Low-Maintenance Plants for Easy Landscaping

Check out these 15 varieties of low-maintenance plants, we've got planting, watering, fertilizing and pruning instructions for every gardening zone.

©Horticopia

©Horticopia

©Horticopia

©Horticopia

Velvet Cloak Smoke Tree (Cotinus coggygria 'Velvet Cloak')

The velvet cloak smoke tree has beautiful, deep purple leaves.

Large deciduous shrub or small tree with deep purple leaves and "puffs" of pink flowers in early summer.
Plant in average garden soil that is rich in organic matter and well-drained; tolerates some salt.
Plant in full sun.
Height: 10-15 feet/ Width: 15-20 feet
Hardy in USDA zones 5-8:
Zone 5: Plant in spring to prevent winter heaving; plant in full sun; apply extra mulch after first hard frost.
Zone 6: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun.
Zone 7: Plant in fall; plant in full sun; provide supplemental water during dry spells.
Zone 8: Plant in fall; plant in full sun; provide supplemental water during dry spells.

Jules Verne Peony (Paeonia lactiflora 'Jules Verne')

This perennial is known for its fragrant double pink flowers.

Herbaceous perennial noted for its fragrant double pink flowers.
Plant in full sun to light afternoon shade; cut back foliage after frost.
Plant shallowly in rich, but well-drained soil; fertilize in spring; divide in autumn, if desired.
Height: 32 inches/ Width: 28-32 inches
Hardy in USDA zones 3-8:
Zone 3: Plant in spring; mulch after first hard to prevent winter heaving; avoid contact with salt; plant in full sun; fertilize when new growth appears in spring.
Zone 4: Plant in spring; mulch after first hard frost to prevent winter heaving; avoid contact with salt; plant in full sun; fertilize when new growth appears in spring.
Zone 5: Plant in spring; mulch after first hard to prevent winter heaving; avoid contact with salt; plant in full sun; fertilize when new growth appears in spring.
Zone 6: Plant in spring or early fall; mulch lightly in fall; plant in full sun to light afternoon shade; fertilize when new growth appears in spring.
Zone 7: Plant in spring or early fall; mulch lightly in fall; plant in full sun to light afternoon shade; fertilize when new growth appears in spring; blooming may be reduced after warm winters.
Zone 8: Plant in spring or early fall; mulch lightly in fall; plant in full sun to light afternoon shade; fertilize when new growth appears in spring; blooming may be reduced after warm winters.

Winter King Hawthorn (Crataegus viridis 'Winter King')

Bright red fruit grows on the winter king hawthorn through winter.

Upright deciduous small tree with flat clusters of white flowers in May followed by bright red fruit through winter and occasional thorns.
Plant in average garden soil that is rich in organic matter and well-drained
Plant in full sun with good air circulation.
Height: 15-20 feet/ Width: 18-20 feet
Hardy in USDA zones 5-7:
Zone 5: Plant in spring to prevent winter heaving; plant in full sun; apply extra mulch after first hard frost.
Zone 6: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun.
Zone 7: Plant in fall; plant in full sun; provide supplemental water during dry spells.
Liriope muscari 'Big Blue' — Big Blue Liriope
Clump forming, evergreen ground cover with grass-like foliage and lavender flowers in summer.
Plant in rich organic soil that is well-drained.
Plant in full sun to full shade.
Prune back tattered foliage in late winter; divide in spring if needed.
Height: 12-18 inches
Width: 1-2 feet
Hardy in USDA zones (5) 6-10:
Zone 5: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to partial shade; avoid exposure to salt; mulch heavily after first frost; pull back mulch in spring; may be deciduous in this zone.
Zone 6: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to full shade; mulch after first frost; pull back mulch in spring.
Zone 7: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun to full shade; mulch after first frost; pull back mulch in spring.
Zone 8: Plant in early fall; plant in light to full shade; mulch in fall; pull back mulch in spring.
Zone 9: Plant in early fall; plant in light to full shade; mulch in fall; pull back mulch in spring.
Zone 10: Plant in early fall; plant in light to full shade; mulch in fall; pull back mulch in spring.

Variegated Ribbon Grass (Pharlaris arundinacea 'Strawberries & Cream')

The Strawberries & Cream Ribbon Grass is banned where it is not native.

Gardener's Note: The Strawberries & Cream Ribbon Grass is considered native to Canada and its neighboring northern states, but it is banned where it is not native because it can be invasive. Check with your local native plant society or extension service office to learn whether it is native to your area.
Variegated green and white perennial grass with white flower spikes in summer and arching foliage that turns pink in cold weather.
Plant in full sun to partial shade; foliage and flowering is better in full sun; prune to the ground in late winter.
Plant in average garden to wet garden soil; can be aggressive in a wetland setting.
Height: 18-36 inches/ Width: 24-36 inches, spreading
Hardy in USDA zones 4-9:
Zone 4: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch after planting and again before first frost; water when dry.
Zone 5: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch after planting and again before first frost; water when dry.
Zone 6: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch after planting and again before first frost; water when dry.
Zone 7: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch after planting and again before first frost; water when dry.
Zone 8: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch after planting and again before first frost; water when dry.
Zone 9: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch after planting and again in spring; water when dry.

