35 Low Maintenance Plants That Are Hard to Kill and Easy to Grow

Not everyone has the time (or the patience) to take care of a garden full of fussy plants, no matter how beautiful they may be. Even experienced gardeners love having plants that will thrive all on their own.

The good news is that low maintenance doesn’t mean boring in the gardening world. There are lots of options that are both attractive and extremely easy to grow..

Here’s a list of the top low maintenance plants for your garden divided into sections: perennials, annuals, shrubs, groundcovers, ornamental grasses, and bulbs.

Perennials

Coneflower (Echinacea)

Coneflowers are a classic low maintenance perennial. They have attractive daisy-like flowers that draw in bees and butterflies. The plants are deer- and rabbit-resistant and are rarely bothered by insects or diseases.

Purple coneflower is the most popular choice (and the hardiest), but you can also find white, pink, orange, and multi-colored cultivars. Coneflowers are drought tolerant and keep blooming through summer heat.

1 Purple Coneflower
Coneflowers are one of the easiest perennials to grow. Once established they are drought-tolerant and deer-resistant.

Hardiness: Zones 4-9

Planting: Full sun

Care: Leave the flower stalks on through fall and winter for the birds. Cut them back to the ground in early spring. Divide clumps when they get too big, about every 4 years.

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)

Black-eyed Susans are a cheerful, bright perennial to add to your garden. They grow 2-3 feet tall and bloom with bright yellow, daisy-like flowers that have dark brown centers.

These pretty plants are also incredibly hardy and easy to grow. They are drought tolerant, deer and rabbit resistant, and bloom from summer to fall.

2 Black Eyed Susan
Black-eyed Susans are some of the most cheerful and low maintenance plants you can have in your garden. They require little care and will even produce new plants for you.

Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Planting: Full sun is best but adapts to partial shade

Care: Deadheading is optional during the summer. Cut off seed heads in early spring. Black-eyed Susan spreads easily, so dig up extra plants as needed and share with friends.

Catmint (Nepeta)

Not to be confused with its cousin catnip, catmint is a lovely flowering perennial. Plants grow 1-3 feet tall (depending on the cultivar) and quickly fill in empty spots in your garden.

You’ll get to enjoy long-lasting blooms in shades of blue and purple as well as highly fragrant foliage. Catmint often blooms all the way from spring to fall without needing deadheaded.

Plants are drought tolerant and deer resistant.

3 Catmint
Bees, butterflies, and even hummingbirds are attracted to the pretty flowers of catmint. Most varieties are a blue-purple, but you can also find pink and white cultivars.

Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Planting: Full sun to part shade

Care: You can cut tall varieties back after their first main bloom to encourage more flowering but this is optional. Divide every few years to prevent it from spreading too much.

Hardy Geranium (Geranium)

Hardy geraniums shouldn’t be confused with the popular annual geraniums (Pelargonium) you’ll see in many gardens every summer. True geraniums are perennials and extremely hardy in the landscape.

‘Roseanne’ is one of the best cultivars you can grow. It has lovely, periwinkle blue flowers that bloom continuously from spring to the first frost. Plants are resistant to deer, rabbits, and heat and have some level of drought tolerance.

4 Hardy Geranium
‘Roseanne’ hardy geranium is one of the most low maintenance plants you can grow in your garden. Once established, you can basically do nothing except watch your plants bloom.

Hardiness: Zones 5-8

Planting: Sun with afternoon shade is best; tolerates part shade

Care: Cut back during the growing season to encourage new growth (optional).

Salvia (Salvia)

It would be hard to find a low maintenance perennial with more variety than salvias. They grow anywhere from 1-6 feet with shades of blue, purple, red, white, and occasionally yellow.

Salvias are deer resistant, drought tolerant, and a top choice for butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and other pollinators.

5 Salvia
It doesn’t get much more low maintenance than growing salvia plants. They are hardy and will survive a lot- even neglect- while still putting on a beautiful show of flowers.

Hardiness: Zones 4-9

Planting: Full sun, well-drained soil

Care: Deadheading occasionally will increase blooming but is optional.

Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum)

Shasta daisies give you a classic daisy flower with white petals and a yellow center all in an easy-to-grow perennial. They come in various heights and can fit into any size garden.

Plants are deer and rabbit resistant, drought tolerant, and rarely have pest problems. Blooms are long-lasting and typically go all summer, sometimes into fall. Leaves may stay evergreen in warmer climates.

6 Shasta Daisy
Classic Shasta daisies have pure white flowers and yellow centers. You can also find cultivars that have creamy yellow petals and ones with unique frilly petals.

