10 Low Maintenance Perennials

Ilona Erwin

Make Life Easier with Low Maintenance Perennial Plantings

Everyone needs a list of easy to grow perennials to grow in their gardens. Even if you pride yourself on being able to pepper your landscape with plants that need coddling and are rarities, the low maintenance brigade will carry the day in years when the weather goes crazy on you or you had one too many obligations and celebrations to spend all your time in the garden.

For the rest of us, we will appreciate being able to enjoy the free blooming good looks of many of these choices. Today, I am looking at loads of lovely Black-eyed Susans which are brightening many corners of the yard without need of fertilizing, cultivation. or dragging water hoses to them. These plants can fill in some challenging areas or combine to make a pretty border. However you choose to plant them, they will reward you with color, good foliage, and a perennial good show.

Daylilies (Hemerocallis)

Plant breeders have had a heyday with the daylily, creating loads of colors, interesting forms, long bloom seasons, and even more variations. The beautiful flowers and the ease of maintenance makes these premier flowers for modern gardens and public landscape installations.

While their season has been extended look for most varieties to bloom mid-season in July.

The color range has come a long way from the original orange of the roadside lilies. Delicious hues of pink, mysterious deep reds, and glowing golds are among the favorites. There are also whites and lavenders.

How to Grow Daylilies

Iris Siberica

The Siberian Iris is a graceful addition to any place in the landscape. As long as you give it its basic requirements, this is an easy care planting that blooms beautifully in the May-June window of the iris season. The rest of the season you can count on slender green foliage that arches slightly and creates a texture of elongated swordlike lines.
When planting, cover the narrow rhizomes with one or two inches of soil in a slightly acidic soil. Full sun and moist, but not soggy, soil suits them best. I have grown them in partly sunny conditions.

Growing Siberian Iris

Bergenia cordifolia

Not very well known, it should be planted more often. It has thick glossy leaves and pretty flowers on stalks, held above the foliage.

Bergenia has the odd nickname of “Pig squeak”, but don’t let that put you off. It is a good plant for partly shady and shady spots, and is very low maintenance. It has medium water needs, and provides some fall color. The leaves and flowers are both useful for flower arranging. Used mainly as a ground cover.

Echinacea Purpurea

Another hardy, easy to grow plant that has won hearts everywhere. Gardeners love the daisy flowers, landscapers love the reliable garden show, and you will love that Coneflowers don’t require much care once they are established.

Because of their versatility in the landscape and newfound popularity, Plant breeders have provided numerous cultivars to choose from. These native plants were originally only a warm pink color, but now are available in more shades including white.

Growing Coneflowers

Rudbeckia Fulgida ‘Goldsturm’

This is now one of the premier landscape plants, known for its tolerance of difficult situations. Black-eyed Susans love sun, like average moisture, and grow in lean conditions. They tolerate lower light, and drought, when necessary.

‘Goldsturm’ is an early and completely reliable cultivar that delivers a long period of showy golden daisy flowers.

This and other favorite daisies

Hardy Geranium

Geranium sanguineum is not just easy, but beautiful and versatile.Its blooms are a cup shape that contrasts nicely with spires and daisies, the more common flower forms.

This hardy geranium is tolerant of many garden situations of light, moisture, and types of soil. The only thing it doesn’t like so well is to be crowded out.

Low growing, this geranium is nicely tucked around shrubs or in front of the border. It can be used to line walkways, too. Give it good drainage, and some shade in the South. Otherwise, this is a very long blooming, accommodating plant. Multiply it through division.

 
Hardy Gerinium Profile

Phlox Paniculata

This favorite old-fashioned border perennial is a native to Eastern, Central USA and Canada. It has been bred to have giant heads of bloom and delightful colors.

Although a true perennial (lasts in the garden for years), and not difficult to grow, it rewards those who give it fertile soil, regular moisture, and feeding.

How to grow tall Phlox

Hostas

Hostas become a gardener’s favorite once their beauty and usefulness are known. Besides having some of the most outstanding foliage in a garden plant, they have lovely spikes of bloom. They do their best in somewhat shady situations (which can be challenging for most showy blooming plants).

Hostas do not thrive in full sun and dry conditions, they love moisture and the large leaves stay fresh when protected from harsh bright sun. Other than that, they are tough and are quite long lived. Easy to grow from divisions, for named varieties, and from seed.

How to grow Hostas

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Sedum Spectabile

A spectacular plant in fall, and dependable for the rest of the season, this is an all season performer. Leaving the flower heads over winter to catch snow is one way to add interest to the dormant garden.

This plant is so simple to grow it is almost ridiculous. Take a piece of stem and it will strike easily, quickly turning into a clump.

Very low maintenance, asking only for plenty of sunshine to do its best.  It will tolerate partial shade, but in my experience doesn’t live as long with low amounts of light. Always does well in average conditions, appreciates good drainage, and is drought tolerant.

Hylotelephium is the proper name for this plant, now. There are many good, named varieties: ‘Autumn Joy’, ‘Brilliant’, ‘Neon’.

How to grow Sedum spectabile

echinops ritro

Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro)

There are times you want to grow a thistle. They are tough, easy, and have blue flowers. This one has a showy blue globe  flower on an architecturally structured stem.

I haven’t found found it to be a nuisance, but it may be if happy. It loves the sunny, well drained spot you have planted it in. Echinops ritro will grow with less sun than ideal, and is very hardy.

Blooming in late July and August, it brings an interesting shape and rare blue color into the late season garden. Globe Thistles have a somewhat “wild” look that will blend in well with meadow and prairie plantings. (It isn’t native to the USA, however, coming originally from a band across the lower part of Europe into Eurasia).

Globe Thistle Highlight

Not enough for you? Try some of these other plants that are low maintenance and can be used in borders or around the landscape in other ways (as features, trimming shrubs and hedges, in containers, etc).

What Is “Low Maintenance”?

A plant that doesn’t require lots of attention from the gardener to do well, is a short summary of this qualification.

One that grows well under most average conditions of soil and moisture.

Brunnera

Peonies

Coreopsis

Heuchera

Asclepsias tuberosa

Hardy Geranium

Add These Easy Perennials, Too

These springtime beauties bloom in the spring, but have attractive foliage all season. These plants are very long lived in the garden. Grow Peonies
Another garden stalwart, Coreopsis bring cut and come again color to any sunny spot.
Butterfly weed pops with orange blossoms for a very long time throughout the summer.
Hardy geraniums are worry free perennials and this one happily gives dependable pink color.
One of my new favorites, the foliage is the star asset of this plant, but the blue forget-me-not flowers are a spring feature.
The new darlings of the garden because of the wide and evergrowing variety of foliage colors. Coralbells were always a pretty flower to grow, but now a must-have.

Reference For More Easy Gardening Plant Choices

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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author

Ilona Erwin

I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of Ilona's Reflecting Pool. Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.