Burgundy Carousel Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii 'Bailtwo')

The burgundy carousel Japanese barberry is considered invasive in some parts of the country.

Gardener's Note: This Barberry is non-native and is considered invasive in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Midwest.
Mounding, deciduous shrub with deep purple leaves, yellow flowers in spring, red fruit in fall and thorns.
Remove spent flower stalks to prevent unwanted seedlings.
Plant in full sun to light shade; foliage color better in full sun.
Prune back after first frost; divide and fertilize in spring.
Plant in fertile, moist but well-drained soil; drought tolerant once established.
Height: 3-4 feet/ Width: 3-4 feet
Hardy in zones 4-8:
Zone 4: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch heavily after first hard frost to prevent winter heaving; protect from salt; pull mulch back in spring.
Zone 5: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch heavily after first hard frost to prevent winter heaving; protect from salt.
Zone 6: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch in fall.
Zone 7: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch in fall.
Zone 8: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch in fall.

Elijah Blue Fescue (Festuca cinerea 'Elijah Blue')

This ornamental grass has blue-gray foliage and blue-green flowers.

Evergreen ornamental grass with blue-gray foliage and blue-green flowers.
Plant in full sun for best color.
Plant in moist to dry, well-drained soil.
Height: 8-12 inches/ Width: 8-12 inches
Hardy in zones 4-7 (8):
Zone 4: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch after first hard frost to avoid winter heaving; avoid exposure to salt; may require extra protection if container grown.
Zone 5: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch after first hard frost to avoid winter heaving; avoid exposure to salt.
Zone 6: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch in fall.
Zone 7: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun; mulch in fall; may lose bright color in hot weather.
Zone 8: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun; mulch in fall; may lose bright color in hot weather.

Thornless Common Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis 'Suncole')

This deciduous tree prefers full sun.

Deciduous, irregular tree with fern-like golden compound leaves and tufts of white flowers in spring.
Plant in full sun.
Tolerant of a wide range of well-drained soils.
Height: 40-45 feet/ Width: 40-45 feet
Hardy in zones 3(4)-9:
Zone 3: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch after first frost to prevent winter heaving; avoid exposure to salt; may be marginally hardy in this zone.
Zone 4: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch after first frost to prevent winter heaving; avoid exposure to salt.
Zone 5: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch after first frost to prevent winter heaving; avoid exposure to salt.
Zone 6: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch in fall.
Zone 7: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch in fall.
Zone 8: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full; mulch in fall.
Zone 9: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full; mulch in fall.

Grey Owl Juniper (Juniperus virginiana 'Grey Owl')

The foliage on this conifer turns purple in winter.

Broad, slow-growing, spreading evergreen conifer with gray-green foliage that turns purple in winter.
Plant in full sun to light shade.
Fertilize in early spring; prune if needed in late winter.
Plant in average, moist but very well-drained soil.
Height: 2-3 feet/ Width: 4-6 feet
Hardy in zones 2-9:
Zone 3: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch heavily after first hard frost to prevent winter heaving; protect from salt; pull mulch back in spring.
Zone 3: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch heavily after first hard frost to prevent winter heaving; protect from salt; pull mulch back in spring.
Zone 4: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch heavily after first hard frost to prevent winter heaving; protect from salt; pull mulch back in spring.
Zone 5: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch heavily after first hard frost to prevent winter heaving; protect from salt.
Zone 6: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch in fall.
Zone 7: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch in fall.
Zone 8: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch in fall.
Zone 9: Plant in early fall; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch in fall.

Rose Glow Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii 'Rose Glow')

Once it is established, this shrub is drought tolerant.

Mounding, deciduous shrub with red leaves flecked with white, yellow flowers and thorns.
Remove spent flower stalks to prevent unwanted seedlings.
Plant in full sun to light shade; foliage color better in full sun.
Prune back after first frost; divide and fertilize in spring.
Plant in fertile, moist but well-drained soil; drought tolerant once established.
Height: 3-5 feet/ Width: 3-4 feet
Hardy in zones 4-8:
Zone 4: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch heavily after first hard frost to prevent winter heaving; protect from salt; pull mulch back in spring.
Zone 5: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch heavily after first hard frost to prevent winter heaving; protect from salt.
Zone 6: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch in fall.
Zone 7: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch in fall.
Zone 8: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to light shade; mulch in fall.

