Low-Maintenance Perennials for the Midwest

Choose these perennials for a bold, beautiful, low-maintenance garden that fills your yard with color all summer long

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    Enjoy a beautiful, low-maintenance garden that's easy to keep up with. Pick the right plants, then sit back and enjoy a yard that's filled with color all season long. We've pulled together some of the best low-maintenance perennials for the Midwest. Use these old-fashioned favorites in your garden for the best-looking yard on your block.

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    Peony

    Peonies are ultra tough—and ultra beautiful. These easy-maintenance garden plants practically reward neglect with their gorgeous, showstopping early-summer blooms that bring fragrance and add stunning beauty to cut-flower arrangements. There are a number of peony selections to choose from.

    Plant Name: Paeonia officinalis

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 4 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 3-8

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    Growing Peonies

    Peonies are the queen of the garden, bursting with colorful blooms that look gorgeous in any space. See how to grow beautiful, fragrant peonies.

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    Hollyhock

    Though it's a biennial or short-lived perennial, hollyhock reseeds itself, so you can be sure you'll always have a crop of the colorful summertime spires in your low-maintenance landscape.

    Plant Name: Alcea rosea

    Growing Conditions: Full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 feet tall and 2 feet wide

    Grow It With: Peony, which blooms earlier in the season. Plus, the good-looking peony foliage will help hide the hollyhock's less-attractive leaves.

    Zones: 3-9

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    Artemisia

    Perennials with great-looking foliage are just as valuable as those with pretty blooms. Artemisia is a perfect example; this low-maintenace garden perennial offers silvery foliage that pairs well with flowers of every color.

    Plant Name: Artemisia selections

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide

    Grow It With: Delphinium, which creates a stunning contrast with its upright, spiky habit.

    Zones: 3-8

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    Hosta

    Hostas are the ultimate shade-garden plants because they're so tough. These perennials also offer a huge range of colors and sizes; look for varieties that grow from 6 inches to 6 feet wide, and with leaves in shades of green, gold, or blue.

    Plant Name: Hosta selections

    Growing Conditions: Shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 feet tall and wide, depending on type

    Grow It With: Ferns; their fine-texture foliage makes the perfect contrast to any hosta variety.

    Zones: 3-9

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    Daylily

    You can't get much easier to grow than a daylily. While old-fashioned ditch lilies are fast-spreading and practically indestructible, newer varieties of daylilies spread more slowly. Many bloom on and off throughout the summer, so you can enjoy their colorful flowers all season.

    Plant Name: Hemerocallis selections

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide

    Grow It With: Use a shrub, such as tough-as-nails ninebark, as a backdrop for daylilies.

    Zones: 3-10

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    Dividing Daylilies

    Dividing your plants is an easy way to keep them healthy and get more blooms out of what's growing in your garden already. Learn how and when to divide daylilies.

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    Perennial Hibiscus

    This has to be one of the boldest low-maintenace perennials in the garden. Perennial hibiscus offers flowers all summer long in shades of red, pink, and white. Individual blooms can be as much as 12 inches across and keep on coming all the way through fall.

    Plant Name: Hibiscus moscheutos

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and moist soil

    Size: To 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide

    Grow It With: Spiderwort, which blooms before the late-waking hibiscus starts to grow.

    Zones: 5-10

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    Yarrow

    There are a lot of reasons to love yarrow: It's heat- and drought-tolerant, it's usually ignored by hungry deer and rabbits, and it's a great cut flower. Plus, its summertime blooms appear in a rainbow of shades: yellow, white, pink, even terra-cotta.

    Plant Name: Achillea millefolium

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide

    Grow It With: Late-blooming sedum picks up after the yarrow stops blooming, so it's a great way to extend the season.

    Zones: 3-8

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    Purple Coneflower

    These perennials are as charming as they are tough. Plant purple coneflower in virtually any sunny spot, and it will bloom all summer and into fall. Plus, the coneflower's lavender, white, pink, yellow, orange, or green daisy-shape blooms look great in any design style, especially in country or cottage gardens.

    Plant Name: Echinacea purpurea

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 4 feet tall and wide

    Grow It With: Add contrasting color with yellow yarrow.

    Zones: 3-9

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    Asparagus

    Asparagus rewards you twice. In spring, enjoy its tasty and nutritious young stems. Then in summer, it leafs out to become a big, fine-texture plant that's a beautiful backdrop for any perennials you grow with it.

    Plant Name: Asparagus officinalis

    Growing Conditions: Full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 4 feet tall and wide

    Grow It With: Purple coneflower, which blooms constantly through the summer and into the fall.

    Zones: 4-8

  • Next Slideshow 15 Native Plants for the Midwestern Garden

    15 Native Plants for the Midwestern Garden

    Add low-maintenance beauty to your yard with these tough native plants.
    Begin Slideshow »
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