Low-Maintenance Plants That Aren't Hosta
I get it. Hosta is like the greatest. It's easy to grow, shade tolerant, drought tolerant, lives forever, spreads like crazy, fills in all those ugly little spots around your yard that you have no idea what to do with, and you can pretty much always find someone giving it away. I mean, has anyone ever actually PAID for Hosta?? (If you have, I have some Hosta to sell you)
Hosta seems to be the answer to every gardening question. Rocky soil? Hosta. Bare spots? Hosta. Live in a cave? Hosta. Did you know that you can EAT Hosta? I NEVER ASKED FOR THAT. Seriously, you can find recipes for Hosta alfredo, stir fry, sandwiches, and although I have never tried it (shocker), I can imagine that it's absolutely terrible. I really do get it, it's a wonderful and versatile super plant, BUT WHAT IF I WANT TO SEE OTHER PEOPLE??
I don't hate Hosta. I even HAVE some Hosta around the ginkgo tree because it's been there forever and I haven't gotten around to mixing it up. I'm just a little sick of it. Hosta is like that guy you dated that your parents loved and he was responsible and had a car and job, but he was so bland that you kept falling asleep during... dinner.
So if you, like me, are looking for a change from Hosta, but also like, don't want to put in a lot of work on high-maintenance plants, check out some of these totally easy-to-grow, fun and beautiful alternatives.
If you want something to fill in space
This stuff is just so cool. It's all about the texture and the color with this perennial. A species of Artemisia, Silvermound is a mounding (duh) plant with silver (duh) foliage. It's lacy and fluffy and feels exactly the way it looks. It's so fun and pretty and surprisingly hardy for such a delicate looking plant.
Look. At. These. Leaves. They are just BEAUTIFUL! Coral Bells come in green, orange, variegated, brown, and (my favorite) dark purple. They're similar dimensions to Hosta and can fill the same role of visually anchoring a space and providing contrast with more delicate foliage and bright flowers. They're great for mulch beds, borders, and even look great in containers.
If you want something shade-tolerant
For a classic Adirondack look, ferns are a go-to. They're SUPER low maintenance and will grow just about anywhere. If you want something a little different than the ones you find in the woods, there are giant versions, like the Ostrich Fern, that grow up to 6 feet high, or you can get Painted Ferns that are a rich, dark purple.
Another native shade plant is Ajuga, or Bugleweed. These are low lying purple flowers that make great ground cover. The foliage can range from light green to deep magenta.
If you want something with flowers
Catmint is technically an herb, although I wouldn't put it in your spaghetti sauce. Historically it has been used medicinally for digestive issues, and I guess it works by stimulating SWEATING (WHAT)??! I'm not recommending any of that noise, but I would recommend using it in your garden, because it's super pretty, smells lovely, and repels bugs!
I love Dianthus. You may know them as Pinks, although they come in all sorts of different colors. Personally I like the red and variegated flowers and the light, almost silver, foliage. They grow anywhere and deer don't like them, which is great for forest folk like us.