We have a rental property in zone 9. I planted bungleweed, salvia guarantica (blue black), firebush, lantana, ligustrum japonica, Pink muhly grass, dwarf lemon tree, camellia and others 2 years ago. Tried to plant maintenance free, local and polllinator friendly plants. Tenant is under contract to keep them alive. No sprinkler system. That area gets 40-60 in rain annually. What are ideal plants for a rental property?

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Plants can never be maintenance free altogether. They will at least need infrequent observation, fertilization, help with infestations and even watering. Drip irrigation is not a set-it-and-forget-it solution like many think it is.

40-60 in. of rain also means there can be the risk of water clogging and this is another thing to watch out.

Zone 9 is a zone in which most plants will grow easily. I live in Zone 9B, and I have even been able to grow plants that are suited for zones 8 and 10 by carefully choosing locations, etc.

Ideal plants for a rental property where lesser maintenance is desired would be hardy natives (you have not mentioned the location), especially perennials, hardy non-natives recommended for adequate water use and optimal growth, and most definitely cactii and succulents are always a safe bet, provided appropriate planting and drainage. Roses are a very safe bet in zone 9, but they will require a specific level of maintenance. Variegated Pittosporum species and others may be great options for providing year round color through foliage, as well.

You should contact local master gardeners (highly recommended), and visit local nurseries and if available, a local community college/University that focuses on agriculture/gardening to have conversations on selecting specific plants/species that have been locally successful.

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    I'm in southern gulf coast Texas region where I tried my best to research and buy native plants. Great idea to plant cacti and succulents. How many seasons do those take to establish hardy roots? – Danger14 Sep 20 '16 at 6:08
  • It should take about 2 good seasons, but given the quantity of rain you mentioned, probably a bit longer. Plants like Saguro will do great. Given it is Texas, your options really open up, ranging all the way from tropical plants to cacti and more! Make sure you consult with a nursery or master gardener group, and be sure to drive around see what your neighbors have planted. – Srihari Yamanoor Sep 20 '16 at 6:18

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