Hardiness: Zones 5-9

Planting: Full sun to light shade; well-drained soil

Care: Deadheading is optional but will extend bloom time. Cut plants back in the fall after they finish blooming.

Agastache (Agastache)

Agastache (also called anise hyssop) is a lesser known perennial, but it shouldn’t be because it provides beautiful spikes of flowers all summer and requires little to no care.

Flowers are normally a blue-purple, but there are many cultivars in shades of orange, pink, red, and yellow. Bees and butterflies will flock to the flowers, and the anise-scented leaves make a relaxing tea.

Plants are drought tolerant and unfazed by pests of all sizes.

7 Agastache Hyssop
Bees love agastache when it blooms, but birds appreciate it for the seeds that form after it flowers. With little effort, you can attract several kinds of flying wildlife to your garden.

Hardiness: Zones 5-10; tender perennial in zone 4

Planting: Full sun; well-drained soil

Care: Plants dieback to the ground each winter, and you can trim off dead stems to tidy up. Divide plants every 3-5 years if they get too big.

Hosta (Hosta)

If you’re looking for low maintenance plants for a shade garden, hostas are the top choice. They range in size from miniature to giant and have all shades of green with blue, yellow, and white added in.

When planted in shade, hostas will grow happily without any attention from you. The only downside to these plants is that deer, rabbits, and slugs love to munch on them.

8 Hosta
If you’ve ever thought hostas were boring, think again! Their leaves come in many shades with lots of variegated options. Hostas are a must if you want a low maintenance shade garden.

Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Planting: Full shade to partial shade

Care: Cut off flower stalks once plants finish blooming. Divide plants when desired. If pests are a problem, spray with a deer repellent and try encircling plants with crushed eggshells to keep out slugs.

Coral Bells (Heuchera)

Besides hostas, coral bells (also called heuchera) are one of the best plants for a low maintenance shade garden. They have colorful foliage in colors like deep purple, lime green, and mahogany.

Plants bloom with delicate and fluffy spikes of flowers that are long-lasting. They do best in shaded gardens but can take some sun, making them very versatile.

Unlike hostas, heucheras are rarely bothered by deer or rabbits. Newer cultivars are especially heat- and drought-tolerant.

9 Coral Bells
Coral bells are more versatile than many perennials and can do well in either sun or shade, depending on the cultivar. They need little to no care during the growing season.

Hardiness: Zones 4-9

Planting: Best in bright to dappled shade; some varieties can take more sun

Care: Divide and replant offshoots every 3-4 years. Cut back flower stems after they bloom.

Annuals

Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)

Sweet alyssum is one of the easiest annuals to grow and looks great in almost any garden. Plants require almost zero maintenance and are heat- and drought-tolerant.

Alyssum blooms with masses of white, honey-scented flowers. Some cultivars will have pink or purple blooms. Deer, rabbits, and other pests rarely bother sweet alyssum.

10 Sweet Alyssum
Sweet alyssum puts out mounds of white, pink, or purple flowers that draw in pollinators, hummingbirds, and humans alike. You can simply plant alyssum and let it go.

Planting: Full sun; tolerates part shade. Plant after the last frost in the spring.

Care: Cut plants back by half in midsummer to stimulate new growth and flowers. Or just leave them be!

Marigold (Tagetes)

Marigolds are a classic and somewhat old-fashioned annual. They are very low maintenance plants and will bring bright, warm colors to your garden.

Marigolds bring beneficial insects to your garden and are a great companion plant for a vegetable garden. They don’t usually attract deer but can have a problem with slugs.

11 Marigolds
Marigolds will bring a splash of sunshine to your garden with their bright colors. They are very low maintenance plants that require little care beyond occasional deadheading.

Planting: Full sun; tolerates part shade. Plant after all danger of frost has passed.

Care: Your marigolds will do better if you snap off dead flower heads regularly. Slugs can be deterred by spreading crushed egg shells around your plants.

Zinnia (Zinnia)

Zinnias are a beautiful, bright summer annual that will bring an explosion of color to your garden. Flowers come in many shades of warm colors with some that are multi-colored, speckled, or striped.

The plants themselves are drought tolerant and deer resistant. They require little care, not even deadheading (unless you want to)!

12 Zinnia
It’s hard to beat zinnias for color selection and cheerfulness! These bright flowers require little care beyond planting them in a full sun location.

Planting: Full sun. Plant after threat of frost has passed and soil has warmed.

Care: Deadheading is completely optional but may extend blooming time. Plant in intervals for blooms all summer.

Pansies (Viola)

Pansies are probably the best low maintenance annual for early spring. They can be planted when little else is blooming and provide much-needed color after the winter months.

