Note:  Photo above is of a Drift Rose…a cultivar within the Rose family.  The Rosaceae (Rose) family is native to Indiana.

The Best Native, Low-Maintenance Plants for Indianapolis Landscape Designs

A top request from our clients is aesthetically pleasing landscapes that are also low-maintenance and resilient. One way we can accomplish this goal is to incorporate native plants into the landscape design. Native plants are a smart environmental choice and can make maintenance easier. Let’s explore some of the best native, low-maintenance plants for the Indianapolis area.

The Top Reasons to Choose Native Plants

Choosing plants indigenous to Indiana for your outdoor living and landscaping garden projects is an excellent choice for the following reasons:

  • Climate Adaptability: In Indianapolis, native plants have acclimated to the region’s local rainfall patterns and seasonal temperature fluctuations, from hot summers to cold winters. As a result, they are more resilient to weather extremes than plants from different climatic zones.
  • Pest and Disease Resistance: Native plants have co-evolved with the local pests and diseases, developing resistances that many non-native plants lack. This natural resilience means they often require fewer pesticides, if any, to maintain their health. 
  • Ecosystem Support: Native plants provide essential food and habitat for local wildlife, including pollinators such as bees and butterflies, birds, and other beneficial insects. A balanced ecosystem that can help control pests naturally reduces the need for insecticides and leads to a healthier, more resilient garden.
  • Longevity: Native plants provide essential food and habitat for local wildlife, including pollinators such as bees and butterflies, birds, and other beneficial insects. A balanced ecosystem that can naturally help control pests reduces the need for insecticides and leads to a healthier, more resilient garden. 
  • Timeless Beauty: Experienced landscape designers can use their creative abilities and vast knowledge of native plantings to create a timeless design for your yard. The Indiana Native Plant Society is another outstanding resource for discovering landscape-worthy native plants based on factors such as autumn colors, winter interest, or use as bird habitats, butterfly food, and more.


The Top Native Plants to Choose

From colorful flowers to decorative shrubs and trees, here are some suggestions for lower-maintenance native plants in your Indianapolis landscaping designs.

Coneflower Plants (Echinacea purpurea) are celebrated for their striking appearance, with prominent, cone-shaped centers surrounded by colorful petals ranging from purple and pink to white and yellow. Coneflowers have a long flowering season, typically from early summer to fall, providing ongoing interest and beauty for a significant portion of the year. They are one of our favorites for adding pops of color throughout landscape design projects, and they require little maintenance.

Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia fulgida) are versatile, cheerful, yellow-flowered plants that are a staple in many gardens for good reason. They’re incredibly hardy and can thrive in a variety of soil types. Their bright yellow petals and dark brown centers make them a focal point in gardens, attracting pollinators and adding beauty throughout the late summer and fall. We love Black-Eyed Susans for defining garden borders, edging walkways, and softening the edges of hardscaping.

Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica) is prized for its striking tubular flowers that have a unique appearance—vivid red on the outside and bright yellow on the inside. It is well-suited for shaded areas, making it ideal for gardens with large trees or structures that create partial to full shade. We recommend planting them in groups to maximize visual impact and combining them with other shade-loving natives such as ferns, columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), and wild geranium (Geranium maculatum). 

Little Devil Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Donna May’) is an excellent choice for Indiana landscaping due to its compact size, ornamental appeal, and low maintenance requirements. This cultivar of the native Ninebark shrub offers year-round interest with its dark burgundy foliage, spring flowers, and peeling bark. It’s well-suited to a variety of garden styles and conditions, making it a versatile addition to any landscape.

Hydrangeas offer a wide range of colors, sizes, and bloom types that can complement any garden style. They can soften the hard lines of buildings and provide a lush, flowering base around homes or garden walls. Their lush foliage and large, showy blooms provide visual interest from summer through fall, and some varieties even offer attractive fall foliage and winter interest with their dried flower heads.

Indiana Aster (Symphyotrichum oolentangiense) is a late bloomer, adding a beautiful purple hue to your garden in the fall when many other plants have finished flowering. It prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade and is excellent for attracting pollinators late in the season. Indiana aster makes an excellent addition to perennial borders and garden beds, where its height (often 3 to 6 feet tall) and vibrant blooms can serve as a backdrop for shorter plants. It pairs beautifully with other fall-blooming perennials and grasses.

Hawthorn Trees (Crataegus viridis) will need plenty of water and wet soil to take root but don’t require much maintenance once established. The Hawthorn provides visual interest in every season. In spring, it blooms with clusters of white flowers, followed by bright red berries (haws) that persist into winter, offering a striking contrast against the snow. Its glossy green leaves turn a lovely shade of gold in the fall, and the silver-gray bark stands out in the winter landscape.

Aspen Outdoor Designs Celebrates Indiana Natives

From grasses and groundcovers that help keep weeds and erosion at bay to vibrant flowers, sprawling shrubs, tall trees, and more, Aspen’s landscape designers love using Indiana natives to create low-maintenance plantings that all can enjoy. We don’t overlook the outdoor aspect of outdoor living spaces and look forward to filling yours with lush greenery, budding blossoms, and more. Contact us today to begin planning your yard’s low-maintenance, native-friendly landscape design.