No grave can do without care, but it can be minimized. If you don’t have time at all, you have to hire someone to look after the grave, but you can’t do without it. The right choice of plants is of great importance. A dense vegetation prevents excessive weeds from forming. The plants must of course be selected based on their location and soil. The lighting conditions and the plant substrate must be right, otherwise the plants will not thrive satisfactorily.

Minimal maintenance measures with appropriate planting

If you choose the plants according to their location and soil and also use easy-care specimens, you only have to check the cemetery four times a year.

  • In the spring, remove the winter protection and clean the grave of dirt and dead plant parts.
  • In summer, prune more strongly growing plants such as ground cover, sometimes twice, depending on the species and vigor. Topiary trees also need a cut. In addition, pulling weeds and removing faded.
  • Foliage should be removed in autumn if it is not used as winter protection. Strongly growing ground cover must also be shortened again.
  • Decorate and protect the grave with fir branches in winter.
  • Plants may have to be divided every few years, but only if they are too big or blooming.
Tip: If you can’t come to water in summer, you have to consider this when choosing your plants.

Ground cover

Many ground cover not only form tightly closed areas and prevent weeds, they can do more. They have colorful foliage, many also pretty fruits or flowers, or both. The rather fine structure goes well with ornamental foliage perennials. Always choose the plants that match the growing conditions, pay attention to the soil, light conditions and moisture! When making your selection, also pay attention to the grave size, small-leafed ones for urn graves and large-leaved ones for double graves. The best time to plant is in spring.

For sunny locations

  • Star moss – white flowers from June to July, short stalks, 5 cm high, 25 plants / m², fast-growing, ideal for urn graves, never cut, beautiful variety: ‘Aurea’ – yellow-green leaves
  • Feather pad – fine fern-like leaves, forms dense carpets, 5 cm high, does not need pruning, 15 plants / m², hardly any maintenance required, different varieties, also with dark foliage
  • Rockcress – forms dense cushions, white flowers in April and May, 10 cm high, about 25 plants / m², hardly any care required, only remove faded, beautiful varieties: ‘Old Gold’ – yellow-green leaf margin, ‘Variegata’ – white-rimmed
  • Thyme – flowers from June to July, fine leaves, 5 to 15 cm high, 10 plants / m², winter cover, cut after flowering, fragrant plant, likes dry soil, different varieties
  • Katzenpfötchen – pink flowers in May and June, silvery leaves, 10 cm high, 25 plants / m², remove withered, velvet off, for dry soil, beautiful varieties: var borealis (white flowers), ‘red miracle’ – red flowers
  • Carpet chamomile – dense lawn-like carpet, 20 cm high, 10 plants / m², light pruning in spring, fragrant plant, for dry soil, ‘Treaneague’ – very persistent and ideal for grave planting
  • Barbed nuts – inconspicuous flowers, fine leaves, decorative fruits, 5 cm high, 11 plants / m², cover a little in winter, cut off when the opportunity arises, tolerates drought, nice variety: ‘copper carpet’ – red foliage

For shady locations

  • Elven flower – blooms in April and May, large leaves, slightly reddish in winter, obscure autumn leaves, 20 to 30 cm high, ideal for graves under deciduous trees, 12 plants / m², cut off old leaves in spring, remove withered, good for larger graves , different sorts
  • Dickmännchen – upright shoots with large leaves, 20 cm high, 20 plants / m², shorten if too much height, undemanding, cover up autumn leaves, ideal for graves under deciduous trees, use different varieties, rather small varieties
  • Carpet golden strawberry – yellow flowers in April and May, 10 cm high, 15 plants / m², best to delimit, tolerate drought, more suitable for larger graves, leaf swallowers
  • Foam bloom – white flowers in April and May, 10 to 20 cm high, 12 plants / m², better to delimit, remove faded, for dry shade and larger graves, different varieties: ‘Bog green’ – small and robust, ‘Brandywine’ – beautiful autumn color

Robust all-rounder

So-called year-round plants are ideal for designing graves. Once planted, they can remain and ensure that the grave looks tidy all year round. They do little work and keep developing. They form the basic structure of the grave. Usually only one or two highlights are missing.
These plants are ideal for easy-care graves. You can cope with almost all locations and soil conditions.