Plants can tolerate light frosts and can be grown in containers or in the ground. They will fade out with hot temperatures, but you can plant them again late summer to enjoy in the fall.

13 Pansies
Pansies are very low maintenance plants for early spring. They are great for pots and will add a pop of color to your garden.

Planting: Full sun to partial shade. Plant early in spring once the ground becomes workable.

Care: Deadhead plants to keep them blooming nicely. Regular watering can help pansies through hot weather, but you can also remove plants once they start to fade in the heat.

Morning Glory (Ipomoea)

Morning glories will give your garden a cottage-like feel. Vines can grow up to 12 feet in one season and will wrap around trellises, arbors, etc. Flowers are huge and bloom in shades of blue, purple, white, and pink.

Extremely easy to grow, morning glories are considered invasive in certain areas, so check before you plant. Highly resistant to disease but can be bothered by deer.

14 Morning Glory
Morning glories are annuals in most regions, but they easily seed themselves. You can let them come up in your garden the following year, or weed out plants when they are small.

Planting: Full sun. Plant after threat of frost has passed.

Care: Give plants a support system to climb up (or down). Spray deer repellent if they start eating your plants.

Cosmos (Cosmos)

Cosmos are outstanding annuals. They can be grown in poor soils, bloom through the hot summer months, and are drought tolerant. Their daisy-like flowers attract bees, birds, and butterflies.

Cosmos bloom in shades of pink, red, orange, and white. They make great cut flowers and bloom all the way to fall.

15 Cosmos
Cosmos are pretty, delicate flowers that are extremely hardy in nature. They self-seed and are likely to return to your garden as volunteers in years to come.

Planting: Full sun. Plant after danger of frost has passed.

Care: Deadheading extends flowering but is optional. If you don’t want self-seeding, cut off flower heads when they turn brown.

Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus)

Snapdragons are very low maintenance plants that bring charm to your garden. They grow best in cool weather but will thrive in almost any location where they get enough sun.

Plants bloom with large flower spikes in a wide range of colors. They aren’t usually bothered by deer, rabbits, or other pests.

16 Snapdragons
Snapdragons were named because their flowers resembled a dragon’s mouth. The flowers open up like a mouth when squeezed at the edges.

Planting: Full sun is best; tolerates partial shade. Plant early in spring.

Care: Mulch can help plants get through hot summers. Deadhead to encourage more flowering, and cut back midsummer for a second bloom period in fall.

Shrubs

Smoke Bush (Cotinus coggygria)

Smoke bush (or tree) is a deciduous shrub with beautiful red-purple leaves that turn scarlet in the fall. It will put out large, airy flower clusters in summer that turn into smoke-like puffs.

Smoke bush is very easy to grow, usually pest-free, and mostly deer-resistant. In fact, plants do best if left alone for the first few years!

17 Smoke Bush
Smoke bush provides multi-season interest while still being a mostly hands-off plant to grow.  You can find both compact cultivars and those that form small trees.

Hardiness: Zones 4-8

Planting: Full sun to part shade

Care: Leave plants to grow naturally for the first few years. They can then be lightly pruned or shaped in early spring. Water during dry periods while shrubs are getting established.

Weigela (Weigela)

Weigela is one of the best options for a low maintenance flowering shrub. It has attractive foliage and blooms profusely with tubular flowers.

Pruning is optional, and plants are deer and drought resistant.

18 Weigela
Weigela is a beautiful, yet tough-as-nails, shrub. You can choose from a wide range of cultivars with different bloom color, leaf color, and size.

Hardiness: Zones 4-8

Planting: Full sun; tolerates partial shade

Care: Pruning is optional but should be done after plants flower. Water during dry spells while shrubs are getting established.

Juniper (Juniperus)

Junipers make great low maintenance evergreen shrubs. Cultivars like ‘Blue Star’ Juniper and ‘Good Vibrations’ Gold Juniper are compact, attractive, and easy to care for.

Once established, juniper is drought tolerant, deer- and rabbit-resistant, and mostly pest-free. Pruning is optional.

19 Juniper
Juniper is an evergreen shrub that will provide year-round interest. The straight species develops juniper berries, but most gardeners prefer newer and more compact varieties.

Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Planting: Full sun

Care: Light pruning can be done in early spring, but plants do best when allowed to grow naturally.

Spirea (Spiraea)

Spirea is a deciduous shrub with beautiful flowers and foliage that changes color throughout the seasons. Shrubs can be planted singly, in masses, as a groundcover, and as a hedge.

Pruning is recommended to keep plants tidy, but they otherwise require little care.

