I must admit that I love having a beautiful garden. What I don’t particularly love is having to work hard in the garden – especially on a hot, summer’s day. So, I like to use shrubs and perennials that look beautiful without me having to ‘fuss’ over them frequently. By ‘fussing’ I mean, having to prune multiple of times a year, constant deadheading of flowers, fertilizing and dealing with pests.
Last week, I shared with you some of my favorite ‘fuss-free’ shrubs. This week, I would like to share with you some of my favorite almost ‘fuss-free’ perennials that will bring beauty to your garden with minimal maintenance. **Unless indicated, plant in full sun and connect to your irrigation system.
Firecracker Penstemon (Penstemon eatoni) is my favorite perennial. I am frequently asked about it when it is blooming because it makes such a vibrant statement in my front garden. Hardy to -20 degrees, it attracts hummingbirds and is drought-tolerant although it does best with supplemental water. Orange/red spikes of flowers appear in late winter and into spring in the low deserts. In upper elevations, it flowers during the summer months. Maintenance involves removing the spent flower stalks, usually twice during the growing season.
Damianita (Chrysactinia mexicana) is a great choice for a groundcover or border plant. Deep yellow flowers appear in both spring and fall. This drought-tolerant perennial grows to a mature size of 2 x 2 ft. and is hardy to 0 degrees F. Plant in full sun and well-drained soil. Shear in the spring, which will remove any dead, woody growth.
Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum) is an absolute must for those who love daisies like I do. This pretty but tough perennial makes a great groundcover and grows to 12″ x 18″ wide and is hardy to -20 degrees. White daisies appear in spring and fall. An extra benefit is that it is deer-resistant.
Mexican Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera) is a great plant for underneath trees with filtered shade. The lime-green leaves contrast nicely with the orange, tubular flowers. Hummingbirds do love the flowers of this perennial, which is hardy to 15 degrees. Flowers appear year round in areas with mild winters. Mexican Honeysuckle does best with regular irrigation and reaches a mature size of 3 x 3 ft.
Angelita Daisy (Tetraneuris acaulis) is another flowering perennial that blooms throughout the year in milder climates although it is cold hardy to -20 degrees. Its compact size of 1 ft. high and wide makes it suitable for grouping together in numbers of 3, 5 or 7 (plants look best when planted in odd numbers). They do best when planted in full sun and are watered regularly. I like to use Angelita Daisies next to boulders in the landscape. Maintenance if periodically deadheading to promote additional bloom.
While no plant is ‘fuss-free’, I hope you will use some of these almost fuss-free perennials in your garden.
Do you have any favorite low-maintenance perennials that you like to plant in your garden? I would love to hear about them