  • Creeping spindle – creeping, often with variegated leaves, 30 cm high, 20 plants / m², cut in early summer and summer, very robust, many varieties: ‘Emerald’n Gold’ – yellow leaves that appear in the distance like a sea of ​​flowers, ‘ Emerald Gaiety ‘- white leaf margins with luminous effect
  • Cotoneaster – flowers in May and June, red fruits, flat, creeping growth, 10 to 15 cm high, 15 plants / m², cut in early summer and summer, very robust, different varieties: ‘Cooper’ – compact growth, small leaves, works delicate, ideal for small urn graves, ‘Variegatus – white-edged foliage
  • Small evergreen – blue or white flowers in May and September, 10 to 30 cm high, 16 plants per m², shorten in the first year due to branching, then cut only as needed, robust, leaf swallower, different varieties
  • Partridge berry – small leaves, inconspicuous flowers, red berries, growing flat, 5 to 10 cm high, 10 plants / m², cut too long shoots, very robust and undemanding
  • Large-flowered St. John’s wort – large, yellow flowers from July to September, large leaves, 20 to 30 cm high, 8 plants / m², cut back in spring, can freeze back, but sprout again, different varieties, but all of them bloom yellow

Ornamental perennials and grasses

Accents can be set with perennials and grasses. They are easy to care for and, with their larger leaves, cover the foliage of trees and faded bulbous plants. With colored ornamental leaves you can bring color to a grave even without flowers. But you shouldn’t be too colorful.

  • Hostas – large leafy plants, mostly for a little more shady or even completely shady places. Most will be too big for an urn grave, but they are ideal for double or family burial sites. There are countless varieties, single-colored, two-colored, with different leaf shapes and also with flowers. Select varieties that are not too lush and do not form runners! In autumn, only the leaves that have become unsightly need to be removed. The plants sprout again in spring.
  • Bergenia – evergreen to deciduous plants with interesting flowers in April or May, mostly in pink to pink, but also in white. Sometimes there is a re-bloom in the fall. Only unsightly leaves have to be removed and the withered flower stalks.
  • Purple bells – more delicate leaf shrubs in a wide variety of colors, depending on the variety. The decoration is the leaves, the flowers are mostly inconspicuous. There are different red-leaved varieties, silver-leaved, two-colored, almost black, all of which are somehow interesting. Very easy to care for, remove the unsightly leaves in spring. Many do not like bright sun, rather partial shade.
  • Sedge – many smaller sedge grasses are ideal for graves. One should choose evergreen varieties. Those with a white leaf margin are particularly suitable, they provide some color all year round. The plants are easy to care for. In spring, only unsightly leaves need to be removed.
  • Bearskin fescue – low grass with flowers in June, delicate panicles up to 50 cm high, forms dense cushions and is therefore an ideal ground cover, likes sun and gets by with little water

Small trees as an eye-catcher

With urn graves you have to be careful with the small trees. One is mostly sufficient. Topiary trees are best here, as they can be limited in size. With larger graves you have more choice, but you shouldn’t overload the area. You can choose from both deciduous and coniferous trees, as columnar, tall trunks with a round or hanging shape. Topiary trees are ideal because they do not get too big or can be cut back easily.

  • Dwarf mussel cypress ‘Nana Gracilis’ – slowly growing squeeze, slightly twisted branches, easy to care for, ideal for planting areas that are slightly higher than ground cover, initially round growth, later conical, good for partial shade, tolerates pruning
  • Yew trees – are cheap because they can withstand any pruning. In order not to look too gloomy, you can choose those with yellowish needles. Yew can be cut into any shape and tolerates shade perfectly. Unsuitable for urn graves, otherwise too much would have to be cut. Very easy to care for and evergreen
  • Boxwood – also evergreen and very easy on pruning, different varieties on offer, including slow-growing ones, which is cheaper. Cope with sun and partial shade and are easy to care for. Can also be brought into any shape.
  • Japanese maples – colored foliage and beautiful growth forms, choose a variety that does not grow too quickly and that suits the site conditions. Beautiful solitaire, as a highlight on the grave
  • Dwarf pine – evergreen, remains small, a maximum of 80 cm high, but up to 150 girth, for larger graves, spherical growth, very dense, slowly growing, hardly needs maintenance, undemanding, thrives almost everywhere, best in the sun
  • Dwarf balsam fir – small, broad-growing fir with compact growth, up to 1 m high, for rather shady areas
  • Barberry (B. thunbergii ‘Atropurpurea Nana’ – bright red leaves in a completely sensual location, leaves shed in late autumn, then small berries, easy to care for
  • Skimmia – white, fragrant flowers in May and June, evergreen, 50 to 80 cm high, compatible with topiary, for larger graves

Flowering plants

Flowering plants are of course always something special. It is important that they either remain naturally small or that they can be cut well. Plus, not only should they look good during flowering, that’s too little for the limited space on a grave.

