Few plants add so much drama with so little TLC as the canna lily. To grow, place the bulb in the ground after the threat of frost has passed, then water, cover with mulch, and wait for it to sprout. Once the tropical beauty blooms, you’ll need to keep it moist, although if you forget to water, the surprisingly drought-tolerant plant can survive a skipped sprinkler session.
Where some plants struggle in poor soil, the coneflower thrives. Also known as echinacea, this purple flower, native to the eastern United States, attracts pollinators and repels deer. In return, all it requires is a trim in late summer to rejuvenate its bold blooms. If your region receives normal rainfall, you can forget about watering your coneflower, and will only need to fertilize the plant in rare instances, like when buds remain undeveloped.
Creeping thyme is a favorite of home cooks and lazy landscapers alike. This fragrant—and edible—perennial ground cover needs little more than warm weather and the occasional watering. Its hardiness and drought-resistance recommends it as a lawn alternative, and its tiny white flowers lure butterflies to the yard.
There are low-maintenance plants, and then there’s creeping sedum. Available in myriad varieties, these succulents, also known as stonecrop, can survive unfavorable conditions of all kinds. Plant creeping sedum in an arid region where it can thrive in the midst of drought, or line a driveway with stonecrop, where it will survive runoff from road salt used to melt winter ice.
Also known as wild lilac, Texas ranger wows with vibrant lavender, purple, and magenta blooms. For all its showy blossoms, this flowering shrub is surprisingly low maintenance. Plant it in full sunlight, then water it only during the summers or in times of drought, to be rewarded with splashy color and curb appeal.
If you want a low-maintenance plant with year-round color, look no further than the beautyberry shrub. After months of green foliage speckled with lilac blooms in the spring and summer, the beautyberry's leaves fall away to reveal dazzling purple berries (a favorite snack for birds) for most of fall and winter. Virtually drought-tolerant and resistant to disease and pests, this is one garden variety that requires little to no effort on your part once you've planted it.
Looking for low maintenance and lots of options? Leafy hosta plants can thrive almost anywhere—best in Zones 2 through 10, no matter the level of sunlight—making this groundcover an easy choice for yards with plenty of shade. Just water in the morning to prevent its green, gold, or variegated leaves from burning, and keep it hydrated throughout the day as needed. Once established, watch this lush plant become a regular landscape addition, returning year after year.
Hummingbirds, bees, and beginner gardeners love the color that meadow sage's long-blooming flowers bring to the garden. The long stalks are an easy way to add deep and vibrant violet hues to your landscape. Plus, this perennial handles full-sun and holds up to neighborhood deer visiting with the munchies.
You may be familiar with the aromatic mint plant for its ability to repel mosquitoes and make good mojitos. But the easy maintenance this plant requires to boot is as much a blessing as it is a curse: Peppermint plants' invasive roots grow so quickly that they can overtake your garden. Keep this fresh greenery potted in individual planters that transfer easily from the windowsill to patio to reap its benefits all year long.
Drought-tolerant and disease-resistant, these bright yellow flowers with big, brown-to-purple centers make easy additions to any garden. And if their sunny color alone doesn't make you smile, the butterflies they bring to your yard may do just that. But beware: The yellow-budded perennial also lures wildlife like rabbits and deer to your garden patch, so it's best to place them near plants known to be repellents, like lavender and rosemary.