Hardy perennials can make your garden not only beautiful, but low maintenance. Whether you plant in containers, in borders or beds, or have a large plot of land, there are some sun-loving plants that will thrive even with benign neglect.
These amazing plants tolerate temperatures from below zero to above 100 degrees Fahrenheit and are not fussy about soil, though they prefer it on the rich side. They have large, round or oval-shaped leaves with saw-tooth edges, which can be tinged with purple or red over the winter. In the spring, expect clusters of tiny white, pink or red flowers to bloom.
Commonly known as Mexican orange blossom, these shrubs can tower to 8 feet tall. They have dark, waxy green leaves and produce small, white flowers that resemble orange blossoms. A native of Mexico's rocky regions, it loves heat and tolerates drought well. I needs well-drained soil and wind protection in cold winters; grow in mild, slightly dry temperatures.
Iris, derived from the Greek word for rainbow, is an ornamental perennial flower that comes in a wide variety of colors. There are over 200 species of Iris. They grow best in temperate to cool climates, blooming in the spring and throughout the summer. Plant an iris patch, and it will spread each year, providing your garden with color and beauty, with very little maintenance.
If you're looking for something with an exotic flair, try these herbaceous perennials. Sometimes called red-hot pokers, they will sprout tall, stiff spikes of tubular, yellow-orange flowers through the spring and summer. They can be easily propagated by seed or by division, and prefer moist, rich soil. They have traditionally been used as border plants.
Rudbeckia hirta (Asteraceae)
More commonly known as black-eyed Susans, these daisy-like, yellow, low-maintenance plants are wildflowers that have become popular in home gardens. They grow well in the ground or in containers, are tolerant of heat and drought and can withstand soil that fussier plants might not like. They can even last over a week in a vase of water after cutting, if you want to make a cheerful, sunny display.
It's tolerant of droughts, poor soil and grows well in cool northern climates to sub-tropical zones. Sedum is commonly called stonecrop, because it is especially suited for rocky areas and rock gardens, though it makes an attractive border plant with its small star-shaped flowers and fleshy leaves. Blooms come in white, yellow, pink or red.