20 Low-Maintenance Outdoor Plants for Effortless Growth

You can have a beautiful yard even if you are new to landscaping, or don’t have the time to care for plants. Choose easy-to-grow plants. You can choose from a wide range of options, including small groundcovers and medium-sized trees. Some plants prefer the sun, while others thrive in shady areas. Choose from flowering plants as well as foliage that is prized for its fall colors.

Here are 20 easy to grow plants for your garden.

01

Daffodil (Narcissus spp.)
In the garden, white daffodil with yellow and white petals grows.

Pest control is a major challenge when growing spring bulbs. Daffodils, on the other hand, are pest-free. They can be left in the ground and produce bright spring flowers with minimal care. To keep your garden tidy, simply cut the leaves back once they turn yellow.

USDA Growing Zones 4 to 8

Color Varieties Yellow, white orange, pink bicolor

Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade

Soil needs: moist, loamy and well-drained

02

Lenten rose (Helleborus Orientalis)
Lenten Rose with pink and White petals on stems

Lenten Roses are a simple plant to grow, but they have a stunning payoff. The blooms last a long time without your help in the spring. Place these clumps of small plants in an area that is protected from strong winds. There are very few disease problems, but rot may occur in soils with poor drainage.

USDA Growing Zones 4 to 9

Colors: pink, purple, and white

Sun exposure: Full shade to partial shade

Soil needs: rich, moist and well-drained

03

Impatiens (Impatiens spp.)
Red impatiens

Impatiens thrive in shade so there’s no need to worry about finding the perfect spot for these vibrantly colored flowers. Remember to wait until the frost danger has passed before you plant them. In the spring or early summer, you can also encourage bushier growth by pinching the stems.

USDA Growing Zones 10 to 11

Colors: White, red, pink, purple, coral, white, yellow

Sun exposure: Full shade to partial shade

Rich, moist and well-drained soil is best.

04

Angelina Stonecrop (Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’)
Stonecrop with yellow and copper colored fronds-like leaves

Angelina Stonecrop is a popular foliage plant because of its vibrant chartreuse colour. It does, however, bear small yellow blooms in summer. This groundcover plant is easy to spread and tolerates poor soil and drought. Pests and diseases are not a problem. Make sure that the soil drains well.

USDA Growing Zones 5 to 8

Color Varieties: Yellow

Full sun exposure

Sand or gravelly soils, medium to high moisture content, well-drained

05

Hydrangea (Hydrangea species)
Hydrangea

The flowers of hydrangeas last so long that you do not need to remove the spent blooms. These bushes flower on new wood so pruning them is easy. Just hack them to the ground at the end of winter or in early spring. Hydrangeas come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some species have large, round bloom clusters, while others have smaller and flatter flowers.

USDA Growing Zones 5 to 9

Colors: White, blue green, pink, red, purple

Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade

Soil Needs: Loamy, medium moisture, well-drained

06

Sunburst Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis ‘Suncole’)
Sunburst Honeylocust Tree with fern-like foliage on thin, sprawling branches

The Sunburst Honeylocust tree is easy to grow because it tolerates many different conditions. It can also handle pollution and deer avoid it. In the spring and autumn, the foliage turns a lovely yellow. It does, however, have a lot of thorns. If you plan to plant it in a lawn area you use often, choose a variety that is thornless.

USDA Growing Zones 3 to 8

Color Varieties: Yellow-green

Sun exposure: full sun

Soil needs: rich, moist and well-drained

07

Adam’s Needle (Yucca filamentosa)
Adam’s needle with white rosette-shaped flowering stems

Adam’s needle, a drought-tolerant succulent with low maintenance requirements, is very hardy. It has a 3-foot-high rosette of foliage, with tall flower stalks in summer. This is a good choice for rock gardens and xeriscaping. It only requires light watering and trimming the flower stalks to give it a neater look at the end.

USDA Growing Zones 5 to 10

White

Full sun exposure

Soil needs: dry to medium moisture and well-drained

08

Columbine (Aquilegia species)
Columbine with small purple flowers on thin stems

When looking for low-maintenance plants, don’t underestimate native options, like columbine. They are adapted to the local climate and can grow without your help. Red columbine, Aquilegia caerulea is a native New England plant. Out west, a good choice is Colorado columbine (Aquilegia caerulea). The flowers of most columbine species bloom in spring and summer. They are often compared to jester’s hats. After the growing season is over, cut the stalks of columbine to the ground.

USDA Growing Zones 3 to 8

Colors: red, orange, yellow; blue, purple; pink; white

Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade

Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-drained

09

Lamb’s Ear
Lamb’s ears with silvery green leaves covering the ground

Lamb’s ears are primarily regarded as a foliage. Its leaves are not only a beautiful silvery shade, but also velvety soft. They are easy to grow because they tolerate drought, resist pests like deer and bunnies, and can grow in poor soil. Overwatering can cause rot.

