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23 Best Landscaping Plants for a Low-Maintenance Garden

Proven Winners is all about trialing plants for years before deciding to add them to our line. One of the criteria we test for is if the plant will perform well for home gardeners, with ease. You can be confident that these low-maintenance plants will surpass your expectations, without much help from you.

Contributors: Kerry Meyer

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diamond frost euphorbia


Diamond Collection Euphorbia

Diamond Frost® is a really cool and unusual plant, with 15 years of stellar reports from every trial location. Today, it remains one of the best landscaping plants on the market, not to mention one of the most low-maintenance outdoor plants around.

We also offer Diamond Mountain®, a super-sized version and Diamond Snow, which has double flowers and a dense habit. All three are as durable as they come and need very little care. They are drought-tolerant, love heat, deer don't find them particularly tasty and best of all—they’ll make you look like a gardening genius!    

Sun to Light Shade. Annual, except in frost-free zones.

sedum2. SEDUM

Lemon Coral® Sedum mexicanum

This easy-care annual can take the heat and drought like a champ. Grown for its spikey chartreuse foliage, this is one of our top garden workhorses. Use it as a tough-as-nails filler for hanging baskets, troughs, combination containers or in landscapes. 

3" - 10" Tall. 10" - 14" Wide. Part Sun to Sun. Annual, except in frost-free zones.



Supertunia Vista® Jazzberry®

Supertunia Vista varieites are the best petunia for landscapes. Hands down. They flower earlier, grow taller and wider, and spread more vigorously than other petunias. Plus, no deadheading is needed for them to bloom from spring through fall!  

12" - 2' Tall. 2' - 3' Wide. Part Sun to Sun. Annual.  

See more easy annual flowers.

Russian Sage4. RUSSIAN SAGE

‘Denim ‘n Lace’ Perovskia

Gardeners love Russian sage for its airy texture and ability to blend with pretty much any flower color. ‘Denim ‘n Lace’ doesn’t get too tall, has strong stems and an upright habit. Lacy, bright sky-blue flowers are held on amethyst calyxes, spaced closely together to give the flowers a very full look. The colorful calyxes make it look like it is still in bloom even when it is past peak. You’ll have great color nearly all season long.

Hummingbirds will enjoy this plant and you’ll be happy to hear that deer don’t. Both the flowers and foliage are fragrant too. Plant this in full sun, and forget about it—‘Denim ‘n Lace’ is drought tolerant and thrives on neglect!

28" - 32” Tall. 34" - 38” wide. Zones 4-9. Full Sun.

Discover more low-maintenance perennials

gomphrena5. GLOBE AMARANTH

Truffula Pink Gomphrena pulchella

Don’t let its whimsical pink blooms fool you—this is one practical plant! Live in a hot climate where water is limited? Truffula Pink flourishes in heat and tolerates some drought. Don't have time for deadheading? This plant blooms all season without having to remove spent flowers. With its playful pink pom-poms dancing in the breeze all season long, you'd never guess it's actually a garden gladiator!

22" - 2'4" Tall. 22" - 2'2" Wide. Full Sun. Annual. 


hosta6. HOSTA

Shadowland® ‘Coast to Coast’ Hosta

‘Coast to Coast’ is a giant, solid gold hosta that makes a striking specimen in the shade garden. Its foliage emerges gold in spring and turns lighter gold with a bit more sun exposure in the summer months. As the leaves mature, they become thick and puckered with wavy edges and have nearly white undersides. The upright vase-shaped clump is topped with green scapes carrying pale violet flowers in midsummer.

This hosta tends to be more slug resistant because of its thick foliage and rigidly upright habit. It can be grown as a single specimen in a large container or in a prominent place in the landscape.

30” Tall. 36” Wide. Zones 3-9. Perennial. Part Shade to Shade. 

switch grass7. SWITCH GRASS

Prairie Winds® 'Cheyenne Sky' Panicum virgatum

Prairie Winds® 'Cheyenne Sky' Red Switch Grass is one of the easiest ornamental grasses to grow in full sun. It does well in any soil from sand to clay. It puts on quite the show, with blue-green leaves that turn wine red in early summer, followed by purple flower panicles. Try growing it in a container so you can enjoy it up close.

3' Tall. 18" Wide. Full Sun. Zones 4-9. Perennial. 



'Paint the Town Fuchsia' Dianthus hybrid

Looking for a classic and easy landscaping flower? 'Paint the Town Fuchsia' really shines with its exceptional heat tolerance, making it a superstar in warmer zones. It keeps its cool when the temperatures rise, ensuring your garden stays vibrant and fuss-free. So, not only do you get its stunning fragrant fuchsia blooms and perennial reliability, but you also have a plant that thrives when others might wilt!

