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Easy Beauty: Colorful low-maintenance plants for a beautiful garden

Easy Beauty: Colorful low-maintenance plants for a beautiful garden

Easy Beauty: Colorful low-maintenance plants for a beautiful garden
Variety of low-maintenance plants such as  lamb's ear, sedum, thrift, and hosta with a Grace Smoke Tree in the center.

For many of us, gardening is a form of self-care, meditation, exploration, and relaxation. Often called a "happy place." The garden is a place for us to slow down and enjoy the serenity of nature. And some gardeners enjoy spending hours fussing, pruning, feeding, and watering. However, it's safe to say that many of us don't want to add more tasks to our "to-do" list. We also don't want to add stress to our busy lives. We enjoy a more relaxed approach to enjoying the beauty of nature in our gardens. 

We've compiled a list of nearly 30 beautiful, easy-to-grow plants. This will help you take the stress out of gardening and get the most out of your happy place. Whether you're new to gardening or consider yourself an expert, you'll love the easy beauty of these low-maintenance plants. 

(Above) A delightful low-maintenance shrub or small tree with feathery plumes, dark foliage, and artful branching. Grace Smoke Tree performs in a variety of conditions, including rocky, infertile soils. Up to 15' tall and wide. Zones 4-8.

Other low-maintenance plants seen here include lamb's ear, sedum, thrift, and hosta

Our list of favorites includes easy-care flowering perennials and shrubs that offer dynamic color, form, and durability. There's something here for everyone; we include options for Zones 4-11.

Find more easy-care plants for your specific conditions by using the My Plantfinder tool Then select "Easy Care" in the "Special Feature" filter. Remember to sign up for the Grow Beautifully newsletter. Here you'll get design inspiration, garden tips, how-tos, and first access to new, exclusive plants.

Low-Maintenance Flowers

A beautiful garden isn't complete until you add dramatic color, intriguing texture, and pollinator-friendly nectar. Our favorite low-maintenance flowers have it all! Easy-care perennials require little maintenance when it comes to pruning, watering, feeding, or soil conditions. Most perennials do appreciate a once-a-year pruning and compost application. You can also deadhead spent blooms if you want to encourage consistent blooming. These gorgeous flowers do require a touch more maintenance than flowering shrubs (see our favorite selections further down). However, they offer dependable beauty year after year, providing colorful interest to borders, beds, and landscapes of all kinds.

Pictured here: A low-maintenance, pollinator-friendly, and colorful wildflower garden with Blue Boa Agastache, coneflowers, and coreopsis.

Hardy perennials that grow easily in cooler zones. These include coneflower, coreopsis, Texas yucca, sedum, heuchera, hellebore, beardtongue, cold-hardy salvia, and daylily (which also grow in warm climates). Our warm-zone favorites include easy-going beauties like montbretia, agapanthus, cape fuchsia, salvia, kangaroo paw, and of course, the beloved bougainvillea

Take a look below to find exceptional selections of these already outstanding low-maintenance plants. 

Easy-Care Perennials for Zones 4-8

Evolution™ Colorific™
Coneflower

A bright-green central cone accents the center of every bloom, framed by dense petals in a palette of pink. Sturdy stems and lush foliage serve as a beautiful backdrop. Especially to the continuous profusion of blooms from late spring through fall. Adaptable to a variety of soils and waterwise once established. Up to 20" tall, 18" wide. Zones 4-9. 

Explore the Evolution coneflower collection to see additional vibrant color choices.

Sunstar™ Gold
Coreopsis

A well-behaved, easy-care perennial that's a must-have for the low-maintenance garden. Molten-gold flowers with large, deep-red centers smother the feathery, mildew-resistant foliage all summer long. This drought-tolerant and adaptable plant attracts butterflies, too. Up to 24" tall, 30" wide. Zones 4-9. 

Coral Glow
Texas Yucca

A stunning selection for xeriscape and low-water gardens. This ever-blooming variety shows off coral-orange flower spikes. These will rise up to 6' tall, attracting hummingbirds from near and far. Spikes of flowers hover over narrow, sword-like, gray-green foliage. Up to 6' tall, 4' wide. Zones 5-9. 

Evolution™ Purple
Crush Sedum

Another low-water, low-maintenance perennial that can handle tough growing conditions. This exclusive variety was bred for its vigorous basal branching that doesn't fall open like other tall sedums. Distinctive blue-green foliage has a deep purple hue. Pink flowers attract pollinators. Up to 15" tall and wide. Zones 4-9.

Sirens' Song™ Dark n'
Bright Heuchera

A captivating new coral bells variety that sends up sprays of hummingbird-attracting hot-pink blooms in late spring. The bright flowers pop against the deep, dark, fade-resistant foliage. This hardy perennial is perfect for the shady garden. Up to 18" tall, 15" wide. Zones 4-9.

