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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.