Gardening is a LOT of work. Between planning, planting, weeding, separating, trimming, and more weeding, taking care of a garden can be time-consuming. But with these low-maintenance perennials, you can create an easy-to-care-for garden that you can enjoy all summer long.
While you do have to keep these plants watered (all plants, no matter how low maintenance, need water), there is little to no pruning, fertilizing, weeding, or fussing needed to help these hardy plants thrive. That way, you can easily use your time and energy to work on other things such as enjoying a lovely cup of coffee on your back patio, reading a good book, or baking up a plate of delicious chocolate chip cookies (and if you do the latter, feel free to send me some!).
Since the majority of these perennials require very little maintenance, the rewards are much more than just beautiful, they are relaxing as well.
Perennials not only add beauty to your garden, but they also add value to your home. The more vibrant your garden is, the more energy it has. So by having a few different varieties of perennials throughout your garden, you’re giving it all the energy it needs to thrive.
There are many, many types of perennials that you can grow in your garden, but below we will discuss some that are really easy to grow and will thrive in an easy-to-care-for garden. Use these low-maintenance perennial gardens to create a stunning, healthy green space that will last all season long.
7 of the Best Low Maintenance Perennials for Full Sun
If your garden gets a lot of sunshine it’s important to pick a perennial that thrives in those conditions. These tend to be plants that need at least 6 hours of sun a day and don’t mind the occasional drought.
Daylily plants are readily available at most garden centers, but you can also purchase them by mail order. Although they are super easy to grow, spread well, and bloom in a beautiful variety of colors, they do need at least six hours of sunlight each day, and full sun is preferable.
I have a huge variety of daylilies in my garden, with almost every color you can imagine. However, not every daylily follows the same blooming pattern, so check the details on the card while you are selecting the color(s) for your own garden. Some daylilies are rebloomers or everbloomers, which provide an extended blooming time. Others only bloom once but have such a beautiful show of color that it’s worth it.
Even when not in bloom, Daylilies have an elegant grass-like leaf that provides good ground coverage and a rich mound of green late into the summer.
Black-Eyed Susans are easy to grow and adapt well to most regions in the country. They’ll tolerate temperatures between 35 and 90 degrees, and will grow even in poor soil. But make sure to give them enough space, as they grow to be in excess of four feet tall with numerous branches and large pointed leaves.
Black-eyed Susans are self-seeders and have a beautiful textured flower with a dark black center. They are an easy garden plant and blooms profusely all summer long. They are also very drought-tolerant. They like the sun, so you can plant them in full sun in any landscape. They do prefer neutral soil and sandy rather than clay soil.
You can grow these super easy daisy plants in containers or directly in the garden. These Low Maintenance Perennials don’t need much in the way of sun or water and are very drought tolerant.
Shasta Daisies are a perennial with low-growing arching stems that bloom in late summer and early fall. They come in a variety of colors including white, yellow, salmon, burgundy, fuchsia, and orange. Shasta Daisies have small, flat, white flowers that bloom in dense clusters. The daisy itself has a small, green flower stem. And many have a green-like top. They will survive in a pinch or planting area as long as they get good air circulation. They are a wonderful ground cover in dry areas and add lovely color to your garden.
The one caution with Shasta Daisies is that they spread quickly, so be careful to plant them somewhere that they won’t take over your entire garden.
Best known for its gorgeous pinkish-purple flowers that last for weeks, coneflowers have been grown in the U.S. for almost 200 years. They’re hearty and self-seeding, so as long as you plant them in the right location, you’ll always get fresh coneflowers every year.
The star of their show is the rosette of beautiful cone-shaped, vase-shaped, star-shaped flowers in shades of purple, pink, mauve, peach, yellow, and white. These beautiful flowers can grow tall with a diameter of around 6 inches. As if the flowers aren’t beautiful enough, the leaves are also colorful and act like miniature spiky lanterns in the evening.
Gorgeous with erect stems, Rose Mallow is a low maintenance perennial with pleasantly fragrant, bell-like flowers. It prefers moist, well-drained soil. (This is why it is an excellent companion to Rose of Sharon.)
You can plant Mallow in the ground or in pots in spring. Mallow will tolerate some drought and can be watered by dripping or setting out the soaking water.
Mallow’s foliage does require some cutting back in the fall but after the seedheads fall off the stems, you won’t see any evidence of mowing or pruning the plant.
The word “lavender” translates into English in different ways depending on who you ask. Some sources say that Lavender means “strong fragrance”, others will translate the term as “to wash”. Either way, because of its fragrance alone, it is no surprise that you would want to grow some lavender in your garden (or use it as an air purifying plant for the bedroom). Lavender, a perennial plant, grows well in full sun in cool climates, as long as temperatures don’t rise above about 80 degrees during the day and 65 degrees at night. It prefers to grow near trees and shrubs, and it spreads quickly if it’s in a large area.
This beautiful flower has a long history of use, both for decorative and medicinal purposes. It was the symbol of the queen of France during the French revolution. Today, we use lavender as an aromatic part of homes and for decorative flower arrangements. It can also be grown as an annual to use around the house all summer long, or in the landscape, as an evergreen hedge.
Peonies are bright and beautiful that will come back every year and take your breath away. Gorgeous oversized flowers are the big feature of peonies, although they are at the bottom of the list because these flowers are often heavier than the stems can support, so they do need a bit of work to keep them supported. When in season, peonies add color and a touch of grace to any garden. They come in pink, white, and other variations, and they’ll bloom until they just fall over.
