Perennial plants are an excellent addition to any garden as they come back year after year. The exciting thing about perennial plants is they don’t just come back; they usually come back bigger and better than before. When planting these easy to care for perennials, you have to think about the bigger picture, but with so many perennial plants to choose from, picking the best ones can be hard.
As the main point of any garden, perennials have a lot to offer throughout your area’s growing season. Some perennials have a short blooming period, while others will repeatedly bloom for months.
What makes perennials a great addition to any flower garden is how easy they are to maintain once they have become established. Even new gardeners won’t have a hard time keeping these beauties alive.
When do you plant perennial plants?
As with all plants, there is a right time to plant perennials. The ideal time to plant these low maintenance plants is in the spring or fall.
Before deciding which ones you will be planting, figure out what kind of lighting requirements they have and whether they will survive in your planting zone. The plants you pick will determine whether spring or fall is the best planting time.
How to Plant Easy to Care For Perennials
Determine is if you are planting container grown perennials or bare root perennials. All plants need loamy soil that offers excellent drainage.
Compost should be added to the ground before planting. Plants should be watered, and mulch added directly after transplanting.
Container grown plants have already been established in the soil. When planting them, dig a hole only as deep as the container and a little wider.
Gently loosen the roots before you remove the plant from the pot. Place plant inside the hole, fill with dirt and press dirt around the plant until firm.
Bare root perennials are just as the name sounds; they are only roots, and they are often packed in peat moss. To plant the bare roots, soak the roots in water for several minutes. Gently plant roots in the ground based on their specific planting guidelines.
Care Tips for Low Maintenance Perennial Flowers
The first year you plant these flowers, water them deeply. The deep watering is required to reach the roots of the plants.
For perennials that are planted in the fall, continue to water them until the first frost hits. Soil should not be too wet or dry, and foliage should never be watered as it increases the risk for disease.
Like all flowers, perennial plants need to be fertilized to help encourage growth and blooming. Unlike other plants, such as annuals, these plants only need a single application of fertilizer in the spring that is low-nitrogen and high-phosphorus.
If your lawn is located close to your perennial garden, create a neat and clean edge to keep the grass and perennials from spreading into each other. Install a permanent type of edging or use an edging tool regularly to create a clean edge.
Apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch throughout your flower garden. The mulch serves two purposes – it helps the plants retain moisture, and it reduces the number of weeds growing in your garden.
Deadhead (remove dead flowers) as they appear. Deadheading your plants encourages re-blooming in certain perennials and seed production in others.
If using plant supports, add them as early in the season as you can. The earlier you place the supports, the less risk you have of damaging the plant’s roots.
Supports need to be as close to the plant as possible, and all stems should be tied loosely to the support pole. If the plant requiring support is a clump-forming perennial, use a hoop rather than a pole.
How and When to Divide Perennial Plants
Not all perennials require dividing, but the biggest perennial plants need to be divided every three to four years in the fall or spring. Separate them on a calm day and after the plant has been trimmed back up to eight inches.
Dig up the root ball and divide into smaller clumps. Replant each root ball in the same garden bed or neighboring beds. You can also share with your neighbors!
17 Low Maintenance Perennial Plants
Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)
If you need an easy to care for perennial plant that works in the middle row of a mixed garden bed, look no further than the Black-Eyed Susan. The plant grows to up to 2 feet high and can thrive in some of the worst soil. When planting the Black-Eyed Susan, make sure it’s in a location that receives plenty of sunlight.
The perennial plant offers yellow and orange flowers that bloom beginning in early summer and continues to bloom until the first frost. A favorite of bees and butterflies, it is strongly recommended to deadhead these flowers unless you want seedlings as the Black-eyed Susan self-sows.
Low-Maintenance Perennial – Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)
Gaillardia’s got the name Blanket Flower because of how well these low-maintenance perennials cover your landscape. The Blanket Flower is a sun-loving plant that blooms in shades of red, yellow, and orange. The colorful flowers are known to attract bees and butterflies throughout the summer and into the fall.
The Blanket Flower reaches heights of 8 to 30 inches, making it an excellent choice along garden borders. The plant survives in poor soil but does best in areas with excellent drainage as it prefers soil that doesn’t remain wet for extended periods.
Bleeding Heart (Dicentra)
The Bleeding Heart requires a shady spot in your flower garden with soil that is only slightly moist. When planting the Bleeding Heart, mulch the plants to help retain moisture. Marking where you plant them is also recommended as these plants go dormant in the late summer.
