Although there are so many varieties of plants we can grow, I tend to rely on a few tried-and-true favorites. These low-care, tough plants are beautiful and they come back year after year. They are also popular in gardens as they provide a pleasing variety of colors, textures, shapes and height. Soil doesn’t have to be rich to grow these plants.
Dusty Miller (Centaurea cineraria) – Zone 7-10
Silvery gray and lacy felt-like leaves grow in a mound to about 1 to 1 1/2 feet tall. Small yellow flowers come out in spring through summer. It is also popular as an accent plant, provides color contrast and texture to a garden.
Start seedlings in early fall or spring in mild climate areas. Plant in full sun and make sure soil has good drainage. Prune the plant in mid summer when it becomes leggy.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Zone 8-10
Widely known as a cooking herb with glossy leaves and pleasant aroma, this drought tolerant plant grows to about 4 feet. You can certainly use it as a hedge, topiary or in borders and beds. Very little pruning is needed. Plant in full sun and well-drained soil. In late winter to early spring, the fragrant pale blue flowers cover the plant. Some varieties have purple, white or pink flowers.
I grow rosemary as a topiary in a 16-inch pot. Every year I prune it to a shape of a Christmas tree and serves as a beautiful accent in my front porch.
Rosemary leaves are delicious in marinades, roasted pork or lamb, and in soups or stew.
Daylily (Hemerocallis) Zone 3-10
One of the popular easy to grow perennials, this low maintenance plant grows to about 1 1/2 to 3 feet, also drought tolerant. Even though the flowers last for 1 day, they bloom for several weeks all summer and into fall. In the spring flowers come in so many colors, including bicolors. Plant them in full sun, in moist well-drained soil. When the outer grassy leaves die out, it’s easy to pull them and toss it in the compost bin. Propagate by division.
Geranium (Cranesbill)- Zone 4
One of my favorite hardy perennials, this plant grows to about 1 1/2 feet in a mound. Colorful blooms cover the plant from spring to summer. Flower colors come in pink, lavender, magenta, purple, and bicolors. Plant in full sun or partial shade and they do well even in poor soil. It’s so easy to propagate them by planting cuttings directly into the ground or in pots.
Sage (Salvia Officinalis) Zone 4-10
Sage is a low-water plant with gray-green fussy leaves (sometimes purple or variegated) and small purple flowers. Plant in a sunny location and well-drained soil. Use sage leaves as poultry seasoning, as well as in pork sausage or roasted meat. In addition, you can easily grow them from seeds, stem cuttings or division.
Daisy (Cape Daisy or Dimorphotheca) Zone 9-11
This plant tolerates hot, dry conditions but performs best in coastal mild winter areas. It also grows to about 1 to 1 1/2 feet in full sun and well-drained soil. Flowers are flat and feels like satin. Butterflies and birds are attracted to these blooms in white, pink, apricot, purple, and magenta with soft dark centers.
Plant seedlings in early spring or fall and it will produce a sea of flowers. Do not water heavily though. And I love that it self-sows so it grows in empty pockets in my garden.
So if you’re looking for low care, tough plants to grow try these beautiful plants. I know you will enjoy them.