They will take up a lot of space, but the long-lasting blooms you get will be well worth the effort. The most maintenance they need is a quick dead-heading every spring so they come back strong every year. But even if you end up skipping that step for a year – or two – they will still grow. I know this from personal experience.
7 of the Best Low Maintenance Perennials for Shade
Perfect if you have very little sun or if you’re trying to create a private or small garden. These perennials don’t require a lot of irrigation and can survive on regular water in cloudy weather. Because these low-maintenance perennials will thrive in shade, they are perfect for filling in some of those blank spots in your backyard or garden that you don’t know what to do with.
A native of Asia, Hosta is a low-maintenance green perennial. Thanks to the fan-shaped leaf shape, the need for pruning is minimal. And thanks to their seed capsules, you can plant more plants without the worry of losing them. Although they might take a bit of work to get them established, once they are mature, Hostas can survive in many less than ideal soil conditions.
Like Daylilies, Hostas come in a wide variety of leaf shapes, sizes, and colors, although most fall in neutral white, green, and yellow colors. Even “Blue” hostas are a blue-ish green color. I have seen people promoting new colors (red and pink for example) but I have never seen one in real life and the general consensus is that these varieties don’t exist… yet.
Ferns make tough but beautiful additions to any shady garden. Ferns are low maintenance perennials that are a must for shady yet damp places in your yard. Their feathery leaves provide a wonderful mound of greenery that mixes well with lots of other shade-loving plants.
Perfect for shady spots in your yard, ferns deliver a soft and natural splash of color and texture. They also make an excellent choice if the local deer keep eating your Hostas or other shade-loving plants because deer are not nearly as attracted to ferns as they are to other available options.
Ferns come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes so you can use them as specimen plants or for background plantings.
Astilbe, a group of four different bulbs. All four plants grow as a group, giving a lovely pop of color. With their three-leaf forms and the variety of patterns they can create, they are fun to grow. These are very easy to find in nurseries, most likely in the spring.
Perennial Astilbe grows best in part shade (unlike some other full-shade perennials, Astilbe does like a little bit of sun), and it tends to grow slowly in a group with a range of different colors and flowers. It’s a great beginner plant, because it’s easy to transplant, and you don’t need to do a lot of pruning.
Lily of the Valley
Lily of the Valley is a flowering perennial that you can keep in your garden all season long. A great groundcover in small areas, this decorative perennial does well in shady spots, prefers soil with good drainage, and does not require a lot of care.
Sometimes written lily-of-the-valley, this is typically a woodland flowering plant with sweetly scented, bell-shaped white flowers in the spring. It is native throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere in Asia and Europe but is considered generally invasive in parts of North America.
Lily of the Valley is also known for its fragrance, and it will infuse the whole area with its distinctively lovely scent. They also make for wonderful additions to floral bouquets.
Perennial Bugbane (Pinguicula) is a hardy groundcover that ranges in color from white to yellow, maroon, and reddish. It has prickly leaves of various sizes and shapes, sometimes with faint violet veins. It is a very compact groundcover that requires good drainage and a sunny spot. However, you can also transplant it and set it on a covered porch, on a patio, or on the lawn, where it will spread like wildfire.
People have been using bugbane as a garden plant since at least the 1600s. The plant originates from Peru and was introduced to the Americas by Spanish explorers. Most regions now have several varieties.
Perennial hydrangeas are among the easiest flowering perennials to grow, especially in containers. These Low Maintenance Perennials are fun to grow and attract a variety of pollinators.
These plants will grow as long as they receive a lot of water and give off enough support from the roots. After that, you’ll just need to make sure to deadhead them or cut off the flower buds to get them to produce again the following season.
Just plant your hydrangeas right where you want them, and water and tend to them regularly. When in doubt, poke some holes in the soil with a fork and some dirt. Hydrangeas like it a little wet, so you’ll want to cover the hole with some mulch as well.
Hydrangeas are one of the best choices for those who want a low-maintenance garden because you can just let them do what they do
Clematis is a vigorous climbing herbaceous perennial that grows up to 15 to 20 feet tall and with a spread of up to 60 feet. Clematis are unique and beautiful in so many ways. Not only are they beautiful when in bloom, but their attractive foliage can complement other plantings, adding a needed focal point. Clematis are considered to be hardy down to about -25 degrees Fahrenheit, which is extremely important for you to remember, since, for the most part, clematis cannot be grown in areas that are usually below freezing.
You can create a romantic, breathtaking accent to your garden with these Low Maintenance Perennials. They’re excellent cut flowers that are beautiful all season long, and, when pruned correctly, they make an excellent ground cover. Perfect for covering a fence or pergola,
Clematis can be a difficult perennial to establish for beginners because you can easily kill the young plants. Its competitors grow very well at the same time. But there is good news. Once established, Clematis is adaptable to the natural environment, like the garden, so it will usually survive your garden.
The big trick for a low-maintenance Clematis is to pick the right variety, as some of them need more extensive pruning each year compared to the lower-maintenance varieties.
A Little Bit of Work, A Lot of Beauty
With a little bit of work to establish it and a little bit of work to maintain it, you – too – can have a beautiful perennial garden that you can enjoy throughout the season.
Do you have other favorite low-maintenance perennial plants that we didn’t cover in this article? Let us known in the comments below!