The Bleeding Heart perennial plant features heart-shaped pink and white flowers that are rabbit and deer resistant. The easy to grow plant blooms in the spring. They should be planted next to other perennials or annual plants that can fill in the gaps when they stop blooming.
If your garden beds require fast-growing ground cover plants for shade areas that offer color from May to June, check out the Bugleweed. The plant is an ideal choice for locations where you can’t seem to get anything to grow, including walkways. The plant helps inhibit weed growth and provides year-round interest to landscapes.
There are several varieties available, ranging from white to blue flowers paired with purple, green, and variegated foliage. The plant grows about 6 inches high with upright blossom spikes. The plant requires medium-moisture and needs well-draining soil to thrive. Fertilization is only necessary if planted in poor soil.
Coral Bells (Heuchera) – Easy to Care For Shade Perennial
Coral Bells are one of the most attractive low maintenance perennial flowers for a shade garden. What makes these beauties so interesting is the number of leaf colors available, including bi-color, bronze, cherry, chartreuse, and bright green leaves.
Above the leaves, gardeners will find stalks adorned with tiny white or pink flowers in the shape of a bell. Bloom time for this perennial is from early to midsummer.
Only growing up to 20 inches tall, gardeners prefer these beauties at the front of their garden beds. The crinkly looking foliage adds interest to any bed and pairs well with basil. The basil plants help repel flies and mosquitoes, but you will need to look into the best way to get rid of gnats as they are drawn to the basil.
Shasta Daisies (Leucanthemum x superbum)
One of the most well-known perennials, Shasta daisies, offers more abundant blooms than the daisies you see along the roadside. Shasta daisies grow in clumps and shoot up to 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide.
The petals are all white with a yellow disk floret with dark green leaves. These plants begin blooming in the spring and continue to provide color until early fall.
Shasta daisies are a great cut flower to decorate inside your home. These flowers require full sun and moderately fertilized soil with excellent drainage.
Container plants should be planted in spring in a hole twice the diameter of the container. Root balls need to be level with the soil surface.
Bee Balm (Mondarda)
Bee Balm is a brightly colored plant that attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Bee Balm begins blooming in the spring and continues to provide a burst of color to your beds until the fall. Plants can grow 4 feet tall depending on the variety chosen.
Crown-shaped flowers on Bee Balm come in a variety of colors, including lavender, pink, white, and red. The easy-care perennial requires full sun to part shade to thrive. For warm and humid climates, purchase a mildew-resistant variety.
Speedwell (Veronica) – Low Water Perennial Plants
Speedwell offers long flower spikes in white, purple, blue, or pink that grow in clusters and reach up to 3 feet tall. This perennial requires full sun, well-draining soil, and moderately fertile ground. Plant in the spring in a hole that is twice the size of the container’s diameter and keeps the root ball even with the surface of the soil.
These low water plants only require watering in the summer if rainfall for the week is less than one inch. To ensure the soil retains moisture, keep the base of the plant covered with a thin layer of compost topped with two inches of mulch. Deadheading is necessary to encourage repeat blooming.
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberose)
Native to North America, the Butterfly Weed is one of the easiest perennials to care for. Butterfly Weed is pollen and nectar-rich, making it highly attractive to butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, and other useful insects throughout its growing season. Gardeners will enjoy orange, yellow, or red blooms from the beginning of summer right up until fall.
Blooms for this perennial first appear as fuzzy tops on green stems with green leaves in the shape of a lance. This plant requires minimal effort to grow and care for and can be grown easily from seeds. When planting your beds, bear in mind that this plant requires full sun and can handle the worst soil conditions. Once established, this drought tolerant plant returns year after year.
Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica)
Siberian Irises require full sun to partial shade in well-drained, organically fertile soil that needs to be kept moist at all times. They come in many colors, including purple, white, pink, blue, and yellow flowers on a plant that grows up to four feet tall.
The iris plant grows in clumps and works well as a focal point for any landscape. The “wet feet” varieties of iris do well in areas of the garden that never seem to dry.
Blossoms of color appear on these perennials in the late spring on top of slender green stems. Once the flowers have died, the entire stem needs to be pruned. Leave behind the ornamental grass part of the plant to add interest to your garden through the fall, but to also feed the rhizomes.
