Would you like beautiful flowers for your garden that are low maintenance? Perennials are the answer! These are my top 12 perfect perennials for a low maintenance flower garden.
12 Perfect Low-Maintenance Plants
Perennials are plants that come up and bloom every year – unlike annuals, which last for only one season. Some perennials will not only look gorgeous year after year, but they will also multiply! The only drawback is that they generally bloom for a specific, short period of time and then are just greenery or die back altogether. But that’s where annuals come into play – plant them among the perennials and you will achieve continuous blooming in your garden. To learn more about annuals, read 10 Easy to Grow Annuals.
Botanical vs common name
Plants are known by different common names, depending on where you live. To make sure we are all discussing the same flowering plant, I’ve gotten into the habit of trying to use their botanical name. This way, you are sure to get the same plant if you order online or go to your local nursery or garden center. Besides, their “real” names sound pretty cool!
Here’s my top 12 perfect perennials:
Commonly known as columbine, this gorgeous early spring perennial is loved by hummingbirds and butterflies. (and gardeners too!) It comes in deep purples, reds, yellows and softer shades of pinks and lavender. Lucky us, because it self-sows it’s seeds, giving us more and more plants each year! Aquilegia does well in partial shade to full sun.
Asclepias probably got its common name of “butterflyweed” because this bright orange member of the milkweed family is very attractive to butterflies. It loves full sun, and makes a great cut flower.
Another perennial that makes a great cut flower! Astilbe does well in shade or an area with dappled sunlight, and comes in white, pink and burgundy.
This is Sweet Autumn clematis, a fragrant and beautiful vine that blooms in September. I don’t even have to look at the calendar anymore, because mine will start to bloom exactly on September 1st every year! Clematis in general are easy-care vines that like to have their “heads in the sun, and feet in the shade” – meaning, keep the lower portion of the plant shaded, and let it climb up a trellis or arbor to reach the sun. There are several types of clematis, and each requires different pruning techniques, so be sure to research the variety you choose. Sweet Autumn has got to be the easiest one to take care of though. I cut mine back to about 2′ high in the fall, and it comes back with gusto every year.
Lily-of-the-valley smells so sweet! I always look forward to late spring when mine comes up the in the shade garden. Normally found in white, I got really lucky when my neighbour’s pink lily-of-the-valley crept under the fence and started growing in my garden! It has spread throughout the shade garden, and I couldn’t be happier. Even after the flowers die back, the leaves work really well in cut flower arrangements.
This is Lucifer, a fiery red crocosmia, and a member if the iris family. But unlike iris, crocosmia makes a fantastic cut flower! Mine usually blooms in early July, so it’s perfect for making a Fourth of July flower arrangement. The bright red flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies, and it loves being in a sunny garden. A large cluster of these plants is a real show-stopper.
Dicentra spectabilis alba
Bleeding hearts are a shade-loving perennial, and come in white (like this alba) or the traditional pink and white. My mom gave me this plant years ago, and I have since split it up into over a dozen plants. Here you can see that I have it paired with a green and white hosta (in the bottom of the above photo). This area of my yard is shady, and it’s where I have my all white garden.
Daylilies are so stately and perfect to pair up with daffodils. As the leaves of the daylilies emerge and fill out, they hide the dying foliage of the daffodils. Daylilies are also edible (I’ll admit it though – I have never eaten one.) Unfortunately, deer happen to know this too, and a beautiful bed of daylilies just says “LUNCH!!!” to deer. Just a heads up if you have deer roaming where you live. If you don’t have to worry about foraging wildlife, then you must grow some of these! Mine are planted along the driveway, and have spread so much that it’s time to thin the plants out and transplant some into another garden.
Yes, that’s a brown iris! There’s a story behind that plant. When I was little, my mom and dad had painted the house chocolate brown. Yeah, it sounds gross, but this cottage style house looked cute! Mom planted cocoa brown iris in one of the front gardens, and they looked great up against the dark brown house. At one point, my mom gave chunks of the brown iris plant to her sister – my aunt. But over the years, the plants here in my garden were either removed, got mowed down, or somehow disappeared. Now that I own the house, I’m working to restore the gardens back to what my parents had growing back in 1950 when they bought the house. Lucky for me, my aunt was able to keep her brown iris growing and spreading, so she gave me a nice big chunk to plant. And now they are back home in the front garden where they originally started! Does that give you an idea of how cool these plants are? This particular plant has been around for over sixty-six years!
I haven’t met a single person who doesn’t like peonies. Their large, fluffy blooms and sweet, rose-like fragrance makes them so lovable. They’re great as a cut flower, and super easy to grow! This one is Kansas, a classic shade of pink, and so fragrant. I also grow Festiva Maxima, an all white – with one red petal in the center of each bloom, Karl Rosenfield – a deep reddish pink, Raspberry Sorbet – with single pink outer petals, and a fluffy pale yellow and pink center, and Sarah Bernhardt – a light pink with double petals. My dream is to someday grow a pale yellow variety, but when I priced them at this past February’s flower show, the plant was going for around $75. Don’t you worry though, the normal price for a peony is below $10. I just happen to have champagne taste and a thing for the unusual.
Phlox and butterflies seem to love each other. It’s light, sweet fragrance smells like summer, and it’s great as a cut flower too. The plant comes in shades of purples and pinks, and in white. It’s another sun-lover and gets to be about 3′ tall, which makes it a nice plant for the back of the garden.
Black-eyed Susans are probably one of the easiest perennials to grow. A friend gave me about 50 little plants one year, and they not only survived, but they have multiplied! Another perennial that works well as a cut flower, their sunny yellow colour is sure to add a bit of cheerfulness wherever they are.
So, which of these perennials will you be growing? Let me know in the comments! And I’ll also be happy to answer any questions you have.