USDA Growing Zones 4 to 8

Color Varieties: Pink-purple

Sun exposure: full sun

Soil needs: Medium, Dry to Medium Moisture, Well-Drained

10

Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca)
Blue fescue

Blue fescue is one of many ornamental grasses that require very little maintenance. This low-growing grass forms clumps and has beautiful blue-gray leaves. It is resistant to drought and pollution and stays pretty tidy on its own. Divide the overgrown clumps every few years. Trim the foliage to 4 inches in early spring. This will regenerate the plant.

USDA Growing Zones 4 to 8

Color Varieties: Purplish-green

Sun exposure: full sun

Soil needs: Medium, Dry to Medium Moisture, Well-Drained

11

Japanese Forest Grass
Japanese forest grass

Japanese forest grass has green arched leaves and grows in mounds that reach a height of 1 to 1 1/2 feet. This ornamental grass is easy to grow and spread, but it does not do so in an invasive way. It is generally not attacked by pests, and can tolerate pollution. Too much sun will burn the leaves, so place it somewhere with some shade.

USDA Growing Zones 5 to 9

Color Varieties: Yellow-green

Sun Exposure: Part shade

Soil Needs: Humusy, moist, well-drained

12

Liriope spicata (Liriope crepepsis)
Liriope

The creeping liriope has a grassy appearance and forms clumps. Its narrow leaves are arching and reach a height of about a foot with a spread that is slightly larger. It is resistant to pests and diseases, and can tolerate pollution and drought. It is best to mow the plant in early spring, so that you can get rid of any degraded leaves and encourage new growth.

USDA Growing Zones 4 to 10

Colors: White, lavender

Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade

Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-drained

13

Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’)
Black mondo grass

The black mondo grass has a distinctive foliage. Its leaves are arching, purplish-black and grow in clumps up to 8 inches high. The only thing that is required to maintain this plant is to make sure the soil does not dry out completely. The plant grows slowly but overgrown clumps may need to be divided in order to re-energize them.

USDA Growing Zones 6 to 9

Color Varieties: Pinkish White

Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade

Soil Needs: Humusy, moist, well-drained

14

‘Natchez’ Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia ‘Natchez’)
Crepe myrtle

In the south-east of the United States, ‘Natchez crape myrtle’ grows as a large tree, while in colder regions, it is more like a shrub. This plant has a reputation for being resistant to mildew, which is a problem that can occur with other crape myrtle types. In the fall, its dark green leaves turn vibrant orange to shades of red. In the spring, prune the plant to shape it and remove dead or damaged parts.

USDA Growing Zones 6 to 9

Colors: White

Sun exposure: full sun

Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-drained

15

Candy Oh! Rose (Rosa ‘Zlemartincipar’)
Candy Oh! Roses

Candy Oh! Roses are easy to grow. The flowers bloom from the late spring until the frost. The shrubs are 3 to 4 feet high and wide, with a rounded shape. You don’t have to prune them unless you need to remove damaged or dead branches or you want to improve their shape.

USDA Growing Zones 4 to 9

Color Varieties: Red

Sun exposure: full sun

Soil needs: loamy, moist, acidic but not too much, well-drained

16

Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)
Snowdrops

Snowdrops bloom early in spring. They even get a jump on the season in the late winter. The nodding, white flowers look like tiny snowballs. These plants require very little maintenance, and they will keep coming back year after year. To keep your plants looking neat, you can remove the leaves once they turn yellow or wait until late spring to do so.

USDA Growing Zones 3 to 7

Colors: White

Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade

Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-drained

17

Periwinkle (Vinca minor)
Vinca minor

Periwinkle, a popular groundcover plant, blooms in late spring with tubular flowers. The plant usually blooms again throughout the summer and into autumn. This plant is tolerant of shade, rocky soil and drought. It is usually free of pests and diseases. You will need to keep it in check by cutting it back so that it doesn’t spread to other areas.

USDA Growing Zones 4 to 8

Color Varieties: Lavender blue

Full sun to partial shade

Soil needs: Medium, Dry to medium Moisture, Well-Drained

18

Peony (Paeonia lactiflora)
pink peonies

The large, cup-shaped peony flowers bloom from mid-spring to late spring. Dark green leaves remain attractive until frosts in the fall. The plants can stay in the ground without needing to be divided for many years. After blooming, remove the spent flower heads and trim the foliage in the fall.

USDA Growing Zones 3 to 8

Color Varieties: Pink

Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade

Soil needs: Rich, medium-moisture, well-drained

19

Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis)
Creeping Juniper

The creeping juniper has attractive foliage that ranges from green to blue. Low-maintenance, it can adapt to many different growing conditions. It cannot tolerate wet ground, so place it in a location with sharp drainage.

USDA Growing Zones 3 to 9

Color Varieties: Nonflowering

Full sun exposure

Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-drained

20

Hardy Geranium (Geranium spp.)
Hardy geranium

Hardy geraniums are true to their name. These perennial geraniums come in a variety of species. Most are low-growing, dense plants with five-petaled flowers. The plants can tolerate some drought and poor soil, but the leaves may yellow in hot, dry weather. Water them if you notice that the soil is drying up.

USDA Growing Zones 3 to 9

Colors: Pink, blue, white, and purple

Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade

Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-drained


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