20 Spirea
Spirea is one of the most popular garden shrubs for a reason. Plants are incredibly low maintenance yet produce lovely blooms and foliage.

Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Planting: Full sun; tolerates part shade

Care: Prune as needed in early spring. Light pruning can be done after plants flower in spring or summer.

Barberry (Berberis thunbergii)

If you’re looking for an easy to grow and hard to kill plant, look no further than barberry. This deciduous shrub has a spreading habit and three-season interest.

Leaves are green and turn red, orange, yellow, or purple in the fall. Flowers are yellow, and bright red berries form and last well into winter. Barberry is so easy to grow (even in urban areas) that it’s considered invasive in some regions, so check before you plant.

21 Barberry
Even after leaves drop in the fall, barberries develop bright red berries that last well into winter. Shrubs tolerate even the poorest soil conditions.

Hardiness: Zones 4-8

Planting: Full sun

Care: Prune as needed to keep plants in check.

Hydrangea (Hydrangea)

Hydrangeas are one of the most popular shrubs and surprisingly low maintenance. Varieties like repeat-blooming and PeeGee require less pruning and work than older varieties.

The large blooms of hydrangeas are their main attraction.

22 Hydrangea
Hydrangeas typically bloom in shades of blue, pink, purple, and white. Blooms are long-lasting and make great cut flowers.

Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Planting: Partial shade

Care: Water hydrangeas during dry spells. Prune lightly as needed (timing will depend on variety). Make your soil more acidic for blue blooms and more alkaline for pink blooms.

Groundcovers

English Ivy (Hedera helix)

English ivy is a very traditional groundcover that gardeners tend to either love or hate. It’s an evergreen, perennial vine that’s extremely easy to grow but can be invasive.

If you can keep it contained and plant it in the right spot, ivy can be a practically indestructible groundcover that stays green year round.

23 English Ivy
English ivy makes a very attractive evergreen groundcover. Just keep in mind that it’s invasive in certain areas and can cause harm to trees, brick, and cement.

Hardiness: Zones 4-9

Planting: Full shade to part shade

Care: Ivy does best protected from hot sun and cold winter wind. Prune in spring as needed.

Japanese Pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis)

Also known as spurge, pachysandra is a popular groundcover because it’s one tough plant, yet looks attractive. Plants are evergreen, can take foot traffic, and are drought tolerant.

Pachysandra has leathery, green leaves that are rarely bothered by pests and grows in shade.

24 Pachysandra
Pachysandra is one of few plants that will grow in dry shade. Some leaves may brown in cold winters, but otherwise the foliage is evergreen.

Hardiness: Zones 4-8

Planting: Full to partial shade

Care: Thin out plants occasionally to improve circulation.

Stonecrop (Sedum)

There are many popular varieties of stonecrop sedum, but the best for a groundcover are the short, carpeting forms. The thick, succulent leaves are attractive throughout the season, and most varieties start flowering at the end of summer.

Plants are very drought tolerant and grow easily.

25 Stonecrop Sedum
There’s a wide variety of carpet-forming sedums to choose from. They make very low maintenance and attractive groundcovers.

Hardiness: Zones 3-11

Planting: Full sun

Care: Divide plants after several years to keep them vigorous.

Vinca (Vinca minor)

Vinca is a fast growing, evergreen groundcover that blooms with pretty blue, purple, or white flowers. It tolerates all types of soils as long as it gets enough shade.

The biggest problem you’ll have with vinca is to stop it growing in places you don’t want it to.

26 Vinca
Unlike many other groundcovers, vinca blooms in the spring with noticeable flowers. It’s one of the most hardy plants you can grow in shade.

Hardiness: Zones 4-8

Planting: Full to partial shade

Care: Plant vinca where it will have natural barriers to keep it from spreading.

Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)

Creeping Jenny is a carpet-forming perennial groundcover. It typically has lime-green leaves, although there are several varieties to choose from.

Plants bloom with yellow flowers in the summer and are great for covering tricky bare areas in your garden.

27 Creeping Jenny
Golden Creeping Jenny is a variety that will add a touch of color to your garden. It’s also less invasive than the straight species.

Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Planting: Full sun to part shade

Care: Trim back as needed to keep plants where they’re supposed to be.

Ornamental Grasses

Fescue (Festuca)

Fescue is a perennial ornamental grass. It forms clumps that are easy to maintain and can become a groundcover if desired.

Unlike normal grass, fescue is drought tolerant and keeps its color all summer. ‘Elijah Blue’ is a nice blue-green cultivar.

