When you see this plant’s golden blooms arrive in the early days of spring, you know warm temperatures are approaching. Forsythia awakens from dormancy when the weather wends its unpredictable way from cold to warm temperatures, making it a joyful addition to a yard that's still rebounding from winter. This shrub is easy to grow and adapts well to different conditions. To get the best blooms in the spring, plant it in a sunny spot with well-drained, moist soil. Available at The Home Depot; $19.98 for three plants.
Creeping Jenny will grow whether you have a sun-filled yard or one that's draped in shade. Use this fast-growing ground cover to fill bare spots, or let the glossy yellow-green leaves cascade over a window box or container garden. While creeping Jenny doesn’t require much maintenance, you might want to prune occasionally to keep it from spreading into nearby plantings. Available at Burpee.com; $6.99 for one plant.
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Add texture, height and color to your landscape with fountain grass. The ornamental grass blooms with tan, pink, or purple feathery flowers from late summer into fall and continues to display vibrant foliage throughout the winter. There are many varieties of fountain grass to choose from, and all thrive in many zones and with minimal maintenance. Just be sure to plant it in an area where it can soak up the sun. Available at The Home Depot; $15.74 for one plant.
Native to North America, the black-eyed Susan is a hardy wildflower that will thrive all summer long. Heat-tolerant, drought-resistant, and self-seeding, the only task you have to handle on your own is deadheading spent flowers to encourage more blooms. The sunny yellow buds attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, but they also bring deer and rabbits, so plant them near a pest-resistant plant to keep wildlife at bay. Available at Burpee.com; $13.99 for one plant.
Related: 25 Amazing Plants That Are Native to North America
The Indian hawthorn is an evergreen shrub that has leathery green foliage and pink or white clusters of flowers that appear in spring. Though it grows best in full sun, it will do just fine in the afternoon shade and can even tolerate moderate drought once it’s matured a few years. Available at The Home Depot; $32.98.
Commonly known as periwinkle, this ground cover features delicate purple blooms in spring and summer. Vinca minor will spread quickly in a partial-shade garden and, in so doing, can smother weeds. Due to its fast-growing nature, you will want to prune this plant to prevent it from encroaching on other plantings. Available on Amazon; $8.99 for eight plants in 2-inch pots.
Related: 25 No-Effort Plants for a Foolproof Landscape
If you've questioned whether or not you could handle the maintenance most roses required, knock-out blooms are for you! This forgiving flowering shrub blooms and reblooms every 5 to 6 weeks, whether or not you decide to deadhead. Just trim your rose bush back early spring, and revel in the juicy colors (from peaches to pinks and corals to crimsons) all summer long. Available on Amazon; starting at $37.99 for a live plant in a #3 size container.
Related: 10 Foolproof Flowers Anyone Can Grow
Succulents are often considered the epitome of easy-care plants, particularly when planted outside. The "houseleek" succulent ranges in color, texture, shape, and size (the name encompasses 40 distinct species and numerous more hybrids), but you can expect any plant with the name to be a hardy one. These succulents can deal with drought, wind, and frost so long as their roots aren't placed in waterlogged soil (sandy or gravelly soil offers the best drainage). Available on Amazon; three plants for $15.95.
It doesn't take much effort on your part to enjoy lush leaves in vibrant shades of greens, maroons, and muted purples found in varieties of ajuga. This shade-loving, glossy groundcover offers color year-round with an extra burst of blue blooms in late spring. Plus, you can plant it in shaded spots of your yard without worry about rabbits or deer making a lunch out of your fast-growing foliage. Available on Burpee.com; one plant for $9.49.
Related: The Best Low-Maintenance Ground Covers for Your Garden
A go-to for home gardeners in need of a border plant or ground cover, clumping monkey grass (Liriope muscari) grows in all but the most extreme U.S. climates, as it tolerates a broad range of soil types, sun exposures, and precipitation patterns. Though it’s even tough enough to be walked upon, monkey grass is attractive too, boasting lush green leaves and in late summer, blooms of white or purple or pink. Indeed, there’s a reason why so many nurseries across the country keep monkey grass fully stocked! Available at The Home Depot; 18 plants for $46.99.