Cascade™ Blush
Hellebore

Large blooms in a deep purple-pink hue emerge in late winter on mounds of leathery evergreen foliage. This deer-resistant perennial naturalizes in shady spaces and is a favorite easy-care, early-blooming perennial for woodland gardens. Up to 22" tall, 24" wide. Zones 4-9. 

Harlequin™ Purple
Beardtongue

Showy, long-blooming, and abundant spikes of large purple flowers provide nectar for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Plus a vibrant pop of color to perennial borders, rock gardens, containers, and flower arrangements. This exclusive variety is vigorous, bushy, compact, and waterwise once established. Zones 5-9.

Easy-Care Perennials Zones 7-10

Titan Skye™
Daylily

An exceptional reblooming daylily, with a compact habit and long-lasting blooms. Huge burnt-orange flowers have exceptionally frilly edges and a bright yellow eye. Tolerates a vast range of climates, soils, and conditions. Does well in warm climates and is also very cold hardy. Up to 18" tall and wide. Zones 4-11. 

Discover more Skye daylilies in shades of yellows, purples, and pinks. 

Columbus
Montbretia

Gracefully arching spikes of bright yellow-orange lily-shaped flowers rise on long stems over grass-like green foliage and attract butterflies. An impactful addition to borders and cut flower arrangements. Extremely low maintenance in gardens that get more reliable rainfall. Zones 6-10.

Purple Potion®
Agapanthus

An exclusive variety selected for its increased hardiness, sturdy stems, and unique deep-violet blooms. Adds stunning color and lush texture to garden beds and creates a dramatic effect when planted en masse. Up to 12" tall, 20" wide; blooms reach 26" tall. Zones 7-10.

Colorburst™ Orange
Cape Fuchsia

A profusion of dangling, tubular, bright-orange flowers steals the show from midsummer to fall, providing nectar for butterflies and hummingbirds. The bushy, upright habit looks great with very little effort. Up to 3' tall, 2' wide, gently spreading wider by underground stems. Zones 6-10. 

VIBE® Ignition
Purple Salvia

A humidity-, heat- and drought-tolerant selection of an already very tough perennial. This petite sage bursts in dark purple buds that open to vibrant purple flowers all summer long. Perfect for borders, containers, and wildlife or cutting gardens. Up to 24" tall and wide. Zones 7-11.  

Kanga Pink
Kangaroo Paw

A colorful drought-tolerant choice that is dependably durable. The vibrant colors of unique, velvety, and tubular flowers are held on fuzzy stalks. These rise out of clumps of narrow, up right leaves. Perfect for adding bright color and unique texture to borders or containers. Up to 14" tall, with blooms that reach up to 24" tall. Zones 9-11. 

Purple Queen®
Bougainvillea

A gorgeous selection of a beloved easy-care warm-climate favorite. With rich purple petal-like bracts that pop against the deep green foliage. The compact, upright, and spreading form makes it perfect for planter boxes, fences, and arbors. Climbs to 15' with support. 11.5' tall and 8' wide as a groundcover. Zones 10-11.

Low-Maintenance Shrubs

There's nothing better than fuss-free flowering shrubs when it comes to easy, colorful beauty in the garden. To achieve an award-winning look without the work, look for disease-resistant flowering shrubs. Ones that don't require consistent pruning, watering, or feeding.

Our dependable favorites for cooler climates include varieties of bluebeard, Spirea, sand cherry, lilac, potentilla, and viburnum. And, not all roses are low-maintenance. Although, you'll find Nitty Gritty™ and Grace N' Grit™ roses to be incredibly tough and easy to grow. Warm-climate favorites that won't disappoint include crape myrtle, Indian hawthorn, cotoneaster, abelia, pineapple guava, false heather, and hebe. You'll find stand-out selections of these easy-going yet beautiful shrubs below.

 

(Above) Petite Pillar™ Dwarf Boxwoods and Blackhawks Big Bluestem grass add low-maintenance structure in front of the vibrant, easy-care Nitty Gritty™ Pink Roses in a sleek container. 

Easy-Care Flowering Shrubs for Zones 4-8

deep pink roses

Nitty Gritty™
Pink Rose

If you've been writing roses off because of their high-maintenance reputation, it's time to bring a Nitty Gritty Rose home. These durable, own-root, fuss-free groundcover roses offer excellent disease resistance and a self-cleaning easy-to-care-for habit. Magenta-pink double blooms provide vibrant warm-season color and are the perfect option for low-maintenance curb appeal. Up to 3' tall, 4' wide. Zones 4-9.

