16 Low-Maintenance Flowers to Plant in Your Garden

Add these pretty—and pretty easy—blooms to your beds and borders.

beautiful low maintenance flower garden

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A garden full of beautiful, vibrant blooms doesn't always require hours of weeding, pruning, and watering: Low-maintenance flowers grow in every part of the United States, from the full sun and sandy soils of the western region to the damp, woodsy areas of the Northeast. The 16 expert-recommended flowers on this list can add color to a dull garden bed, serve as a border around a plot, or drape over garden walls and rocky areas to add texture. Bright foliage, intricate blooms, vivid tones spanning a rainbow of shades, and low-effort care requirements make these plants an easy "yes" on your next trip to the nursery.

01 of 16

Blanket Flower


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Short-lived—but brightly-colored—perennial blanket flowers, also called gallardia, are native to the western United States, so they thrive in full sun and poor, well-drained soil. "The cultivars of this plant are many, and for good reason," says Annie Barrow, the manager of sustainable landscape services at the Denver Botanic Gardens. "Often, blanket flower can become floppy and look unkempt. Cultivated varieties offer bunchier plants with flowers that are bolder, brighter, bigger, and longer-lasting."

Zone: 3 to 10
24 to 36 inches tall x 12 to 24 inches wide
Growing conditions: Full sun to partial shade; poor, well-drained soil

02 of 16

Wild Bleedingheart

Dicentra eximia flowers


Dicentra eximia, also known as turkey corn, fringed bleedingheart, or wild bleedingheart, adds color to your garden with bright pink bursts of heart-shaped blooms. This long-blooming perennial will go dormant in the summer if allowed to dry out, but with continued watering, it will bloom again in September, says Michael Hagen, curator of the rock garden and native plant garden at the New York Botanical Garden. "Lots of cultivars are available, but all are hybrids with the western species, Dicentra Formosa," he says.

Zone: 3 to 8
Size: 18 to 24 inches tall x 18 inches wide
Growing conditions: Partial shade; well-drained, woodsy soil

03 of 16


monarch butterfly on coneflower


Different species of coneflower thrive across the United States; in the western half of the country, Barrow recommends narrow-leaf coneflower Echinacea angustifolia. "It is drought tolerant and thrives in our native, lean soils," she says. "It performs much better than purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, which is native to eastern North America and found in marshlands and swamps."

Zone: 3 to 8
12 to 24 inches tall x 10 to 18 inches wide
Growing conditions:
Sun or part shade; dry, sandy soil

04 of 16

Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susans


The most well-known member of the Rudbeckia family, black-eyed Susan, is a short-lived, low-maintenance perennial that provides bright yellow flowers in late summer and fall. It’s also a "pollinator favorite," says Dee Hall of Mermaid City Flowers in Norfolk, Va., that comes in a variety of cultivars in different sizes and colors.

Zone: 4 to 9
24 to 36 inches tall x 12 to 24 inches wide
Growing conditions:
Full sun; well-drained soil

05 of 16


purple yarrow flower

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The Achillia species, commonly known as yarrow, shoots up tall, green stalks with clusters of small yellow, pink, red, or white blooms at the top. "It is one of the toughest garden plants that also offers long blooms—June through October," says Barrow. "Any species or variety will do well in both dry and wet and rich and poor soils."

Zone: 3 to 9
Size: 6 to 36 inches tall x 24 to 36 inches wide
Growing conditions:
Full sun; dry soil

06 of 16

Bigroot Crane's Bill

bigroot geranium flowers


Geranium macrorrhizum, or bigroot crane's bill, is a "hardworking, quick-growing groundcover with fragrant foliage and cheerful pink flowers—super easy and undemanding," says Hagen. In the fall, the low foliage turns reddish-brown, adding autumn color. Hagen recommends using this plant as a border edge or garden filler; his favorite cultivar is Ingwersen's variety, which shows off pale pink flowers.

Zone: 4 to 9
Size: 12 to 15 inches high x 18 inches wide
Growing conditions:
Full sun to part shade; well-drained soil

07 of 16

Astilbe x arendsii Hybrids

Astilbe Arendsii Group flowers

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Vibrant Astilbe x arendsii hybrids bloom in cone-shaped clusters of tiny pink, purple, or red blooms. "Originally bred and selected in Germany at the start of the 20th century, these hybrid astilbe cultivars are still to be surpassed for reliability and vigor," says Hagen. "[They are] perennial standards that are long-lived, easy-to-grow, deer- and disease-resistant, and available in a multitude of flower colors, from shades of red to pink and white with varying heights."

