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21 Low-Maintenance Perennials To Plant This Year

Shady, sunny, dry or windy—whatever your growing conditions, there’s a plant that will flourish in your care.

Perennials are a lazy gardener’s best friend. Plant them in the right spot and you can enjoy their colour, texture and beauty for years to come. No matter how much sun your backyard or balcony gets, there’s a hardy plant that will thrive in your outdoor space.

Dry

If you’re looking to cut down on your water bill, these perennials require minimal moisture. When you plant them, however, be sure to water them for a few weeks until they become established.

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Coneflowers will draw butterflies, bees and goldfinches. These native prairie flowers are hardy and will bloom into the late summer.

Pink blooming Sedum flowers in a flowerbed.

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Sedum works well in rock gardens. Sedum store water in their leaves, which helps them weather drought.

Small white flowers on long green stalks

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Yarrow only needs to be watered in a severe drought.

Yellow and orange and pink Gaillardia grouped together in a garden

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Gaillardia has bright red and yellow daisy-like blooms. As it reseeds itself, it’s a good way to add swaths of colour to a flower bed.

Chinese Silver Grass Early Hybrids and Heavenly Bamboo shrub

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Ornamental grasses (such as Festuca, Miscanthus and Pennisetum glaucum) are tolerant to drought and are a great choice if you’re looking to reduce your water consumption.

Sunny

This summer, put these perennials in the spotlight.

Full frame close-up of green lamb's ear plant

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Lamb’s ears have velvety silver leaves and are very hardy. Later in the summer, the plants will produce spikes of purplish-pink flowers. They do well in full sun and will tolerate some shade.

light purple Aster flowers all bunched close together in a garden

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Asters bloom late into the fall. Water only their bases to avoid mildew growing on their leaves.

Russian Sage growing in front of an adobe wall.

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Russian sage thrives in dry weather, and loves well-drained soil and full sun exposure (in partial sun, it tends to get a little scraggly). It will bloom from late spring to early autumn.

An orange-yellow daylily bloom

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Day lilies are a fantastic choice for a low-maintenance plant that still provides a bright pop of colour.

Blooming iris in the garden, with shallow depth of field and blurred background.

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Bearded iris will keep coming back year after year. They bloom in late spring and can be divided every few years. (Divide them in the fall to get them ready for the next season).

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Peonies love sunny spots (they need six or more hours of sunlight a day). They don’t tend to flower as well in the shade. Once established, peonies can flower for decades.

Shady

There are many plants that prefer the shade—think of plants that might do well in a forest.

Green ferns overlapping each other

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Ferns prefer cool, moist shade. You can find a good selection of varieties at garden centres, such as Japanese Painted Fern, which has blue-grey leaves, as well as the coppery coloured Autumn Fern.

A large number of hostas in a garden

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Hostas are great for providing dramatic greens all summer long. They come in many varieties of different sizes and colours, and mixing a few together in a garden can create a bold, unique look.

Red Astilbe in a garden against a brick wall.

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Astilbe provide bursts of colour—bright plumes of red, pink or flowers—in June, but they require good hydration.

White Lily of the valley hanging from a green leafy plant.

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Lilies of the valley are practically indestructible. A woodland species, it does well in the shade, and it spreads easily so it makes for a good groundcover.

Light violet and white tall plumey flower plants

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Bugbane more than makes up for its ugly name (it’s also known as bugwort, snakeroot and fairy candles), thanks to pretty flower spikes that can grow up to seven feet high. It does well in partial to full shade.

Windy

If you have a windy property or have balcony boxes, alpine plants are often a good choice—they do well in exposed conditions.

Assorted succulents of green and purple in a garden

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Succulents come in many varieties. They’re quite hardy—the only trick is to water them thoroughly but infrequently.

ornamental grass Festuca Elijah Blue in a terracotta pot

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Ornamental grasses are meant to blow to in the breeze and do well in high-rise gardens.

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Lavender does well in sunny spots. Once established, it’s a draw for bees and butterflies.

Sunlit close up on a Foxglove flower head

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Beardtongue makes an excellent groundcover. Sweet tubular flowers bloom from late spring to mid-summer and attract pollinators.

Natural carpet of ornamental flowering moss phlox as background

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Moss Phlox creates a mat of bright flowers in the spring.