6" - 8" Tall. 12" - 14" Wide. Part Sun to Sun. Perennial.

inkberry holly9. INKBERRY HOLLY

Gem Box® Ilex glabra

Gem Box® inkberry holly is a dense, ball-shaped plant with small dark green leaves. Foliage develops attractive red tips during the spring flush. It maintains good branching right to the ground so it never looks bare-legged like other cultivars can and is as versatile and good-looking as boxwood with no disease issues! Tiny white flowers will attract pollinators too.

2' - 3' Tall. 2' - 3' Wide. Part Sun to Sun. Zones 5-9. Shrub. 

Find more low-maintenance shrubs.  

rose of Sharon10. ROSE OF SHARON

Blue Chiffon® Hibiscus syriacus

True blue is a rare sight in the garden, but you’ll find it in the buds of this enchanting rose of Sharon shrub. They unfurl all along the stems to reveal large, lavender-blue flowers with a fluffy anemone center. Bees and hummingbirds are frequent visitors as this robust flowering shrub is happy to provide them sustenance for months on end. Its impressive size, refined shape, and durable nature make Blue Chiffon an ideal foundation plant when establishing or renovating a landscape design.

8' - 12’ Tall. 6' - 10’ Wide. Full Sun. Zones 5-9. Shrub. 

landscape rose11. LANDSCAPE ROSE

Oso Easy Double Red® Rosa

When you think of low maintenance plants, traditional roses may not not come to mind. But our shrub roses are different! 

There's so much to love about Oso Easy Double Red®, beginning with its lush, deep red color. Next, the blooms are held on long stems, well above the foliage, for a truly memorable display. And speaking of foliage, its a lustrous green with excellent resistance to powdery mildew and black spot, so it looks good all season. And there is no need to deadhead to keep those beautiful blooms coming!

Oso Easy Double Red rose is a bit of a bigger plant, but give it space in a sunny location, and you've got an easy-care rose that you'll love to look at all season long.

3' - 4’ Tall. 3' - 4’ Wide. Full Sun. Zones 4-9. Shrub. 

smooth hydrangea12. SMOOTH HYDRANGEA

Invincibelle® Ruby Hydrangea arborescens

The dark burgundy-red flower buds of Invincibelle Ruby open to a two-toned combination of bright ruby red and silvery pink—an amazing variety to enjoy indoors as a cut flower. The foliage is extra dark and stems are strong, making this new hydrangea a gem in any garden. It is a strong rebloomer that will be an excellent addition to any garden. Like other smooth hydrangeas, it flowers on new growth and blooms every year without fail. The flowers are great for cut flower arrangements and stunning in bridal bouquets.

3' - 4’ Tall. 2' - 3' Wide. Part Sun to Sun. Zones 3-8. Shrub. 

lilac13. LILAC

Scentara Pura® Syringia x hyacinthiflora

Lilacs are a classic spring-flowering plant and deservedly well-loved for their toughness, reliability and strong fragrance. For lilacs to thrive and flower they need a chill period in winter. Most lilacs do well in zones 3 to 7, but one of the great things about Scentara Lilacs is that they will also grow and bloom prolifically in zone 8. If you're in an area that is marginal or just outside of the normal range for lilacs, Scentara is a great plant for you.

Not only do they need less of a chill period, but they are also some of the most fragrant lilacs you can find. Add in a well-branched, semi-dwarf, compact habit, great disease resistance, and a really heavy bloom each spring and you have a wonderful plant for your garden. The flower buds are a mulberry purple color, with the flowers themselves a clear lavender purple.

4' - 6’ Tall. 4' - 6' Wide. Full Sun. Shrub. Zone 2-8. 

yarrow14. YARROW

Firefly Achillea

Fireflies, or whatever you call the insects that light up the night, are a sure sign of warm summer weather. Similarly, this Yarrow collection will light up your summer garden with clusters of small flowers.

Yarrow, in general, has a reputation for flopping over in the garden. However, the Firefly yarrows are tall without compromising beautiful habits and sturdiness. At up to three feet in height, these are great plants for the middle or back of your garden beds. There is some variation in height between varieties, so be sure to check the tags for detailed information. 

18" - 36” Tall. 24" - 40” Wide. Full Sun. Zones 3-8. Perennial. 


Rainbow Rhythm® ‘Sound of My Heart’ Hemerocallis

This is a gorgeous plant that is sure to catch the attention of everyone who visits your garden. The blooms are also quite attractive to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. The 5” pastel-pink flowers have a very wide, wine-purple eye with a matching purple picotee edge on the ruffled margins. Petals open flat, maximizing the floral display.

