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21 Low-Maintenance Perennials To Plant This Year

Chatelaine logo Chatelaine 2020-05-21 Kathryn Hayward

Perennials are a lazy gardener’s best friend. Plant them in the right spot and you can enjoy their colour, texture and beauty for years to come. No matter how much sun your backyard or balcony gets, there’s a hardy plant that will thrive in your outdoor space.

Dry

If you’re looking to cut down on your water bill, these perennials require minimal moisture. When you plant them, however, be sure to water them for a few weeks until they become established.

a close up of a flower: Purple coneflowers are easy to grow, even in poor soil conditions. And if you want your garden teeming with butterflies and bees, plant these!  © Used with permission of / © St. Joseph Communications.

Purple coneflowers are easy to grow, even in poor soil conditions. And if you want your garden teeming with butterflies and bees, plant these! 

(Photo: iStock)

Coneflowers will draw butterflies, bees and goldfinches. These native prairie flowers are hardy and will bloom into the late summer.

a close up of a flower garden: Pink blooming Sedum flowers in a flowerbed. © Provided by Chatelaine Pink blooming Sedum flowers in a flowerbed.

(Photo: iStock)

Sedum works well in rock gardens. Sedum store water in their leaves, which helps them weather drought.

a close up of a flower: Small white flowers on long green stalks © Provided by Chatelaine Small white flowers on long green stalks

(Photo: iStock)

Yarrow only needs to be watered in a severe drought.

a close up of a flower: Yellow and orange and pink Gaillardia grouped together in a garden © Provided by Chatelaine Yellow and orange and pink Gaillardia grouped together in a garden

(Photo: iStock)

Gaillardia has bright red and yellow daisy-like blooms. As it reseeds itself, it’s a good way to add swaths of colour to a flower bed.

a close up of a plant: Chinese Silver Grass Early Hybrids and Heavenly Bamboo shrub © Provided by Chatelaine Chinese Silver Grass Early Hybrids and Heavenly Bamboo shrub

(Photo: iStock)

Ornamental grasses (such as Festuca, Miscanthus and Pennisetum glaucum) are tolerant to drought and are a great choice if you’re looking to reduce your water consumption.

Sunny

This summer, put these perennials in the spotlight.

a close up of a green plant: Full frame close-up of green lamb's ear plant © Provided by Chatelaine Full frame close-up of green lamb's ear plant

(Photo: iStock)

Lamb’s ears have velvety silver leaves and are very hardy. Later in the summer, the plants will produce spikes of purplish-pink flowers. They do well in full sun and will tolerate some shade.

a close up of a flower: light purple Aster flowers all bunched close together in a garden © Provided by Chatelaine light purple Aster flowers all bunched close together in a garden

(Photo: iStock)

Asters bloom late into the fall. Water only their bases to avoid mildew growing on their leaves.

a kite flying in the sky: Russian Sage growing in front of an adobe wall. © Provided by Chatelaine Russian Sage growing in front of an adobe wall.

(Photo: iStock)

Russian sage thrives in dry weather, and loves well-drained soil and full sun exposure (in partial sun, it tends to get a little scraggly). It will bloom from late spring to early autumn.

a close up of a flower: An orange-yellow daylily bloom © Provided by Chatelaine An orange-yellow daylily bloom

(Photo: iStock)

Day lilies are a fantastic choice for a low-maintenance plant that still provides a bright pop of colour.

a pink flower on a plant: Blooming iris in the garden, with shallow depth of field and blurred background. © Provided by Chatelaine Blooming iris in the garden, with shallow depth of field and blurred background.

(Photo: iStock)

Bearded iris will keep coming back year after year. They bloom in late spring and can be divided every few years. (Divide them in the fall to get them ready for the next season).

a close up of a flower: Plant these delicate blooms in full sun at the correct depth; Nixon suggests one to two inches below soil level. With proper care, peonies should flower for decades. © Used with permission of / © St. Joseph Communications.

Plant these delicate blooms in full sun at the correct depth; Nixon suggests one to two inches below soil level. With proper care, peonies should flower for decades.

(Photo: iStock)

Peonies love sunny spots (they need six or more hours of sunlight a day). They don’t tend to flower as well in the shade. Once established, peonies can flower for decades.

Shady

There are many plants that prefer the shade—think of plants that might do well in a forest.

a close up of a green plant: Green ferns overlapping each other © Provided by Chatelaine Green ferns overlapping each other

(Photo: iStock)

Ferns prefer cool, moist shade. You can find a good selection of varieties at garden centres, such as Japanese Painted Fern, which has blue-grey leaves, as well as the coppery coloured Autumn Fern.

a pile of green plants: A large number of hostas in a garden © Provided by Chatelaine A large number of hostas in a garden

(Photo: iStock)

Hostas are great for providing dramatic greens all summer long. They come in many varieties of different sizes and colours, and mixing a few together in a garden can create a bold, unique look.

a red flower in a garden: Red Astilbe in a garden against a brick wall. © Provided by Chatelaine Red Astilbe in a garden against a brick wall.

(Photo, iStock)

Astilbe provide bursts of colour—bright plumes of red, pink or flowers—in June, but they require good hydration.

a close up of a flower: White Lily of the valley hanging from a green leafy plant. © Provided by Chatelaine White Lily of the valley hanging from a green leafy plant.

(Photo: iStock)

Lilies of the valley are practically indestructible. A woodland species, it does well in the shade, and it spreads easily so it makes for a good groundcover.

a plant in a forest: Light violet and white tall plumey flower plants © Provided by Chatelaine Light violet and white tall plumey flower plants

(Photo: iStock)

Bugbane more than makes up for its ugly name (it’s also known as bugwort, snakeroot and fairy candles), thanks to pretty flower spikes that can grow up to seven feet high. It does well in partial to full shade.

Windy

If you have a windy property or have balcony boxes, alpine plants are often a good choice—they do well in exposed conditions.

a close up of a flower: Assorted succulents of green and purple in a garden © Provided by Chatelaine Assorted succulents of green and purple in a garden

(Photo: iStock)

Succulents come in many varieties. They’re quite hardy—the only trick is to water them thoroughly but infrequently.

ornamental grass Festuca Elijah Blue in a terracotta pot © Provided by Chatelaine ornamental grass Festuca Elijah Blue in a terracotta pot

(Photo: iStock)

Ornamental grasses are meant to blow to in the breeze and do well in high-rise gardens.

a close up of a flower © Provided by Chatelaine

(Photo: iStock)

Lavender does well in sunny spots. Once established, it’s a draw for bees and butterflies.

a close up of a flower: Sunlit close up on a Foxglove flower head © Provided by Chatelaine Sunlit close up on a Foxglove flower head

(Photo: iStock)

Beardtongue makes an excellent groundcover. Sweet tubular flowers bloom from late spring to mid-summer and attract pollinators.

a close up of a flower garden: Natural carpet of ornamental flowering moss phlox as background © Provided by Chatelaine Natural carpet of ornamental flowering moss phlox as background

(Photo: iStock)

Moss Phlox creates a mat of bright flowers in the spring.

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