Low-Maintenance Perennials of the Mountain West

These garden plants are among the easiest you can grow, and they require almost no maintenance. They're perfect for beginners and seasoned gardeners alike.

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    Great-looking, low-maintenance landscaping doesn't have to be a lot of work. When you pick the right outdoor plants, you can enjoy a practically carefree yard that's filled with color from spring to fall. We've pulled together a group plants with easy maintenance for the Mountain West region. These perennials are old-fashioned favorites—in fact, you may see them continuing to thrive in yards where no one's cared for them in years. Grow them to have the best-looking yard in your neighborhood.

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    Rocky Mountain Columbine

    Late spring to midsummer means Rocky Mountain columbine time in the garden! These wildflowers add a graceful touch of blue to the landscape and require almost no maintenance. They are also a deer-resistent cut flower that is great for containers.

    Plant Name: Aquilegia caerulea

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

    Size: To 2 feet tall and wide

    Grow It With: Try the slender flowers of dainty shade lover lily-of-the-valley for a pretty pairing in your no-maintenance garden

    Zones: 4-7

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    Liatris

    The spikes of liatris tower above most other plants, but their vertical growth adds unique summer beauty for garden growth and cuttings. Also called blazing star, these plants are deer resistant, low maintenance, drought tolerant, and attract birds and butterflies to your garden.

    Plant Name: Liatris spicata

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide

    Grow It With: Butterflies and bees love liatris and coneflower; pair the two for a stunning combo

    Zones: 4-9

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    Purple Coneflower

    These low-maintenance perennials are as charming as they are tough; you can plant purple coneflower in virtually any sunny spot, and it'll bloom all summer and into the fall. Plus, purple coneflower's daisy-shape blooms look great in any design style, especially cottage gardens.

    Plant Name: Echinacea purpurea

    Growing Conditions: Rich soil, full sun, will tolerate some shade

    Size: To 4 feet tall and wide

    Grow It With: Add contrasting color with yellow yarrow

    Zones: 3-9

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    Sedum

    Sedums are super versatile plants: They offer a number of colors and textures. Almost all of them are tough garden plants that take heat and drought well. Try mixing them together; tall 'Matrona' looks great over a carpet of 'Dragon's Blood', for example. This combo's rich purple foliage will create oohs and aahs from garden guests all summer long.

    Plant Name: Sedum selections

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 2 feet tall and wide

    Grow It With: Use hens and chicks for foliage that adds even more texture

    Zones: 3-8

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    Russian Sage

    The leaves and blooms of Russian sage look delicate, but this vigorous grower adds fragrance and pretty late-summer to early-autumn blooms. We love the soft shades of silver and lavender in late summer from this plant when the garden is usually awash in shades of gold and red.

    Plant Name: Perovskia atriplicifolia

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 4 feet tall and wide

    Grow It With: Try the tiny pink flowers of a plant such as malva as contrast to the tall, loose sage flowers

    Zones: 5-9

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    Oxeye Daisy

    Add cheer and charm to your landscape with oxeye daisy. These fast-spreading plants bloom in late spring and early summer and are perfect for holding down a sunny slope or for cutting and using in a simple vase. This plant is also drought tolerant and attracts birds to your garden with almost no maintenance.

    Plant Name: Leucanthemum vulgare

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide

    Grow It With: Try a casual plant, such as meadow buttercup, for casual appeal in your garden

    Zones: 3-8

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    Fireweed

    Create drama and excitement in your landscape with fireweed's spikes of glowing pink flowers from midsummer to early fall. Give this perennial room to roam, though: It's a fast spreader. Because it grows fast, you'll have plenty of blooms to enjoy in the garden and to cut and use in the house.

    Plant Name: Epilobium angustifolium

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

    Size: To 5 feet tall and 1 foot wide

    Grow It With: Consider a shrubby plant such as burning bush for structure and contrast to add to your low-maintenance garden

    Zones: 3-7

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    Rocky Mountain Penstemon

    Every summer, these rugged, low-maintenance perennials bring on the butterflies and hummingbirds with their spires of purple-blue blooms that can continue to appear for more than a month. These slow spreaders eventually form impressive clumps—so it's extra-easy to divide and share Rocky Mountain penstemon with gardening friends.

    Plant Name: Penstemon strictus

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

    Size: To 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide

    Grow It With: Match with another vigorous grower, such as the sprawling flowers of poppy mallow

    Zones: 3-8

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    Dianthus

    There are hundreds of types of dianthus available, and while they vary in color, texture, and size, you can count on them all to offer great scents to your garden with little to no maintenance. Plant a handful of different varieties, and you can enjoy their charming flowers all spring and summer long!

    Plant Name: Dianthus chinensis

    Growing Conditions: Full sun, well-drained, neutral soil

    Size: To 2 feet tall and wide

    Grow It With: Give dianthus height with the spiky blooms of liatris

    Zones: 9-11

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    Poppy Mallow

    Hot, dry conditions don't bother poppy mallow. These perennials create a cushion of color all spring and into summer. The charming flowers look like miniature hibiscus in shades of glowing pink, purple, and white. They are a distinctive groundcover to grace those spots in the landscape where most outdoor plants fail.

    Plant Name: Callirhoe involucrata

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 1 foot tall and 2 feet wide

    Grow It With: Try the long, contrasting foliage and bloom shape of plants such as daylilies

    Zones: 4-6

  • Next Slideshow 15 Top Native Plants of the Mountain West

    15 Top Native Plants of the Mountain West

    Try these tough, low-maintenance plants for a beautiful, easy garden.
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