under-story plant.

Butterfly Bush/Summer Lilac (Buddleja davidii)

Bright clusters of lavender-pink flowers and variegated leaves make the Butterfly Bush a magnificent complement to any landscape. As the name implies, butterflies love the nectar-laden blossoms that grow like lilacs along “spikes” at the tips of branches. White velvet under the long, tapered leaves and the shrub’s round shape make it an ideal choice as a background accent and especially as a fragrant addition to a butterfly garden. The shrub – which averages four feet tall but can grow to 10 feet – fares well in full sun and requires little attention beyond tending to a moderate leaf drop.

Azalea (from the Rhododendron family)

Azaleas have been landscape darlings with both landscape designers and home gardeners since the world’s first cluster of spring blooms popped. This member of the Rhododendron family delights the senses with flowers dressed in Crayola colors, from angel white to pinks, reds, peach, orange and even vibrant purple, all nestled in beds of bold green foliage. Dozens of choices that range from a diminutive 12 inches to eight feet tall offer a myriad of planting options, including clusters in stand-alone gardens, brilliant hedge-like arrangements and borders. Azaleas have few requirements beyond acidic, well-drained soil, occasional grooming with pruning sheers and an annual fertilizer dinner. We love them all.

My Botanica’s team welcomes the opportunity to help you choose the proper plant for the proper job and the proper location. Our fine line of environmentally friendly products will help you maintain a thriving landscape and gardens and keep your plants and trees lush. Please call toll free 1-888-722-4308.