Easy To Maintain – Coneflower (Echinacea)
One of the more popular choices of herbaceous perennial, the Coneflower prefers full sun and sandy soil that is organically rich with excellent drainage. The Coneflower blooms from summer until the fall and has long been known for its medicinal properties. It features seed heads that attract many songbirds, including goldfinches.
The Coneflower grows to about three feet tall and is an excellent choice in landscapes that need mid-level color all summer. The plant requires similar soil to the Black-Eyed Susan, making them excellent choices to pair together. These plants work as stand-alone perennials but also do well in mixed beds or along borders.
English Lavender (Lavandula aufustifolia)
Used for culinary and medicinal applications, the shrubby herb known as English Lavender is an excellent choice for areas that receive full sun and offer slightly acidic soil. English lavender is known for its fragrant flowers, so make sure when planting it that it is along borders to allow the fragrance to be released as people brush past it. The blue-purple spikes of blossoms add a splash of color to any landscape.
English lavender only grows to about two feet tall, so if planting in a mixed bed, ensure it is a middle plant. Yellow Yarrow makes for an excellent contrast to the purple flowers. Plant the English Lavender in early spring to enjoy colorful blossoms from June until August. To maintain the plant’s compact shape, prune the bush every couple of years.
Perennial Tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata) – Minimal Care Perennial
Perennial Tickseed, also known as lance-leaved coreopsis, thrives in the poorest soil conditions as long as that soil is well drained. The plant offers a slender stem with yellow-orange blossoms that require very little maintenance. The plant loves the sun and works well along borders or in mixed beds.
One thing to be mindful of with this plant is there are several varieties of coreopsis; some of them are also annuals. When purchasing, it is best to refer to the full Latin name to ensure you are buying a perennial rather than an annual. Known to attract several beneficial insects to its flowers, the blooms of the perennial Tickseed lasts from May to July and require dividing every two years.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Yarrow pairs well with English Lavender as the two colors contrast nicely. The herb needs to be grown in full sun in well draining sandy soil.
Yarrow can grow up to four feet tall and comes in various shades, including white, red, and yellow. Two things that make this plant stand out in your gardens are its spicy scent and gray-green foliage that looks similar to a fern.
Many gardeners opt for Yarrow as it blooms from June until September and saturates the garden with clumps of color. Drought tolerant Yarrow can thrive in areas of your yard where even grass has trouble growing.
Always prune in the late spring to help encourage compact growth and to prevent the plant from looking straggly. Spent blossoms and stems require cutting as they appear and divide the plant as needed.
New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)
Known to attract a variety of pollinators, the New England Aster provides the landscape with a burst of color from summer until fall. The plant thrives in full sun with well-draining soil that remains moist. Once established, the New England Aster looks more like a shrub as it reaches up to six feet tall and offers small, feathery blossoms.
The New England Aster can be pruned early in the summer to reduce legginess but can be successfully pruned back at the end of the season, too. The perennial also offers gardeners the option to leave all of the withered stalks throughout the winter to add some interest to an otherwise flat landscape. As a self-sowing plant, the New England Aster is known for spreading, so it will need to be divided.
Low Maintenance Shade Perennial Plant – Hellebore (Helleborus orientalis)
One of the favorite shade perennials, Hellebore is a rhizomous evergreen that begins appearing in gardens as early as January and will stay well into the spring. Hellebore prefers organically fertile, well-drained soil. While it does like the sun, the plant does best in some shade as the weather starts to heat up.
The plant offers glossy green foliage all year long that reaches up to one foot high. Blooms on this plant come in a variety of colors, including yellow, pink, green, and red.
Hellebore works as a neutral ground cover under deciduous trees and pairs well with spring bulbs. Once blooms wither, remove flowers and tuck stem underneath the leaves.
The Daylily is a clumping plant that offers several bold blossoms on each stem. What makes the Daylily stand out from other perennials is that the blooms only open for a single day.
To grow the Daylily requires organically fertile soil with excellent drainage. Available in many colors, each variety needs full sun to thrive.
Aside from the way the Daylily blooms, what makes this plant stand out is the four-foot height and its petal shape. If you are looking for continuous color, plant the Daylily with spring, summer, and fall blooming perennials and annuals. Taller varieties do best along the back borders of garden beds and require space for spreading — plant in the spring or fall and deadhead the blossoms to extend the blooming time.
Easy to care for perennials allow gardeners to add color to their beds all year long. Low-maintenance perennial gardens require some planning to achieve the best spread of color, but it can be done. The best part about planning your garden with perennials is these hardy plants will come back year after year with no extra work involved.
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