Zone: 3 to 8
24 to 48 inches tall x 24 to 36 inches wide
Growing conditions:
Partial shade or sun; moist, rich, cool soil

08 of 16

Bishop's Hat

Epimedium grandiflorum or Barrenwort


Epimedium grandiflorum, often referred to as bishop's hat, is a perennial groundcover with spindly purple or white blooms. "The gold standard for plants that thrive in dry shade," says Hagen. "They are long-lived, easy-to-grow, and undemanding, with dainty flowers in spring and often nice fall foliage."

Zone: 4 to 9
12 inches high x 12 inches wide
Growing Conditions:
Shade to partial shade; cool, well-drained soil

09 of 16

Moss Phlox

Pink moss phlox flowers

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Moss phlox, also known as creeping phlox, is a spring-blooming perennial that Hagen describes as an "absolute mainstay for the rock garden and a great companion plant for early spring bulbs." Dense flowers and low, matted foliage are easy to grow, long-lasting, and come in a wide variety of purple, pink, white, and blue shades.

Zone: 3 to 9
6 to 9 inches tall x 12 to 15 inches wide
Growing Conditions:
Full sun; well-drained soil

10 of 16

Red Hot Poker

red hot poker flowers

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Though Red Hot Poker, the common name for the species Knipjofia, and its cousin Regal Torchlily (Kniphofia caulescens) are native to South Africa, this summer bloomer also "lights up acres of terrain with its showy summer flowers" in the western part of the country, says Barrow.

5 to 9
Size: 36 to 48 inches tall x 24 to 36 inches wide
Growing conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil

11 of 16

Coral Canyon Twinspur

coral canyon twinspur

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This perennial pushes out pretty, coral pink flowers along the top section of its leafy stalk from late spring through fall, says Barrow. Though it needs consistent watering when planted, once established, it is drought resistant and grows well in dry, loamy soil.

5 to 9
12 to 18 inches tall x 18 to 24 inches wide
Growing conditions: Full sun to part shade; well-drained, loamy soil

12 of 16


hellebores flowers

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Hellebore gets its common name, Lenten rose, from its propensity to bloom in late winter or early spring—before Easter, during the season of Lent—adding white, pink, or purple color on top of dense, evergreen foliage. "They also do great in shade," says Hall.

3 to 9
Size: 9 to 18 inches tall x 12 to 24 inches wide
Growing conditions:
Full sun to full shade; moist, well-drained soil

13 of 16

Foxglove Beardtongue

foxglove beardtongue

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Foxglove beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis) is a pollinator-friendly plant boasting tall stalks with white, tubular flowers that attract hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and other nectar-seekers during spring and summer, says Hagen. "Cultivars such as husker red have distinctive red foliage," says Hagen. Hall also recommends these as "very easy, low-maintenance perennials" that are commonly grown from seed.

3 to 9
36 inches tall x 25 inches wide  
Growing Conditions:
Full sun; well-drained soil

14 of 16


lavender flowers

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The delicate flowers and recognizable scent of lavender make it a popular garden addition, while its low-maintenance care gives gardeners a break. “Native to rocky, gravelly soil, lavender is at home in the soils of the front range and prefers low water conditions,” says Barrow. “Lavender is a classic traditional perennial that blooms May through October, and can be cut, dried, and used in tinctures and for its essential oils.”

Zone: 5 to 9
24 to 26 inches tall x 24 to 48 inches wide
Growing conditions:
Full sun; dry soil

15 of 16

Clustered mountain-mint

mountain mint flowers

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Clustered mountain-mint (Pycnanthemum muticum) offers "aromatic, silvery-gray foliage and unobtrusive pink tubular flowers in flat topped clusters that are absolute bee magnets in late summer," says Hagen. Easily fill tricky growing spots with this dense, fast-growing species, including varieties like white-flowered Pycnanthemum tenuifolium and "clump-forming, graceful" Pycnanthemum curvipes, he adds.

Zone: 5 to 8
24 to 36 inches tall x 18 to 24 inches wide  
Growing Conditions:
Full sun to part shade; well-drained, drier soil

16 of 16

Blue Mistflower

blue mistflower

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Spidery, clustered flowers blooming above the pointed leaves of blue mistflower (or ageratum) are a popular draw for your garden’s pollinators, says Hall. This late-blooming plant shows its color in summer and fall.

Zone: 5 to 10
12 to 36 inches tall x 12 to 36 inches wide
Growing conditions:
Full sun to partial shade; moist, sandy soil

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