Don’t confuse ornamental blue fescue with fescue lawn grass. Blue fescue—or, Festuca glauca—may offer a hardiness level similar to that of its cousin, but it also packs much more of a visual punch, growing in compact clumps of strikingly fine, silvery-blue leaves. Under ideal conditions—abundant sunshine with moderate heat, average moisture, and well-draining soil—tall, yellow flowers bloom and persist through the summer, adding to the show. Meanwhile, maintenance requirements are very low; bear in mind only that division and replanting are necessary every three to five years. That's it—otherwise, you can sit back and enjoy. Available at Burpee.com; $4.19 for 150 seeds.
A member of the honeysuckle family, this plant with white or pinkish flowers will flourish in full sun, but can also adjust to partial shade in your yard. This highly adaptable flower just needs a quick pruning after they’ve bloomed in the spring, but otherwise require little to no upkeep. Available at The Home Depot; $32.42 for one plant.
Suitable for USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 9—more or less three-quarters of the country—pachysandra enjoys immense popularity as a shade-loving and drought-tolerant ground cover. It's the kind of plant that you can all but ignore, in part because it stands up well to deer and other types of garden nuisances, including insects. Homeowners especially love that pachysandra grows quickly, spreading out to form a calming carpet of deep green, with lovely, little white flowers making an appearance in the springtime. Available on Amazon; 24 plants for $19.99.
Sturdy, sensible, and a great choice for suburban hedges, yews delivers evergreen color and red winter berries in return for—well, almost nothing. Once established, drought-resistant yews can thrive on rainfall alone. Prune the green growth occasionally to keep it neat and tidy. Available at The Home Depot; $35.92.
They are bright, drought-resistant, and a no-fuss plant to grow. After the ground has thawed fully, all you have to do is stick a canna lily rhizome (underground stem) in the ground, water, mulch, and wait until early summer for it to bloom. Available at The Home Depot; $19.98 for five bulbs.
Related: 20 Ways to Enjoy the Colors of the Year in Your Garden
Butterflies can’t get enough of lantana’s colorful blooms, which span the spectrum from purple, red, orange, white, pink, and yellow. These flowers love warm temperatures and grow best in Zones 10-11, but they can be treated as annuals in colder zones and will even tolerate poor soils and drought, just as long as they get tons of sunshine. Available at Burpee.com; $19.99 for three plants.
Echinacea or coneflower is a perennial superstar. This native plant comes in a range of colors, is heat- and drought-resistant, thrives in partial to full sun, and blooms for months, attracting birds and butterflies. Available at Burpee.com; $16.99 for one plant.
Related: 14 Long-Lasting Flowers for Your Yard
Forget traditional grass: creeping thyme offers beautiful ground cover, creating a dense mat of low-habit foliage and tiny pale purple flowers. It thrives in warm climates and doesn’t need much water to grow and spread. Available on Amazon; $6.50 for a packet of 20,000 seeds.
This succulent, also known as stonecrop, has leaves that look like tiny rosettes. Available in a range of colors, sedum spreads quickly and prevents weeds from overtaking your garden bed, perfect for arid regions and low-maintenance gardens. Available at The Home Depot; $8.98 for one plant.
Attractive to all manner of winged wildlife (and resistant to hungry deer), meadow sage is notable for its bright purple stalks. Fertilizing is unnecessary, since meadow sage can tolerate almost any soil composition, and does equally well in full or partial sun. Available on Amazon; $17.99 for one plant.
Egyptian Star Cluster
The stunning flowers of the Egyptian star cluster attract butterflies and are surprisingly easy to care for—as long as you plant it in a part of the yard that receives three hours of direct sunlight every day. Unless you live in Zones 10 or 11, be prepared to plant the Egyptian star cluster as an annual—but once it takes root it’s more or less a “set it and forget it” plant. Available at The Home Depot; $27.88 for four plants.
You don’t need a green thumb to grow peppermint. In fact, it will overtake your garden if you’re not careful, so keep it contained in pots and give clippings to your neighbors for propagation or culinary use. Available at Burpee.com; $16.99 for three plants.
For variety and hardiness in a garden bed, choose dusty miller, a silver-leafed annual that creates a striking border. Protect the plant from deer until it’s established. Once the plant has reached its mature size, it can survive most weather conditions, including dryness and heat. Available at Burpee.com; $4.19 for packet of 100 seeds.
