Garden envy is an affliction that many growers suffer. Worse, a lot of gardeners see powerhouse perennial beds that seem to glow with colors in every season, sending them into a pit of despair. Questions like, how could I possibly grow those fancy plants with the fluffy plumes? Or, I want every perennial in sight, but how can I find the time for care?
It’s time to put those frets away. There are numerous perennials out there that don’t require a lot (or any) maintenance. Yet, their features can make even the blandest of gardens come to life. Even if your thumb is lacking the vibrant green, these perennials will make your life easier, thus allowing you to pursue a more leisurely life.
Lacey Blue Russian Sage
The Lacey Blue Russian Sage proves that big things come in small packages. While only 2 feet tall and wide, this plant still packs more flower power than its 5 foot older varieties. Lacey can handle heat, drought, and even a low nutrient soil. If you feel like showing a little love, add some compost and green sand to the ground when planting. Give Lacey full sun and add water when dry. Your biggest job will be spending two minutes of your time cutting Lacey back to six inches in early spring. Tough plant. Easy love.
Hello Yellow Butterfly Plant
Another summer lover! The bloom show begins in early summer and lasts into fall. The Hello Yellow Butterfly Plant is a distinguished host for the Monarch Butterfly that makes a home amidst the yellow and gold 3 inch blooms. All forms of nature flock to the Hello Yellow, including bees and hummingbirds. It loves virtually any landscape setting, whether along paths, borders, in the middle of a perennial bed, or in a container.
Maintenance Factor: Tiny. Like the native Butterfly Weed, the Hello Yellow can handle the inhospitable with ease. Drought, heat, and even bad soil doesn’t seem to affect this long living plant. Your biggest chore will be removing deadheads for another show of blooms. Poor you.
Big Daddy Hosta
The Big Daddy Hosta shows off its stuff in the shadiest of places. Its big blue heart-shaped leaves will class up any shade landscape design. Big Daddy can serve as an elegant ground cover, in a border, or paired with other shade perennials. It can also choke out undesired weeds as it expands its blue reign across the landscape.
Maintenance Factor: Tiny. Big Daddy grows but doesn’t fuss. Drought and bad soil don’t affect this hardy plant. Just plant in your favorite shade spot. Add a little compost and fertilizer at the beginning of the season, and you can sit back and watch Big Daddy go to work.
Look At Me Astilbe
The Look At Me Astilbe dares you to look away for even a second. Hundreds of tiny pink flowers sit proudly on each fluffy plume.The Astilbe struts it stuff in early through late summer, as the baby blooms come to life. This plant will garner the attention of every neighbor, whether it’s in a perennial bed or in a container. You can even take some scissors to the elegant Astilbe and add cut flowers to any floral arrangement in the home. Plus, it loves the shade, and it can be a dramatic boost to a hosta garden.
Maintenance Factor: Low. For the best flowers, plant the Astilbe in a well-drained soil with plenty of compost. The plant loves water, so make sure you keep the soil moist at all times. Fertilize at the beginning of the season with an organic all-purpose fertilizer. Five minutes of your time for months and months of flowers.
Chocolate Chip Ajuga
The Chocolate Chip Ajuga is the ground cover for the clumsy at heart. This rugged beauty can handle errant foot traffic with ease, whether it’s you or the wandering dog. Plant this beauty where grass has issues growing, like shade trees or on a stone paver path. It’s also a gorgeous natural weed deterrent. In the spring, you’ll see green 4 inch stalks appear before bursting in late spring with cluster after cluster of purple blue flowers nestled amidst chocolaty colored foliage. And make room for the butterflies and hummingbirds that will use the Ajuga as a second home.
Maintenance Factor: Slim to None. The Ajuga can handle just about any environment. Heat, drought, torrents of rain, and bad soil don’t seem to affect its growth.