If you’re thinking about starting a flower garden this spring, plan your garden around some easy-to-grow perennials. My favorite ones require little care; they aren’t terribly fussy about their water and sunlight needs; and they come back each year with the minimum of fuss.
What is a Perennial?
Perennials are plants that come back each year. Depending on your zone, a plant may be a perennial in your zone, and an annual elsewhere. In my zone 7/8, many of my favorite plants are perennials since the winters are not cold enough to kill them. And, depending on where I plant certain plants in my yard, they may be able to winter over even though they wouldn’t be considered a perennial for my zone.
6 Easy to Grow Perennials for the Garden
With the exception of the Lilac, the perennials I’ve selected can be divided in the fall giving you more bang for your buck. I recommend purchasing quart-sized plants the first year, and giving the plants 2 years to establish themselves. In the fall of the second year, you can divide the plants and plant the divisions or share them with neighbors.
This soft-mounding perennial requires no care and is not bothered by insects. It simply grows slowly and flowers often. It is also pretty easy to divide. Most of my cranesbill geraniums are in full sun, but they can also grow in partial shade.
This is a good companion plant for spring flowering bulbs. After the bulbs die back, the plant covers up the dead leaves.
Sedum flowers in the late summer with fronds that poke up from this succulent-like plant. The only care it requires is the clean up of the flowers in the fall. Sedum isn’t bothered by a lack or abundance of water, as far as I can tell. It divides and transplants easy, but is not aggressive in its growth.
I like to use the dead flowers to add a little texture to my Christmas wreaths.
These dianthus are great for pops of color at the edge of a bed. They come back each year and can be easily divided. The plants are about six inches in height.
Depending on the rain for the next few days, I will try to take some pictures of the yard this week to show how we integrated the edible landscaping into the beds. It’s amazing to me that more people don’t do this type of landscaping. It’s incredibly easy to do and to maintain. The hardest part is the hedge, but event that only needs to be trimmed about twice a year.
We have four lilac bushes. The one on the left is a very bushy lilac. It’s in the perfect spot in our yard, hiding the underside of our front porch.
The other four lilacs are the traditional type of lilac. All have the wonderful frangrance. One has flowers which are white, two have the medium purple, and the last one has deep purple flowers.
Lilacs are slow growing and easy to care for. We prune the bushy lilac every year or so, but if it were in a bigger yard, I wouldn’t bother with pruning.
Once the flowers finish blooming, the shapely bushes make a nice backdrop to other shrubs and perennials in our beds.
One of my favorite spring flowers is the peony. Color like this just pops in the garden. Woo-ee!
I also have white peonies and pink. The pink is about 15 years old at this point and survived transplanting from our old home ten years ago.
Peonies require no care, a little support depending on the size of the plant, and produce spectacular blooms. They can also be divided with a spade or a shovel.
The only drawback is that ants are fond of them. I check the flowers a number of times before I bring them into my home.
I’ve slowly been developing a collection of chrysanthemums. I’m pretty certain that I still have at least one of the mums that we used for decoration at our wedding over fifteen years ago.
Mums are easy to take care of and aren’t affected by disease. I cut mine back one to two times a year to encourage them to bloom in the fall. They’re also easy to divide into new plants, using a spade or a shovel.