Low-maintenance perennials

All perennials require maintenance. Watering, fertilizing, pinching, staking, deadheading, dividing, and providing winter protection are common maintenance chores. Some perennials require frequent attention through the growing season. Others require minimal maintenance. The following perennials require minimal maintenance, but are attractive additions to the home landscape.

Low Maintenance Perennials for Sun

Butterfly Weed Peony
(Asclepias tuberosa) (Paeonia hybrids)
False Indigo Russian Sage
(Baptisia australis) (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
Gas Plant Moss Phlox
(Dictamnus albus) (Phlox subulata)
Hardy Geranium Balloon Flower
(Geranium spp.) (Platycodon grandiflorus)
Hardy Zinnia Coneflower
(Heliopsis helianthoides) (Rudbeckia spp.)
Daylily Perennial Salvia
(Hemerocallis spp.) (Salvia x superba)
Siberian Iris Stonecrop
(Iris sibirica) (Sedum spp.)
Blazing Star Carolina Lupine
(Liatris spp.) (Thermopsis caroliniana)
Daffodil Speedwell
(Narcissus spp.) (Veronica spp.)
Catmint Ornamental Grasses
(Nepeta spp.) (Various species)

Low Maintenance Perennials for Shade

Lady's Mantle Hosta
(Alchemilla mollis) (Hosta spp.)
Blue Star Virginia Bluebells
(Amsonia tabernaemontana) (Mertensia virginica)
Jack-in-the-Pulpit Creeping Phlox
(Arisaema triphyllum) (Phlox stolonifera)
Goat's Beard Mayapple
(Aruncus) spp. (Podophyllum peltatum)
Canadian Wild Ginger Lungwort
(Asarum canadense) (Pulmonaria spp.)
Heartleaf Brunnera Bloodroot
(Brunnera macrophylla) (Sanguinaria canadensis)
Turtlehead Siberian Squill
(Chelone spp.) (Scilla sibirica)
Bugbane False Solomon's Seal
(Cimicifuga racemosa) (Smilacina racemosa)
Bleeding Heart Foam Flower
(Dicentra spp.) (Tiarella cordifolia)
Barrenwort Ferns
(Epimedium spp.) (Various species)

Perennials must be planted in their proper environment to be truly low maintenance. Important site considerations are the amount of sunlight and soil conditions. Perennials planted in unfavorable sites will require more care.

This article originally appeared in the 5/21/2004 issue.

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