Avalanche Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Avalanche')

This perennial grass sprouts pink flowers in summer.

Perennial grass with variegated green/white foliage and pink flowers in summer that fade to brown in winter.
Plant in full sun.
Plant in well-drained soil; prune back to the ground in late winter.
Height: 2-3 feet (foliage) 4-5 feet (flower stalks)/ Width: 2-3 feet
Hardy in USDA zones 5-9:
Zone 5: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; mulch after first frost; avoid exposure to salt; water during dry spells.
Zone 6: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to light; mulch after first frost; water during dry spells.
Zone 7: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to light; mulch after first frost; water during dry spells.
Zone 8: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to light; mulch after first frost; water during dry spells; may struggle in warmer areas of this zone.
Zone 9: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to light; mulch after first frost; water during dry spells.

Bloody Cranesbill (Geranium sanguineum var. striatum)

Pink flowers adorn the cranesbill hardy geranium in summer.

Hardy perennial grown for its palmate foliage and pale pink cup-like flowers in summer.
Plant in rich, moist, but well-drained soil.
Plant in full sun to partial shade.
Divide in spring as needed.
Height: 6-10 inches/ Width: 12-14 inches
Hardy in USDA zones 4-8:
Zone 4: Plant in spring to prevent winter heaving; plant in full sun; apply extra mulch after first hard frost; avoid contact with salt.
Zone 5: Plant in spring to prevent winter heaving; plant in full sun to light shade; apply extra mulch after first hard frost; avoid contact with salt.
Zone 6: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to light shade; apply extra mulch after first hard frost.
Zone 7: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to partial shade; apply extra mulch after first hard frost.
Zone 8: Plant in spring; plant in full sun to partial shade.

Firewitch Dianthus (Dianthus gratianopolitanus 'Firewitch')

The flowers on this groundcover resemble small carnations.

Dianthus gratianopolitanus 'Firewitch'
Mounding evergreen perennial grown as a groundcover with silver foliage and pink flowers that resemble small carnations.
Plant in moist, but well-drained soil.
Plant in full sun.
Shear back after flowering to promote re-blooming.
Height: 6 inches/ Width: 10-12 inches
Hardy in USDA zones 4-8:
Zone 4: Plant in spring to prevent winter heaving; plant in full sun; apply extra mulch after first hard frost; avoid contact with salt.
Zone 5: Plant in spring to prevent winter heaving; plant in full sun; apply extra mulch after first hard frost; avoid contact with salt.
Zone 6: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; apply extra mulch after first hard frost.
Zone 7: Plant in spring; plant in full sun; apply extra mulch after first hard frost.
Zone 8: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun.

Endless Summer Hydrangea (Hydrangea Macrophylla 'Endless Summer' )

It is best to plant hydrangeas where deer cannot reach them.

Gardener's Note: Deer LOVE hydrangeas. Be sure to plant them where deer cannot get to them, such as in containers on an elevated deck.
Deciduous shrub with lime green flowers that change to pink during summer.
Tolerant of most soil conditions with moderate moisture.
Plant in full sun to light shade; prune while dormant in winter.
Height: 8-10 feet/ Width: 8-10 feet
Hardy in USDA zones 4-9:
Zone 4: Plant in spring; apply additional mulch after first hard frost; plant in full sun to light shade; avoid contact with salt; water regularly in dry spells during growing season.
Zone 5: Plant in spring; apply additional mulch after first hard frost; plant in full sun to light shade; avoid contact with salt; water regularly in dry spells during growing season.
Zone 6: Plant in spring; apply additional mulch after first hard frost; plant in full sun to light shade; avoid contact with salt; water regularly in dry spells during growing season.
Zone 7: Plant in spring or early fall; apply additional mulch in fall; plant in full sun to light shade; water regularly in dry spells during growing season.
Zone 8: Plant in early fall; apply additional mulch in fall; plant in full sun to light shade; water regularly in dry spells during growing season.
Zone 9: Plant in early fall; apply additional mulch in fall; plant in full sun to light shade; water regularly in dry spells during growing season.

Bowles Golden Sedge (Carex elata 'Aurea' )

This perennial will produce better color when planted in partial sun.

Evergreen clumping perennial with grass-like variegated foliage of yellow and green.
Prune to 3-4 inches before new growth appears; divide every few years.
Plant in full sun to full shade; color is better in partial sun.
Plant in rich, moist soil; tolerates damp soil.
Height 28 inches/ Width: 18 inches
Hardy in USDA zones 5-8:
Zone 5: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch in fall.
Zone 6: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in full sun to partial shade; mulch in fall.
Zone 7: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in partial to full shade; mulch in fall.
Zone 8: Plant in spring or early fall; plant in partial to full shade; mulch in fall.