12 Low Maintenance Perennial Plants

12 Low Maintenance Perennials for Your Garden

With new book projects, websites and conferences around every corner and kids growing up before my very eyes, I only have time for the basics in the garden. ​Finicky plants that need special attention and constant tending won’t do well here. Here are 12 low maintenance perennials that are more or less “set it and forget it, coming back year after year with little to no effort.

 

  • 01 of 12

    Achillea

    Achillea
    Achillea. Photo courtesy of Swallowtail Garden Seeds

    Yarrow grows to be a couple of feet tall with fern-like foliage. The summer blooms can be white, yellow, pink, and red. Yarrow is tolerant to drought, so you’ll have gorgeous flowers even during dry summers (or when you’ve forgotten to water). Hardy to zones 3-9.

     

  • 02 of 12

    Astilbe

    Astilbe
    Astilbe. Photo courtesy of Tony Hisgett

    These late spring to early summer blooms feature muted pinks and reds.  Growing from one to four feet tall, they are a good fit in a shady space. Add them for delicate blooms and beautiful color with little to no maintenance required. Hardy to zones 4-8.

     

  • 03 of 12

    Baptisia

    Baptisia
    Baptisia. Photo courtesy of normanack

    For the look and maintenance level of wildflowers, use Baptisia to fill spaces in the garden or edible landscape. Yellows, blues, and purples on tall two to four feet spikes bring lots of color. Plant in light shade for early spring blooms. Hardy to zones 3-9.

     

  • 04 of 12

    Coreopsis

    Coreopsis
    Coreopsis. Photo courtesy of Bob Peterson

    These daisy-like flowers are gorgeous year after year without much tending. Expect summer and fall blooms at one to three feet tall, with good drought tolerance. Hardy to zones 3-9.

     

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    Echinacea

    Echinacea
    Echinacea. Photo courtesy of Maria Grazia Montagnari

    Also known as the coneflower, Echinacea is excellent both medicinally and aesthetically. Another with flowers reminiscent of daisies, Echinacea will grow two to four feet tall and tolerate drought well. Hardy to zones 3-8.

     

  • 06 of 12

    Hemerocallis

    Hemerocallis
    Hemerocallis. Photo courtesy of fugzu

    Daylilies are staples in a perennial garden. Beautiful in shady areas, each stalk will produce several lily-like flowers and lots of fine grass-like foliage. Drought tolerant and hardy to zones 3-9.

     

  • 07 of 12

    Hostas

    Hostas
    Hostas. Photo courtesy of InAweofGod'sCreation

    For beautiful foliage and a low maintenance plant, hostas are a given. Not only are the leaves detailed and colorful, but the flowers that they spike attract hummingbirds and look lovely in the shade. Do watch out for slugs, though, as hostas tend to attract them. Hardy to zones 3-8.

     

  • 08 of 12

    Iris sibirica

    Iris sibirica
    Iris sibirica. Photo courtesy of Alex Lomas

    Grown for beautiful flowers and thin foliage, expect these to grow one to three feet tall in any place from part shade to full sun. These like moist soil, so place them next to water features to keep them low maintenance. Hardy to zones 2-9.

     

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    Nepeta

    Nepeta subsessilis
    Nepeta subsessilis. Photo courtesy of TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋)

    Catmint grows from one and a half to three feet tall, bursting with violet blue flowers in the spring and summer. For an extra flush of blooms, cut it back after the first round of flowering. Hardy to zones 3-8.

     

  • 10 of 12

    Salvia

    Salvia
    Salvia. Photo courtesy of M a n u e l

    Sage plants are low maintenance once established, a drought tolerant and deliciously fragrant addition to the garden. Look for summer blooms and growth up to four feet tall. Hardy to zones 4-7.

     

  • 11 of 12

    Sedum

    Sedum
    Sedum. Photo courtesy of Kate Ter Haar

    Even in poor soil and drought conditions, Sedum perennials bring an array of colorful flowers to the fall garden. Look for Autumn Charm and Autumn Fire varieties for rich color and a two to three feet spread. Hardy to zones 3-9.

     

  • 12 of 12

    Thyme

    Thyme
    Thyme. Photo courtesy of Alice Henneman

    A true garden workhorse, thyme is good for just about everything. Herbal in culinary and medicinal preparations, thyme is excellent for kitchen gardens. It also creeps along the ground, making it a good choice where you need a ground cover crop. Or, trim it back to make it more mounded. Fragrant with delicate blooms, thyme is beautiful in any capacity. Grow from a starter for the most low maintenance establishment. Hardy to zones 5-9, depending on the variety.

     

There are low maintenance and easy to care for perennial plants that you can grow and need little attention in order to thrive. Here's our list of perennial plants.