Perennials for Low Maintenance Gardens

Perennial gardens don’t have to be so time intensive if you choose to grow at least a few varieties that require little maintenance each season. Here are our top recommendations, all stocked in our Garden Center. 

False Indigo

One of the longest-lived perennials native to the American prairies is Baptisia, commonly known as false indigo. While most wild forms are quite tall, the Decadence series from Proven Winners brings them down to just 2-3′ tall and wide, about the size of a clump of daylilies. Now everyone can have the fun of growing false indigo, even if you are gardening on smaller city lots.

False indigo is very drought tolerant once established, so you’ll only need to provide supplemental water during times of extended drought. It thrives in full sun and hot weather, and does not require fertilizing or deadheading. In fact, if you do cut off the spent blooms, you’ll be preventing the formation of its decorative seed pods. So just plant it, then leave it be and it will be fabulous! Zones 4-9 and stocked at Greendell.

Baby’s Breath

Who knew baby’s breath could be so easy to grow? Old-fashioned varieties gave this perennial a reputation for being a hassle int he garden sine they grew very large and often went dormant by late summer, leaving a big hole in the garden. Festival Star from Proven Winners is a game changer. This improved selection blooms from late spring into fall without deadheading or going summer dormant, and its shorter 12-18″ height is easy to manage.

When you plant baby’s breath, be sure to amend your soil if it is heavy clay since this plant needs good drainage to grow well. Plant it in a very sunny spot and let it dry out a bit before you water it again. Just like we don’t like to sit around in wet shoes, its roots don’t like to sit in wet soil for long either. Don’t forget to clip some of its fragrant blooms for your fresh or dried bouquets. New flowers will quickly take their place. Zones 3-9 and stocked at Greendell.


Sweetly fragrant lavender is always a crowd please, and it’s easy to see why. The rich violet purple flowers of lavender bloom from early summer through fall, with new flowers appearing throughout the growing season. They are perfect for using in bouquets, sachets, sweet treats, and lemonade.

Sweet Romance Lavender by Proven Winners is very easy to grow in a sunny, dry spot in your landscape. Planting it in sandy or very well-drained soil will help it grow vigorously and overwinter well in zones 5-9. It does not require fertilization. Trim the foliage back lightly in the spring only if necessary to tidy up the plant. Stocked at Greendell.


Even if you don’t consider yourself a gardener, chances are good that you’ve recognized daylilies blooming around town in the summer. One reason why so many people grow them is because they require almost no maintenance other than watering. They multiply reliably year to year, are long lived, and easy to share with neighbors and friends.

Choose from purple, yellow, red, orange, peach, or bicolor varieties. When you plant daylilies, everyday beings fresh flowers to enjoy. Zones 3-9 and stocked at Greendell.


Catmint is one of the most requested perennials in the garden centers every year in late spring when people start seeing it bloom around town. It forms a mass of vibrant periwinkle purple flowers that is so dense, you won’t even see the foliage when it’s in bloom. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds love catmint.

Cat’s Meow from Proven Winners is a lower maintenance selection because unlike larger varieties, it stays in tidy mound without pruning and won’t sprawl all over its neighbors. Just be sure to grow it in full sun and very well-drained soil that is on the dry side. This plant loves warm, sunny days and should be one of the last things you water in the garden. Zones 3-8, stocked at Greendell.


If you garden in shade, one of the easiest, low maintenance perennials you can grow is a hosta. It’s amazing how hostas emerge from bare ground in spring and grow so quickly to fill large spaces with elegant foliage. After the first few frosts in the fall, the foliage will go dormant again until the following spring. Clean up dead foliage in the fall to help prevent slug issues the following year.

Hostas grow best in organically rich soils and tolerate clay well. In the coolest parts of the country, they will survive in sun, but they are happiest when grown under the canopy of tall trees in zones 3-9. Keep the soil evenly moist for best growth. Many varieties stocked at Greendell.

Switch Grass

These durable perennials will thrive in any soil, from sand to clay, and in any moisture level from dry to wet. The only thing they require is full sun. Switch Grasses can be used as a low maintenance screen, hedge, background planting, or as a focal point in the fall landscape.

Once per year in late winter or early spring before the new growth emerges, cut the entire clump of last year’s foliage back with hedge trimmers and compost it. Beyond that, no other maintenance is necessary. Zones 4-9. Many varieties stocked at Greendell.


When you feel its succulent leaves, you’ll see why sedum (stonecrop) is so drought tolerant. It stores water in its foliage and stems as a reserve, and usually doesn’t require supplemental water once the roots are established. Plant it in full sun and very well-drained soil, and do not add fertilizer or organic matter when you plant it. Lean and mean is how sedum rolls — pamper it and you’ll be disappointed.

Sedum comes in many sizes, shapes, and colors. Expect most to bloom in late summer and fall, providing a late season pollen source for bees and butterflies. Leave it alone in the fall and then cut any remaining foliage to the ground in early spring, Many varieties stocked at Greendell.

Russian Sage 

During the hottest months of summer, the cool blue flowers of Russian sage are a welcome respite in the garden. You’ll love how Denim n Lace by Proven Winners forms a dense, upright clump and is completely covered in flowers beginning in midsummer.

Like sedum, Russian sage is not a plant that enjoys pampering. Grow it in very well-drained, sandy, or rocky soil and do not add fertilizer or organic matter when planting it. It enjoys drier soils and rarely requires supplemental water. The only maintenance it should need is cutting the stems back to 3″ tall in early spring before new growth appears. Zones 4-9, stocked at Greendell.

Original article published by Proven Winners