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Low Maintenance, Easy Care Perennial Flowers
It may vary from climate to climate and season to season, but there are many wonderful perennial plants that can be labeled low maintenance. The two basic tricks are: 1) Pick plants suited to your site and 2) allow them time to become established.
If you do this, you will have at least a few low maintenance, undemanding plants providing interest and bloom in the perennial border. This is not to say your garden will be no maintenance. Where's the fun in that? But these 10 plants will allow you time to enjoy gardening.Continue to 2 of 11 below.
02 of 11
Blazing Star (Liatris spicata)
Although native to marshy areas, Liatris is surprisingly drought tolerant and accepting of all types of soil. It is a tireless bloomer, and the spiky flowers and grassy foliage add definite textural interest to the garden. With their high nectar content and tubular flowers, these plants are also magnets for monarch butterflies, during their fall migration.
To avoid staking, select a compact or low growing variety.
USDA Zones: 3 - 9
Blooms: Mid-summer through fall
Colors: Purples, pink, or whiteContinue to 3 of 11 below.
03 of 11
Coneflower - A Dependable Plant and A Welcome Sight
There was a time not so long ago when coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) were Purple Coneflowers. Now this extremely rugged prairie plant can be had in almost any color of the rainbow, including some bold, electric colors. The originals are still the hardiest, but as they keep refining the breeding of the newer varieties, they get better and better. Coneflowers will bloom all summer, with deadheading. Other than deadheading though, coneflowers pretty much take care of themselves.
USDA Zones: 2 - 10
Colors: Purple, white, orange, yellow, pink & red (More every year!)
Continue to 4 of 11 below.
- Growing Coneflowers and
- Choosing Non-purple Coneflowers
04 of 11
Coral Bells Will Dazzle in a Shade Garden
Heuchera got its common name of Coral Bells because the original garden plant had dainty coral bell-shaped flowers. The foliage was nice, but it was the froth of flowers that was the main attraction. These days Coral Bells are more often grown for the colorful and variegated leaves. Heuchera comes in shades of purple, butterscotch, mottled green and strips. Most varieties favor partial shade, where their season-long color is always welcome.
Despite the small size of the flowers, they are one of the most popular hummingbird plants.
USDA Zones: 3 - 8
Blooms: Late spring / Early summer, but grown for its foliage.
Colors: Flowers are white, pink or red and the foliage can be anything from lime green to deep purple, with lots of swirls and splotches in the mix.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
05 of 11
Delicate, Well-Behaved Foam Flower Carpets the Garden
Foam Flower (Tiarella cordifolia) spreads rapidly but accommodates other plants by going around them. It makes an ideal ground cover, giving four seasons of interest where the leaves are still visible above snow cover.
Fuzzy spikes of flowers shoot out above the maple-shaped leaves. The velvety leaves remain attractive all season. Foam Flower will take care of itself if planted in a shady or woodland setting.Continue to 6 of 11 below.
06 of 11
Steel Blue Globe Thistle is as Hardy as It Looks
Here is one thistle that is not weedy or invasive. Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro) don't require division because, with its long tap root, it doesn't like to be disturbed. It appears to bloom forever because the seed head is as attractive as the bloom. Which means there is no need to deadhead, and echinops even does well in poor, dry soil.
Although they stay in bloom for weeks at a time, the beauty does not end there. Globe thistle looks attractive even as it fades, and it makes a great dried flower, almost drying itself.
USDA Zones: 3 - 9
Blooms: Early summer to Early Fall
Colors: Blue or whiteContinue to 7 of 11 below.
07 of 11
Don't Take Versatile Hosta for Granted
Hostas are extremely low care perennials. If the deer and slugs didn't love them so much, they'd be almost perfect. Since they do most of their growing early in the season, a few applications of a systemic deer deterrent can greatly lessen the deer damage, and the thicker leaved varieties are less attractive to slugs. Most do best in partial shade, but the golden leaf varieties can handle a good deal of sun.
USDA Zones: 3 - 9
Blooms: Generally mid-Summer
Colors: Purples or whiteContinue to 8 of 11 below.
08 of 11
Fragrant Flowering Peonies
With fragrance, blooms you want to touch and a carefree growing habit, is it any wonder peonies (Paeonia) are often called queens of the garden?
This favorite, old-fashioned perennial looks does best if left alone. The heavy double blossoms may require some staking if they don't have other plants to lean on, but the single flowered varieties are usually able to stand tall on their own. The bushy foliage looks attractive all season.
Peonies prefer to stay put and don't adjust quickly to being divided. They can be prone to gray mold (botrytis), and the foliage should be cut back and disposed of in the fall. There are an incredible number of peony varieties to choose from to suit your garden's look.
USDA Zones: 2 - 9
Blooms: Late spring / Early summer
Colors: Pinks, white, reds or yellowContinue to 9 of 11 below.
09 of 11
Russian Sage Plants Create a Haze of Blue
Give Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) good drainage, and full sun, and you'll be rewarded with a haze of blue that gets brighter and more vivid as the blossoms open. The plants get woody stems but can die back to the ground in colder climates. Pruning down to 8 - 10 inches in early spring encourages new growth and profuse blooms. It is highly resistant to droughts as well.
Russian Sage has very few pest problem. Even deer don't like it. You won't need to divide your Russian Sage, but you will get a few welcome volunteers.
USDA Zones: 3 - 9
Blooms: Mid-summer to Fall
Colors: Purple-BlueContinue to 10 of 11 below.
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Sea Thrift Flowers Start Off Spring with a Burst of Color
The foliage of Sea Thrift (Armeria) resembles a tuft of grass, but don't be fooled. The flowers demand to be noticed, by shooting up above the delicate foliage, in bold colors. The flower themselves resemble small allium clusters. If deadheaded, you will usually get a repeat bloom, and the whole plant can be refreshed by cutting down to basal growth, but it's not required.
Sweet looking plants, they are actually tough customers, able to grow in rocky soil and even in high winds and sea spray.
USDA Zones: 4 - 9
Blooms: Spring to Early summer
Colors: Pink, rose, lilac, red or whiteContinue to 11 of 11 below.
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Siberian Iris - All the Beauty of Iris, with Minimal Care
Siberian iris (Iris siberica) is one of the most attractive and adaptable of the irises. Siberian Iris have the typical iris leaf blades, but unlike many of their cousins, Siberian Iris leaves don't flop or scorch after blooming. The plants remain a contrasting form in the garden long after the blooms have faded.
Siberian iris can spread quickly in moist conditions and require division when they get crowded, or they will produce fewer flowers. But that's about all the effort they require from you. In warmer zones, they may even re-bloom in the fall.
USDA Zones: 3 - 9
Blooms: Late spring
Colors: Blues, purples or white