The Nitty Gritty Rose collection also includes selections in peach, white, red, and yellow. If you're looking for a taller low-maintenance shrub rose, take a look at the Grace N' Grit™ Rose collection

Darkstar® Purple Leaf
Sand Cherry

An improved, compact variety of sand cherry. It is known to be a beautiful low-maintenance plant for just about any garden. Dark foliage doesn't fade in the heat of the summer. White-pink flowers smother it in spring before the foliage emerges. Up to 5' tall, 4' wide. Zones 3-9. 

La Barbe Bleue™
Bluebeard

A hardy, drought-tolerant, and low-maintenance shrub that has a neat, compact habit. A profusion of deep-blue flower spikes offers a gorgeous contrast to the dramatic foliage. Plus, nectar for bees and butterflies. Up to 26" tall, 30" wide. Zones 5-9. 

Little Darling®
Lilac

A fragrant lilac that is rare in its twice-annual bloom and neat, compact shape. Large clusters of lilac flowers bloom in spring and again in fall. This easy-care favorite is drought-tolerant once established. Up to 4' tall and wide. Zones 4-8.


Lil' Sizzle®
Spirea

Spireas are well-known to be tough, adaptable, and drought-tolerant shrubs that thrive in a wide spectrum of conditions. This exceptional and compact variety has bright-orange new foliage. This matures to gold, and hot-pink flowers that bloom in spring and again in summer. Up to 3' tall and wide. Zones 4-9.

Gingersnap™
Potentilla

A unique and gorgeous selection of a flowering shrub that is beloved for its reliable hardiness. The stunning flowers bloom in ombre shades of yellow and apricot all summer long without fading. This highly adaptable shrub is drought-tolerant when established and perfect for minimal-care gardens. Up to 3' tall and wide. Zones 3-8.

Sparkler®
Arrowwood Viburnum

A dense, upright, and gorgeous selection of the reliable North American native shrub. The lustrous, ruffled, and dark-green foliage turns bright yellow and red in fall. Creamy white umbels give way to large clusters of berries that delight birds. Up to 15' tall and wide. Zones 4-9.

Easy-Care Flowering Shrubs for Zones 7-10

pink flowers on summerlasting crape myrtle

Summerlasting™ Strawberry
Crape Myrtle

Dense, bright-pink blooms cover this low-maintenance shrub in summer, making for a dramatic display that attracts butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. A compact, dwarf variety that's perfect for smaller landscapes. Plant en masse for a vibrant swath of color. Waterwise once established. Up to 3' tall and wide. Zones 7-10.

Want the same performance in a different color? Check out the other colors of Summerlasting Crape Myrtle

Majestic Beauty®
Indian Hawthorn

A versatile and easy-to-grow evergreen shrub with glossy foliage and huge clusters of fragrant, pink flowers that bloom in spring. A favorite for locations where other shrubs can't handle the heat. That large size makes it useful as a background shrub, privacy screen, or small tree. Waterwise once established. Up to 25' tall and 10' wide. Zones 7-11.

Coral Beauty
Cotoneaster

 A low-growing shrub that thrives in both warm and cold climates, thanks to its adaptable hardiness. An ideal ornamental groundcover with finely textured foliage. White spring blooms are followed by beautiful berries. Foliage turns purple in cool fall temperatures. Waterwise once established. Up to 2' tall, 6' wide. Zones 5-10. 

Magic Daydream
Abelia

A total knockout, with glossy green and white variegated foliage. This reliable shrub attracts hummingbirds with large, fragrant blooms that change color from white to pink. Perfect for borders, containers, and as a specimen in the garden. Waterwise once established. Up to 2' tall and wide.  Zones 6-9.

pink and white flowers of pineapple guava

Pineapple
Guava

Versatile, colorful, easy to grow, and edible! The fleshy white flower petals have showy red accents that contrast beautifully with the gray-green foliage. Tasty tropical, guava-like fruit ripens in late fall. Can be easily trained as an espalier. However, growing as a hedge or small specimen tree will likely take less effort. Up to 15' tall and wide. Zones 8-10.

Itsy Bitsy® Lilac
False Heather

A small, ground-hugging shrub that's formed by masses of relaxed, twiggy branches that hold tiny, glossy green leaves. Blooms with small lilac-colored flowers in summer, or continuously in warm winter regions. Up to 12" tall, 24" wide. Zones 9-11.


Champion
Hebe

A compact, colorful selection of a versatile shrub that is known to be reliable and easy to maintain. Violet flower spikes attract butterflies. A favorite for Northwest gardens, and a wonderful addition to a rock garden, front border, or container. Up to 18" tall, 24" wide. Zones 7-11.

2021-12-30 18:25:00
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