28 Fescue
Fescue forms clumps and comes in several varieties of color. Foliage is evergreen and adds to your landscape in the winter months.

Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Planting: Full sun

Care: Fescue is a short-lived perennial that needs divided every few years to keep plants going.

Pink Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris)

Pink Muhly grass is an incredibly ornamental, yet hardy, grass. It’s a perennial that develops clouds of pink flowers in the fall and remains attractive throughout the rest of the year.

Plants are tolerant of poor soils, salty soil, heat, humidity, and drought. Most deer and pests stay away as well.

29 Pink Muhly Grass
Pink Muhly is one of the most unique ornamental grasses with year-round interest. Best planted in group or long swatches.

Hardiness: Zones 6-9

Planting: Full sun to light shade

Care: Divide plants as needed. Can be grown as an annual in colder regions.

Fountain Grass (Pennisetum)

Fountain grass is a quick-growing annual in most regions. It’s a completely non-invasive ornamental grass to grow while still putting on a show.

Plants are deer resistant, tough, and clump-forming. They develop showy plumes that are attractive both in the landscape and in flower arrangements.

30 Ornamental Grass
Fountain grass develops graceful plumes in the fall. A popular variety is purple fountain grass that has dark purple foliage and lighter colored plumes.

Hardiness: Annual

Planting: Full sun

Care: Remove dead foliage in fall or winter.

Pampas Grass (Cortaderia selloana)

Pampas grass is a very dramatic ornamental grass that develops large, feathery plumes. Plants are extremely easy to grow, but are considered invasive in many western coastal U.S. states.

This grass grows in clumps that can reach up to 13 feet tall. In colder climates, pampas grass is an annual, which makes it easy to control and non-invasive.

31 Pampas Grass
Pampas grass will give you a very dramatic look in your landscape. It needs a large area to grow in but doesn’t take much care.

Hardiness: Zone 7-11

Planting: Full sun

Care: Cut back to the ground in early spring or late winter.

Silvergrass (Miscanthus)

Miscanthus is an easy to grow perennial grass. It forms clumps and grows with arched, cascading foliage that remains attractive in your garden from spring to winter.

Miscanthus comes in many sizes and several different colors. They tolerate drought, wet conditions, and even salty soils, making them a great choice for coastal areas.

32 Miscanthus
Miscanthus develops feathery plumes that provide interest in the landscape. It ranges in size from giant to very compact varieties.

Hardiness: Zones 5-9

Planting: Full or partial sun

Care: Cut back in late winter or early spring.

Bulbs

Daffodils (Narcissus)

Daffodils are one of the most care-free spring flowers you can plant. They pop their cheerful faces up each spring and keep smiling through wind, rain, and snow.

Daffodils are resistant to deer and even rodents won’t dig up or eat the bulbs. They form nicely sized clumps without becoming a nuisance.

33 Daffodils
Daffodils flower in the spring and bring much needed color after the cold of winter. They are also one of the best low maintenance plants for any garden.

Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Planting: Full or part sun. Plant bulbs in fall.

Care: Remove leaves only when they are completely brown and dead. Divide clumps as needed.

Allium (Allium)

Belonging to the onion family, alliums are very low maintenance plants that bloom with large purple flower heads in spring and summer.

Because of its onion-like nature, allium is not bothered by deer, rabbits, or rodents and rarely has pest or disease problems.

34 Allium
Alliums bloom with large bursts of flowers that make a statement in your garden. They typically flower after the first round of spring bulbs.

Hardiness: Zones 4-10

Planting: Full sun. Plant bulbs in fall.

Care: Cut off dead flower stalks if desired. Divide when the clumps look crowded.

Daylilies (Hemerocallis)

Technically roots rather than bulbs, daylilies are some of the toughest plants you’ll ever meet. They tolerate poor soil, neglect, and periods of drought.

True to their name, daylily blooms only last for a day, but plants are constantly putting out new flowers.

35 Daylily
Daylilies are not true lilies, but their large flowers have a close resemblance. The biggest task you’ll have to do is deadheading.

Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Planting: Full sun. Plant in spring or fall.

Care: Deadhead spent flowers regularly to keep your plants blooming. Divide every 3-4 years.

Low Maintenance Plants for Everyone

As you can see, there are tons of options when it comes to low maintenance plants. It’s not hard to find a few that you’ll love.

If you want some easy-to-care-for, space-saving plant ideas, check out these 19 best hanging plants for indoors and out.

35 Low Maintenance Plants

Content Protection by DMCA.com

Check Also

How to Plant and Care for a Dogwood Tree

Dogwood trees have an intriguing and storied history. It has been said that Native Americans …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *