Best Perennials For Low Maintenance
Botanical Latin Name: Phlox
Common Name: Phlox
Sun Exposure: Light sun to full shade
Hardiness Zones: Three to nine
Mature Height: Three inches to three feet
Spread: 15 inches
Spacing: 18 inches
Growth Rate: Moderate
Flowering Time: Spring
How Long It Flowers: Spring to fall
Flower Color: Blue, white or pink
Soil Requirements: Various. Soil can be dry, moist, fertile or sandy.
Pruning: Needs to be cut back after flowering.
Flower Form: Phlox is a very diverse family of plants. Most have flowers that are found singly or in clusters, and all have five petals and an “eye” in the center. There’s a type of phlox for nearly every site and almost every gardener's preference. Woodland phlox does well in shady, moist woods, while spotted phlox thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. Creeping and moss phlox make excellent ground covers. Creeping phlox likes moist soil and grows in the sun or shade, though it finds partial shade ideal. Moss phlox need the site to be a bit drier and in full sun. Some kinds of phlox are annuals while others are perennials.
Lily Of The Valley
Botanical Latin Name: Convallaria majalis
Common Name: Lily-of-the-Valley
Sun Exposure: Filtered sunlight
Hardiness Zones: 2 - 8 (-40 degrees F)
Mature Height: 8-10"
Spread: 6 - 12", 2" deep
Spacing: 6 - 12"
Growth Rate: Moderate to fast.
Flowering Time: Mid to late spring.
How Long It Flowers: 2-3 weeks
Flower Color: White
Soil Requirements: Moist, humus-rich soil.
Pruning: None necessary.
Flower Form: These tiny, white bell-shaped flowers with wee orange-red berries hang directly downward, staggered closely along their thin stems which shoot up from amid broad green leaves.
They have a sweet-smelling fragrance. Perfect for shaded or wooded settings, these hardy bulbs spread quickly, creating a sturdy and long-living summer ground cover. Several legends are surrounding Lily of the valley and generally connected to religious symbolism, purity, and happiness. But the innocent look belies a highly poisonous content. The plant contains glycosides which cause the heart to contract with increased force and are incredibly harsh on nervous, gastrointestinal, and circulatory systems. On the upside, these compounds are used in life-saving medicines. Toxicity keeps animals from eating the plant's seeds. All parts of the plant are quite poisonous. If ingested, seek emergency-room attention.
Botanical Latin Name: Delphinium Consolida
Common Name: Larkspur, Larks Heel
Sun Exposure: Full sun
Hardiness Zones: 5-10
Mature Height: 1-3 ft.
Spread 6-12 in.
Spacing: 6-8 in.
Growth Rate: Moderate
Flowering Time: Early
How Long It Flowers: Spring and Summer
Flower Color: Variety of colors: white, pink, lavender, purple, blue
Soil Requirements: Rich, moist soil that is well-drained. Never let them sit in standing water.
Pruning: Cut or pull off dead flower heads. Prune back to the ground in late autumn after seed pods have dried.
Flower Form: These beautiful flowers grow in clusters and are excellent additions to any garden. They come in a plethora of colors, but blue is most common. The flowers bloom in vertical clusters at the end of the stalk and form a spur. The group is said to resemble a dolphin, hence the Latin name Delphinium. Usually, they consist of five irregular shaped petals that have a hollow center where the flowered spur sits. The long stem is smooth and rigid with grey-green leaves that branch out from the stem. The seeds are used for medicinal properties and also as an insecticide.
Jack In The Pulpit
Botanical Latin Name: Arisaema triphyllum
Common Name: Jack-In-The-Pulpit
Sun Exposure: Loves shade.
Hardiness Zones: 4,5,6,7,8
Mature Height: 30 to 65 cm.
Spread Plant 2 to 3 inches deep in autumn or spring.
Spacing: Six inches apart or farther.
Growth Rate: Perennial.
Flowering Time: From April to June.
How Long It Flowers: Around four months.
Flower Color: Tiny flowers surround the spandex or "Jack" which is surrounded by a large spathe. The path can be green, purple or brown. The pulpit display turns to red berries which stay through the summer if watered properly.
Soil Requirements: Well-drained but moist humus rich soil. Ph may be neutral or slightly acidic.
Pruning: Pollinated by flies when mature.
Flower Form: As a young plant its leaves look similar to poison ivy. If we look at the flower in the spring, and we use our imaginations, the plant resembles a man on the preacher's pulpit about to give a sermon. The sizeable surrounding longleaf spathe grows to 8cm long. It can be stripped or variously colored.
Evergreen Ginger European
Botanical Latin Name: Asarum europaeum
Common Name: Evergreen Ginger European
Sun Exposure: Low
Hardiness Zones: Deciduous woodlands or forests
Mature Height: 3 to 5 inches
Spacing: 10 10 12 inches apart
Growth Rate: Perennial
Flowering Time: Late Winter, Spring
How Long It Flowers: End of Summer
Flower Color: Green
Soil Requirements: Damp
Used as a groundcover in shaded areas where little else of low upkeep will grow, Evergreen Ginger European Asarabacca, Hazelwort, European Wild Ginger or Wild Spikenard is a species of wild ginger that enjoys rich, slightly acidic soil. With stems 10 to 15 cm long and petiolate and reniform leaves, the Evergreen Ginger European is a popular and inexpensive choice to cover vast areas of a garden. The foliage is host to a single axillary purple flower and can be used for decorative or spice flavoring use domestically. It was previously employed as an emetic and cathartic remedy in medicinal prescriptions. Found in Northern and Southern Europe, the Evergreen Ginger European grows natively in deciduous woodland or coniferous forests across the continent.
Smooth Soloman Seal
Botanical Latin Name: Polygonatum biflorum
Common Name: Smooth Solomon's seal, Great Solomon’s-seal, Sealwort
Sun Exposure: Partial to full shade
Hardiness Zones: USDA zones 3-9
Mature Height: 1-3 feet
Spread: Flowers 3/4 inch, foliage up to 2 feet but grows slowly
Spacing: 18 inches apart
Growth Rate: Fast
Flowering Time: Early Spring
How Long It Flowers: Mid Spring to Early Summer
Flower Color: Varies, White, and Yellow are most common
Soil Requirements: Moist
Pruning: Early Spring, cut 2-3 inches above the base separating large clumps when necessary.
Flower Form: The Soloman Seal has white flowers shaped like bells that hang from the green, veined leaves. The stems of the Soloman Seal have a reddish tint. The flowers are usually grouped in pairs. The flowers are white, yellow, or almost white and are hard to be seen from above the plant because of the arching of the stems. When the flowers die off, berries replace them hanging in clusters underneath the plant. Black seed pods adorn the plant and hang below the leaves when the beans are gone. The leaves turn a golden yellow color in the fall.
Botanical Latin Name: Scutellaria Laterifolia
Common Name: Skull Cap, Hoodwort, Blue Skullcap, Virginian Skullcap, Mad-dog Skullcap
Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 8
Mature Height: 2 -3 feet
Spread: 12 - 15 inches
Spacing: 12 - 15 inches
Growth Rate: Moderate
Flowering Time: Summer to late summer
How Long It Flowers: Perennial
Flower Color: Violet, blue, pink, red or white
Soil Requirements: Well-drained, fertile, sandy or clay, alkaline, neutral or acidic soil
Pruning: Thin the plant out to keep appropriate spacing; after the flowers bloom cut the stems to a few inches above the ground.
Flower Form: The 4-petaled flowers of this perennial are two-lipped and do not grow at the top of the stem but along the side branches. Medium green leaves with teeth along the edges, and square stems that are covered with tiny white hairs also adorn this lovely herb. Because the plant does well in marsh-type settings, they would be perfect for prairies, meadows, thickets, cottage gardens, wildflower gardens, open or swampy woodlands, and native plant gardens. These beautifully colorful perennials will be the perfect addition to any garden that meets the growing conditions mentioned above.
Botanical Latin Name: Anemone acutiloba
Common Name: Liverleaf, Sharp-lobed Liverleaf
Sun Exposure: Grows in Sun/Shade: brindle sunlight in spring/gentle shade in summer
Hardiness Zones: USDA Hardiness Zone 3 - 7
Mature Height: 4 to 8 inches
Spread: 4 to 6 inches / reseeds itself
Spacing: 6-9 in. (15-22 cm)
Growth Rate: Slow
Flowering Time: during early to mid-spring and lasts about 2-3 weeks
How Long It Flowers: up to 1" across
Flower Color: range from white to pink to purple, and a lot of shades in between
Soil Requirements: Moist, Well-Drained, humus-rich
Pruning: None needed
Flower Form: This is a native perennial plant about 3 to 6" in height and has a tuft of basal leaves that sprout in the late spring and through winter. These types of leaves are up to 3" in length; they have narrow petioles up to 6" in and every leaf is separated into three lobes; the lobes are usually oval and about the same size. The sleek upper surface of each leaf could contain brownish green, brown or reddish brown. Generally the top surface is more organic during the summer months, can turn out to be reddish brown in the winter. The leaf margins are sleek; for var. acuta, the tips of the lobes are particularly pointed in mature leaves.
Botanical Latin Name: Aquilegia
Common Name: Columbine
Sun Exposure: Part Sun
Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9
Mature Height: 1 to 4 feet tall
Spread: 18 inches in diameter
Spacing: 1 to 3 feet
Growth Rate: Fast
Flowering Time: Spring and Summer Depending on Species
How Long It Flowers: Bi-ennial that flowers in the second year
Flower Color: Almost Any Depending on Species, Can be Bi-Colored
Soil Requirements: Well Drained Soil
Pruning: Remove all Faded Flowers
The flowers either grow upright or in the nodding position. Their spurs are a unique characteristic of the bloom and vary in length depending on its environment. These ornamental spiky protrusions serve an essential role to the pollinators they provide for. The flower has five petals which form a bell shape. Some have honeycomb structures inside that have five chambers. Their size and color vary with so many varieties that there is a type in almost every color imaginable. Some varieties also bloom in two colors. Columbine foilage resembles fern and has groupings of lobed leaves along its thin stems. There are varieties of Columbine that has colored foliage as well.
Botanical Latin Name: Echinacea purpurea
Common Name: Purple Coneflower
Sun Exposure: Sun, partial shade
Hardiness Zones: 3-9
Mature Height: 2-4 ft.
Spread 1-2 ft.
Spacing: 12-18 inches
Growth Rate: Moderate
Flowering Time: July - August
How Long It Flowers: Mid to Late Summer
Flower Color: Purple
Soil Requirements: Loam, clay, or rocky
Pruning: Cut back stems to encourage further blooming
Flower Form: The name Purple Coneflower comes from the Greek word echino, which means hedgehog, based on the spiny center. The plant has hairy leaves on the stem which to the single lavender bloom. The flowers are favorites of butterflies and hummingbirds yet are deer resistant and make an excellent backdrop for lower growing annuals.
Coneflower is a perennial but also easily propagated from seed. Seeds may be harvested to use the next year from mature flower heads. Once established, the plant will have a deep root system.
The roots and flowers are used for medicinal purposes while the flowers may be used for an excellent herbal tea. Extracts from the plant are believed to improve white blood cell count. The plant is a mild natural antibiotic.