  • Ground cover roses – reach a maximum height of 50 cm and remain compact. Many varieties, you should choose one that blooms more often and, if you don’t have time to clean up the flowers, one that does not produce rose hips, otherwise the rose puts its strength into seed formation and not into the formation of new flowers. Usually easy to care for, must be pruned tightly in spring. Most are for sunny locations. Select a robust variety, depending on the location
  • Japanese azalea – beautiful flowering plants, different varieties, different flower colors, flowering in late spring, select the variety that remains small, mostly too big for urn graves, keep small by pruning
  • Hydrangeas – beautiful flowering plants, flowering depending on the variety, choose a variety that stays small or that is very pruning, most prefer partial shade, but there are also shade- or sun-loving varieties, pruning depending on the variety after flowering or in spring, easy to care for, needs fertilizer and likes dry ones Floors not
  • Christmas roses – winter bloomers, provides color in gray winter, easy to care for in a partially shaded location, does not like midday heat, becomes more beautiful every year and blooms more, also sows, very grateful plant
  • Scented violets – small, delicate plants, good area cover, 5 to 15 cm high, blooms in March and April, provides the first splash of color, next to bulbous plants, likes partial shade, not bright sun, spreads well, different varieties, different flower colors
  • Stonecrop – numerous types and varieties, they should be perennial and not too tall, thick-fleshed varieties store water and are well suited for dry locations, different flowers and also flowering times, depending on the type and variety, mostly very frugal and extremely easy to care for, with the right one Choice of variety, always according to location

Planting bowls

If you keep a grave simple, you can set accents and a highlight with a beautiful and seasonally planted bowl. This type of design is particularly popular with urn graves. As the seasons change, small planters can be embellished in many ways with seasonal flowers. Especially with evergreen plants, the splashes of color in the bowl create beautiful contrasts. Plant bowls are also a good solution for graves that are mainly covered with stone. Natural stone, clay, plastic and others are suitable as materials for the vessels. When choosing the planting, the location must be taken into account. If the place is in full sun, watering has to be done almost every day in summer. If you can’t do that, you either have to use a planter with a water reservoir or choose plants that are very drought-tolerant. It is important to have an opening in the vessels for excess water. In principle, any seasonal plant can be planted.

Cemetery flowers

Typical cemetery flowers are:

  • Chrysanthemums – traditional death flower, a symbol of love beyond death. Ideal for autumn planting, many varieties, different sizes and colors, add color to the grave
  • Callas – traditional death flower, symbol of immortality, tuberous plant, different colors, traditionally white, tuber not hardy, has to rise from the ground in autumn, also good in the planter, also as a cut flower for grave vase
  • White lilies – traditional death flower, stands for a pure heart and love beyond death, as well as for the resurrection of the soul. Lilies tend to grow too tall for grave planting, but are ideal for grave vases
  • Primroses – symbol of hope, sign of spring, available in many colors and shapes, bring color back to the grave after the dreary winter, inexpensive and beautiful spring plant
  • Pansies or horned violets – symbolize modesty, innocence and memory, frugal and long-flowering plants, ideal for planting directly or in planters, many colors available, appear both monochrome and multi-colored
  • Tagetes (marigold) – easy-care permanent bloomer, many varieties, preferably lower ones, you can stick with one variety or mix the colors, inexpensive and easy-care flower
  • Forget-me-not – stands for love beyond death and a tender farewell, available in blue, white and pink, multiplies strongly, likes penumbra

Frequently asked questions

How can you prevent the area for seasonal plants from being overgrown by ground cover?
This works well with pliable lawn edging. These are made of thin plastic and can be bent and kinked. Individual parts can also be screwed together. So you can separate individual areas well. Rubber lawn edging made from recycled tires is also recommended.

How can you restrict watering?
The right choice of plants is important so that you don’t have to water every day. They have to be very frugal, especially in a sunny location. Mulching helps prevent the soil from drying out as quickly. Penetrating watering is better than little watering every day. In addition, you should water in the morning, then more water will penetrate the soil. At noon and in the evening some of the water evaporates because the soil is very warm. In addition, water-storing soil additives such as Geohumus can be mixed under the ground. It is best to put it in the planting hole at the same time.

Does special grave soil make sense?
Pure grave soil usually consists of 100 percent black peat. They contain next to no nutrients and are actually only intended to cover. Anyone who needs soil to fill a sagged grave can use grave potting soil. They consist of clay, black peat, white peat, coconut fibers, compost and bark humus. Sufficient plant food is contained here and the soil ultimately also absorbs the irrigation water better.

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