Fuss-Free Perennials for a Beautiful, Low-Maintenance Garden

I must admit that I love having a beautiful garden.  What I don’t particularly love is having to work hard in the garden – especially on a hot, summer’s day.  So, I like to use shrubs and perennials that look beautiful without me having to ‘fuss’ over them frequently.  By ‘fussing’ I mean, having to prune multiple of times a year, constant deadheading of flowers, fertilizing and dealing with pests.

Last week, I shared with you some of my favorite ‘fuss-free’ shrubs.  This week, I would like to share with you some of my favorite almost ‘fuss-free’ perennials that will bring beauty to your garden with minimal maintenance.  **Unless indicated, plant in full sun and connect to your irrigation system.

Firecracker Penstemon

Firecracker Penstemon (Penstemon eatoni) is my favorite perennial.  I am frequently asked about it when it is blooming because it makes such a vibrant statement in my front garden.  Hardy to -20 degrees, it attracts hummingbirds and is drought-tolerant although it does best with supplemental water.  Orange/red spikes of flowers appear in late winter and into spring in the low deserts.  In upper elevations, it flowers during the summer months.  Maintenance involves removing the spent flower stalks, usually twice during the growing season.

Damianita

Damianita (Chrysactinia mexicana) is a great choice for a groundcover or border plant.  Deep yellow flowers appear in both spring and fall.  This drought-tolerant perennial grows to a mature size of 2 x 2 ft. and is hardy to 0 degrees F.  Plant in full sun and well-drained soil.  Shear in the spring, which will remove any dead, woody growth.

Blackfoot Daisy

Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum) is an absolute must for those who love daisies like I do.  This pretty but tough perennial makes a great groundcover and grows to 12″ x 18″ wide and is hardy to -20 degrees.  White daisies appear in spring and fall.  An extra benefit is that it is deer-resistant.

Mexican Honeysuckle

Mexican Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera) is a great plant for underneath trees with filtered shade.  The lime-green leaves contrast nicely with the orange, tubular flowers.  Hummingbirds do love the flowers of this perennial, which is hardy to 15 degrees.  Flowers appear year round in areas with mild winters.  Mexican Honeysuckle does best with regular irrigation and reaches a mature size of 3 x 3 ft.

Angelita Daisy

Angelita Daisy (Tetraneuris acaulis) is another flowering perennial that blooms throughout the year in milder climates although it is cold hardy to -20 degrees.  Its compact size of 1 ft. high and wide makes it suitable for grouping together in numbers of 3, 5 or 7 (plants look best when planted in odd numbers).   They do best when planted in full sun and are watered regularly.   I like to use Angelita Daisies next to boulders in the landscape.  Maintenance if periodically deadheading to promote additional bloom.

While no plant is ‘fuss-free’, I hope you will use some of these almost fuss-free perennials in your garden.

Do you have any favorite low-maintenance perennials that you like to plant in your garden?  I would love to hear about them :-)

  1. says

    My favorites are zinnias and marigolds. Both come in various colors and sizes; and while not entirely maintenance free are easy care. Best of all they are colorful and cheerful.

    • Noelle says

      Hi Mary,

      It doesn’t matter to me whether they are perennials or annuals. I love them too and use them in my vegetable garden :-)

      Noelle

  2. Joy Tucker says

    One of my favorite perennials is lantanna. Its bright colors are cheerful and it does good here in the south.

  3. Kathy says

    Have not seen or heard about the Damianita, Mexican Honeysuckle, Angelita Daisy, or the Blackfoot daisy. Are they in garden centers, or can you purchase/exchange seed? By Southwest, do you mean they are available in the SW locations only? I’ve got ground in Kentucky, and want to “flower it up”.
    Kathy

    • Noelle says

      Hello Kathy,

      You probably will not find these plants at your local garden center, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t do well in your garden. There are mail order nurseries that carry these plants. You can do an online search and enter the scientific name, which I listed in this post, and then the term ‘mail order nursery’.

      Be sure to plant in well-drained soil. I am interested in hearing how they do in the South. Who knows? You may start a trend in your neighborhood :-)

      Noelle

  4. Reed Benner says

    Lantana and Mexican Petunia, though both can be invasive if not “reined in.” Pincushion flowers are pretty and different and only require occasional deadheading. Alliums, which look really cool even when they begin to fade.

  5. Judy McComb says

    Lantana, verbena, tricyrtis, hosta, and eucomis – they are all very easy, require little attention, and look stunning for a long time in my zone 8a garden (south/central NC).

  6. Kay says

    I like ecchinacea, back eyed susans, daylillies, moonbeam coreopsis, iris, daffodils, and knockout roses! Also suprise lillies are fun, and I love my different varieties of clemantis. All are pretty carefree once well established.

  7. Dorothy says

    I, too, love zinnias and marigolds, although I have difficulty getting them sowed every year, as I have a bad back and hip. But, somehow, each fall, I save seeds, and in the spring plant them, and have a glorious riot of color which butterflies and hummingbirds enjoy until frost. I have some balloon flowers, sedum, cone-flowers, and mums, which are perennials, but would like more. Seems that perennials are hard to find in Western KY.

  8. says

    Wax Myrtle, Elderberry, and numerous other plants native to Florida since after establishment in the correct ecosystem, natives tend to be maintenance free.

    I encourage everyone to PLEASE check to be sure a plant is not invasive in your state before you head over to buy from catalog or online companies (or even local garden centers).

    Also consider that a local plant’s provinance is an important aspect in having a healthy, disease free gardening experience. It is never wise to just plant something because it looks good. At all times we, as gardeners, should consider the affect what we plant may have on our natural environment since what you grown in your own backyard affects everyone.

  9. Skeeter says

    I recently added a Mexican Honeysuckle so I am glad to see that on your Fuss Free list! The dust pics below are awesome. A bit scary though….

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