Plant Collections For Real Life

Choose from groups of plants that solve problems and give you what you’re looking for

We’re doing our best to change people’s minds about growing plants. That’s because there are many people who think that to grow something you must be a ‘gardener’ or a green thumb. And most people don’t consider themselves either. (If you already do, we salute you!).

To the contrary, you can grow just about anything, you just need to pay attention to where you’re planting it and how much sun and water it will receive. The right plant for the right place.

Preach it.

But as we talked about plants, we realized people were buying them to solve problems or to accomplish something. They wanted to fill a bare space left by a shrub that died last winter. They wanted to perk up their porch or patio for company or just for some personal curb appeal. Maybe they wanted a privacy screen from their neighbors or the street or some suggestions on what they could grow in Indiana soil, in a small space or without a lot of work.

Or maybe they were already set on a specific type of plant. They were a rose person. Or their grandmother had hydrangeas and that’s what they wanted.

So we wanted to make it easier to find exactly what these people—exactly what you—were looking for. We wanted to give you categories or collections of plants we had already pre-screened for certain characteristics, so that you didn’t have to search around.

Without further ado, exactly what you were looking for:

Clay Tolerant

Clay soil is a fact of life in Central Indiana. Just ask anyone who’s had to work the soil and they’ll tell you clay can make things difficult. It can be slimy, spongy and slippery when wet and bake into an almost impenetrable shell when baked in the sun.

But did you know clay soil can actually be pretty fertile? It’s true. And despite this ray of sunshine, we’re not the only ones who have to be tough to get through the clay. Plants have to be hardy and creative, since they have less oxygen, space and drainage.

As Mother Nature would have it, there’s a group of resilient and beautiful plants that have adapted and even thrive in our Indiana clay. Give them a try:

  • Viburnums
  • Boxwood
  • White Hydrangea
  • Oakleaf Hydrangea
  • Shrub Roses
  • Deutzia
  • NineBark
  • Rose of Sharon
  • Spirea
  • Weigela
  • Dwarf Lilac
  • Fineline Buckthorn
  • Clematis

Compact/Low Maintenance

We wouldn’t necessarily call these miniatures, but this group of compact and low-maintenance plants made the list because they have a compact growth habit that happens to work well for small spots. Which on its own makes them lower maintenance because you’re not incessantly pruning.

A good thing, we can all agree.

But they also tend to be less leggy and prolific, not needing to spread out so much. We find them charming and think you will, too:

  • Sky Pencil Holly
  • Fineline Buckthorn
  • Spilled Wine Ninebark
  • Lil Quickfire Hydrangea
  • Bobo Hydrangea
  • Little Lime Hydrangea
  • Lil Kim Rose of Sharon
  • Drift Roses
  • Deutzia- Yuki
  • Strawberry sundae Hydrangea

Dwarf Conifers

Here we are again, back to the benefits of good things that come in small packages. You’ll get all the evergreen beauty of a conifer (along with some namesake cones), but you’ll also have an attractive, year-round specimen for highly visible spots or ones that could benefit from a little privacy green screen.

Great for softening hard edges and corners, the base of a brick wall, lining a path or concealing the base of a mailbox post.

  • Pumila Spruce
  • Cypress Mops
  • Mr. Bowling Ball Arb
  • Boxwood
  • Bird’s Nest Spruce


Romantic and Pinterest-pretty, Hydrangea have always been a sentimental favorite. And there are so many varieties you have yet to discover. We love their showy blooms, their scent and the fact that many have a long and welcome bloom time.

We’ve never heard that anyone’s regretted planting a hydrangea.

  • Oakleaf
  • Ruby Slippers
  • Peewee
  • Alice
  • Incrediball
  • Bobo
  • Little Lime
  • Vanilla Strawberry
  • Bloomstruck
  • Quickfire
  • Lil Quickfire
  • Strawberry Sundae
  • Firelight
  • Firelight Tidbit
  • Jetstream
  • Haas Halo

Long Bloomers

The longer the better, right? Who hasn’t left for a vacation or come back outside after a storm only to have missed the best of the blooms? We hate it when that happens.

You won’t miss the window of opportunity with these beauties that bloom for months. Just be sure to give them plenty of water in drier weather to keep them happy.

  • Bobo Hydrangea
  • Roses
  • Incrediball Hydrangea
  • Rose of Sharon
  • Bloomstruck Hydrangea
  • Snow Queen

Repeat Bloomers

Repeat-flowering plants will have several surges of flowers from late spring to as late as the first frosts. We love that don’t require deadheading or special pruning, but they normally will reward you with more flowers if spent blooms are pruned away.

Either way, we love the persistence and seemingly effortless beauty of these resilient varieties.

  • Bloomerang Lilac
  • Artisan Spirea series
  • Sweetshrub


We used to think roses were fussy and high-maintenance. And really, many of them were. But things have changed and roses are much more disease-resistant, many are repeat and long bloomers and they all look (and smell) like a million bucks in the landscape.

The bonus: who doesn’t love a beautiful bouquet of fresh-cut roses for their desk, nightstand or as a hostess gift?

  • Drift
  • Knockout
  • Climbers
  • Thrive
  • Easy Elegance
  • Miracle on the Hudson

And if you don’t see exactly what you’re looking for here, please let us know. Maybe we’ll create a new category and collection just for you.

11 responses to “The best plants for our Indiana landscape”

  1. Christine Strandberg says:

    This was very helpful. I am coming to Indiana to landscape my daughters front yard. My California garden knowledge is useless in Indiana.

  2. Chris Frantz says:

    We have decided to tear out the builder bushes that came with the house. Great guide on determining what to plant.

  3. Jerry Wetmore Kirby says:

    I am not creative. Do you have any ready made plans foe people like me who are not creative is designing a border for the back of my yard. It boarders a line of tress, very sparse, and shade, and includes about a six foot area in front of the tree line running the width of our yard. Approx. 6×120’.

  4. Julia Alexander says:

    Can plumeria bushes grow on Zionsville

  5. James H Mercer says:

    Sky Pencil Holly do not do well in our zone.

    • Dana Altum says:

      Sky pencil hollies can be fussy here if not put in right place. East side or north side of house is best and not in full sun. They also need good soil amendment.

  6. Sara says:

    do you have a list of plants (bushes and small to medium trees) that like full sun and clay soil (that is generally wet as seems to have a high water table) that might fit well in a new subdivision that has no plants?

  7. Lori Buck says:

    Very helpfu! Glad i found. It today!!

  8. Erin says:

    We live in Evansville, IN – do you have recommendation for a good divider between two lots? We previously had pines that have been removed and soil will be treated. Thank you!

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