Velvety soft and hardy as an old goat, lamb’s ear can handle neglect. The plant grows even in poor, sandy soil conditions and does well when planted in sun and partial shade. Available on Amazon; $6.50 for a packet of 12+ seeds.
Don’t eat it, though your cats may enjoy curling up in a patch of catmint, a tall perennial (3-4 feet high) with purple-blue blossoms. Unlike cats, deer and rabbits shun catmint, making it an unlikely form of sweet-smelling pest control. Available at The Home Depot; $15.81.
For charming curb appeal, nothing beats clematis, a flowering vine that comes in many colors, including blue, purple, burgundy, and white. Bloom times vary, but this perennial always grows best in moist, well-drained soil, with lots of sunshine. Available at The Home Depot; $15.29.
Related: 12 Plants That Will Make Your Garden Smell Great
If you’re looking for a plant that can stand up to deer, rabbits, drought, and heavy shade, look no further than the Bergenia—a semi-evergreen that comes in many varieties, including ones that sprout brilliant pink blossoms. Bergenias can grow in sunshine or shade, and can thrive in a wide range of soils. Available on Amazon; $5.99 for 150 seeds.
It can be a vine, a shrub, or ground cover, but however you cultivate it, coral honeysuckle will repay your minimal efforts with rosy, trumpet-shaped clusters. This Virginia native enjoys bright sunlight and not too much water. Available on Amazon; $4.99 for 80 seeds.
Blue Mist Spirea
True to its name, this shrub produces beautiful blue flowers in the summer, and doesn’t need much attention other than the occasional pruning. The blue mist spirea can also stand up to heat, drought. All it needs is well drained soil and a place in full sunshine. Available at Etsy.com; $7 for 15 seeds.
Butterfly weed—a species of milkweed—grows easily in Zones 3–9 in dry to medium and well-drained soils. Bursting with yellow and orange blooms in spring, this plant can withstand deer and even shallow-rocky soil. Available at The Home Depot; $15.98 for five plants.
If you want to attract lots of butterflies, choose the lavender-purple butterfly bush; although all butterfly bushes produce flowers, pollinators are most attracted to the purple blooms. Available at Burpee.com; $14.99 for one plant.
While its spiny leaves resemble culinary rosemary, bog rosemary is actually poisonous when ingested. However, this evergreen does provide excellent ground cover in areas that receive heavy moisture. Available at Plants4Home.com; $14.99 for one plant.
Ice plant delivers knockout color, even in dry landscapes. Contrary to its name, ice plant is sensitive to frost, but can withstand high heat and will survive for up to two weeks without water. Available at The Home Depot; $19.98 for one plant.
Don’t let the delicate blue flowers fool you. Geranium brookside can take care of itself, blooming from spring through late summer. In fall, the leaves turn lovely autumnal shades. Available on Amazon; $16.95 for five plants.
Maiden grass is an ornamental grass that can add some serious ambiance to your yard with feathery blooms ranging in colors from copper to silver. And although this plant is sturdy—with tolerance for drought, disease, deer, rabbits, and other pests—it can actually be invasive in certain parts of the country, so research before you plant it in your yard. Available at Burpee.com; $14.69 for one plant.
Related: 14 Plants That Thrive Even When Temperatures Rise
Plant it, provide a weekly inch of water during growing season, and give it a little trim each spring. That’s all the work required to keep ribbon grass looking healthy, with its characteristic white-and-green striped fronds. Available at SeedvilleUSA.com; $2 for 1000 seeds.
For a shady garden with dappled sunlight, consider coral bells for color, height, and a little magic. This tall perennial has variegated leaves, so when the rosy petals stop blooming, the gorgeous leaves take center stage. Available at The Home Depot; $14.98 for one plant.
Peonies are more than just a pretty addition to a bridal bouquet—they’re also a hearty, deer- and rabbit-resistant plant that can sturdily grow without much maintenance in Zones 3–9. As long as peonies get lots of sunlight, have well-drained soil, and space to spread out, they should be perfectly happy to grow in your yard unassisted. Available at Burpee.com; $19.99 for one bare root plant.