Daylilies can survive many harsh conditions that other plants cannot including polluted city environments, slopes, poor and dry soils, near pavement that is salted in winter, and under Black Walnut trees (not affected by juglone). There’s a reason daylilies remain a mainstay in gardens.

28” Tall. 18" - 24” Wide. Full Sun. Zones 3-9. Perennial.

st. John's wort16. ST. JOHN'S WORT

Sunny Boulevard® Hypericum kalmianum

Enjoy easy, durable flowers all summer long with this North American native that keeps deer at bay. Sunny Boulevard is easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils and doesn't mind a bit of drought. It’s a dream come true for the laid-back gardener!

2' - 3' Tall. 2' - 3' Wide. Full Sun. Zones 4-8. Shrub.


ninebark17. NINEBARK

Ginger Wine® Physocarpus opulifolius

Spice up your garden with the Ginger Wine® Ninebark! This shrub is a year-round showstopper with foliage that shifts from orange to burgundy, white spring flowers and captivating red fall seed heads. It's super easy to care for, asking for nothing more than a sunny spot. Plus there’s no pruning or deadheading required!

5' - 6' Tall. 5' - 6' Wide. Full Sun. Zones 3-7. Shrub. 

birchleaf spirea


Glow Girl® Spiraea betulifolia

Add a bright, cheerful presence to any garden with very little fuss. Glow Girl® is an ideal choice for gardeners who appreciate colorful, low-maintenance plants. It adapts well to a variety of soil types and pruning is minimal. This hardy shrub has charming white spring flowers and vibrant yellow foliage that transitions beautifully into fall. 

3' - 4' Tall. 3' - 4' Wide. Part Sun to Full Sun. Zones 3-9. Shrub.  



Tortuga®Juniperus communis

Tortuga is a dream for those seeking undemanding greenery in their gardens. This hardy evergreen is adaptable to various soils, drought tolerant once established, doesn't need pruning and won't get eaten up by deer. Compact and tough, it's perfect for adding a touch of lush evergreen elegance without extra work.

2' Tall. 3' - 4' Wide. Part Sun to Full Sun. Zones 2-7. Shrub. 


hardy geranium20. HARDY GERANIUM

'Boom Chocolatta' Geranium pratense

Looking to jazz up your garden with a splash of color? Known for its striking dark foliage and vibrant blue-purple flowers, this low-maintenance perennial blooms profusely in late spring to early summer. Additionally, its compact habit and attractive foliage make it an excellent choice for gardeners seeking a combo of easy care and good looks.

2' - 2'2" Tall. 2'4" - 2'6" Wide. Part Sun to Sun. Zones 4-8. Perennial. 



Sweet Emotion® Abelia mosanensis

Sweet Emotion is the epitome of easy-going elegance. Plus it is super hardy, tolerates part shade and resists deer and rabbits. As an added bonus, you'll enjoy its delightful sweet jasmine fragrance and white and pink blooms in spring. And if that's not enough, it has attractive seed heads and orange fall foliage. It's the perfect shrub to showcase your good taste, without taking too much of your time.

5' - 6' Tall. 5' - 6' Wide. Part Sun to Full Sun. Zones 4-8. Shrub.  



Fizzy Mizzy® Itea virginica

Bursting with spikes of fragrant white flowers, this lively little shrub is a breeze to care for. Its very tidy, uniform habit requires little upkeep. Plus, it will still flower reasonably well even in shade.

2' - 3' Tall. 2' - 3' Wide. Sun or Shade. Zones 5-9. Shrub. 

oakleaf hydrangea


Gatsby Moon® Hydrangea quercifolia

This North American native hydrangea belongs in your garden! Its very full, showy, pure white flowers are a spectacular sight, gracefully aging to a chic green. As autumn rolls around, the oak-like foliage turns a wonderful wine-red color. Plus, unlike other hydrangeas, there's no pruning needed except to remove dead or damaged branches. 

6' - 8' Tall. 6' - 8' Wide. Zones 5-9. Part Sun to Sun. Shrub.  

Looking for a specific type of plant?

What to look for in a low-maintenance plant

 Low maintenance can mean many things, including:

  • Easy to grow
  • Disease resistant 
  • Requires little to no pruning or deadheading 
  • Thrives in many soil types
  • Doesn't need frequent fertilizing
  • Seldom bothered by deer and rabbits
  • Doesn’t have high water needs 
  • Won't reseed or spread aggressively 
  • Is vigorous enough to outcompete unwanted weeds

Deciding which of these characteristics are most important to you will help you narrow down your plant choices.

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