This speckled evergreen shrub loves partial to full shade and works well as a natural fence or as ground cover near trees. Although these plants grow best in the warmer Zones 7-9, they can tolerate temperatures that dip down to -5 degrees Fahrenheit and will even be happy in the famously untenable clay soil. Available at The Home Depot; $34.69.
Related: 9 of the Best Shrubs for Any Garden
Marigolds can give your yard a pop of yellow or orange and grow in a variety of climates—from Zones 2 to 11. All you need to worry about with these rabbit-resistant flowers is heat: They like full sun, but if you live in a particularly hot summer climate, you should plant them in a spot that gets partial shade. Available at Burpee.com; $24.99 for twelve plants.
A resilient, rabbit- and deer-resistant ornamental grass, mondo grass is a great choice to get texture and fill in a bare garden. This slow-spreading grass can grow in sun or shade provided that it has plenty of moisture. Available at The Home Depot; $46.99 for three plants.
Reminiscent of the color of the cocktail, cosmos is a low maintenance pink flower that attracts butterflies and doesn’t require any special maintenance. As long as you can give this friendly flower access to full sun, it will tolerate dry soil and prove to be a low-upkeep plant that adds a lot of color to your yard. Available at Burpee.com; $5.99 for 500 seeds.
This deciduous shrub doesn’t need a lot of tending to but adds stunning color and texture to your yard all year round. Although barberry needs occasional pruning, it can be happy in many soil types and can even tolerate city living as long as it has plenty of sunshine. Available at The Home Depot; $16.64 for one plant.
The bottlebrush buckeye bush can grow to a staggering 15 feet and attract butterflies to your yard thanks to its white blooms that pop up in spring and summer, but this plant is surprisingly easygoing and tough in the winter in Zones 5 through 9. This plant will thrive almost anywhere it’s planted—whether that's in full sunshine or in the darkest parts of your yard. Available at JacksonAndPerkins.com; $28.95.
Red Twig Dogwood
Red twig dogwood (cornus alba) looks good in any season, producing attractive white flowers in summer, and dropping its leaves in autumn to reveal its dramatic red branches throughout the chilly winter months. This hardy, drought-tolerant shrub can grow to be eight feet high and grows best in Zones 3–8. Available on Amazon; $58.25 for three plants.
Related: 10 Colorful Shrubs for a Standout Winter Garden
lso known as wild lilac, Texas ranger makes a big statement with its bright purple blooms. Plant this low-maintenance landscaping shrub in full sunlight, then water it occasionally in times of drought or hot summers. Perfect for smaller yards, Texas ranger grows to be about three feet high. Available at TheTreeCenter.com; $49.50 for a 3-gallon plant.
Related to the carnation, the dianthus comes in many varieties that bloom in pink, red, or shades of white all summer long. As long as dianthus gets at least six hours of sunshine every day, this flower will do well in any well-drained soil with medium moisture—perfect for a gardener who is short on time. Available at Burpee.com; $19.99 for six plants.
Arkansas Blue Star
Low-maintenance Arkansas blue star may look delicate but this perennial resists deer and drought, making it a durable and beautiful option for any garden. Grow Arkansas blue star in full sun to partial shade, and make sure it has well-draining soil. Available at Etsy.com; $3.25 for 50 seeds.
For year-round color without getting your hands dirty, the beautyberry shrub is the perfect pick. Months of green foliage and soft purple blooms in the spring and summer, give way to dazzling purple berries in fall and winter. Drought-tolerant, disease-resistant, and a source of sustenance for backyard birds, this landscaping plant provides many benefits in return for almost no care. Available at Etsy.com; $9.99 for two plants.
Sunlight is no object for the hosta. This leafy plant can thrive almost anywhere—best in Zones 2 through 10, but does especially well in a corner of the yard with plenty of shade. Practically all it needs in the way of care is regular watering (in the morning is best to prevent the leaves from burning). Keep an eye out for slugs, who can turn a hosta bed into a salad bar, if left to their own devices. Available at Burpee.com; $19.99 for one bare root plant.
Related: 15 Plants for Where the Sun Don't Shine
Grow a Stunning Garden
Plant the right things, and you can have beautiful landscaping with little to no maintenance.
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