Low-Maintenance Perennials for the Pacific Northwest

Lupine Lupinus
Add these old-fashioned, low-maintenance perennials to your yard; they're among the easiest you can grow.

If you're like us, you want great-looking, low-maintenance plants. It may not be as tough to get as you think. Pick the right plants to enjoy a colorful, almost carefree yard. We've pulled together some of the easiest-to-grow perennials for the Pacific Northwest. Grow them to have the best-looking yard in your neighborhood.

Shasta Daisy

Shasta daisy's simple cheery flowers, with a sunny yellow center surrounded by crisp white petals, are perfect for creating a ton of garden charm. We love this flower because it's more than just pretty; it's a great cut flower and it attracts butterflies all summer long.

Plant Name: Leucanthemum x superbum

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

Size: To 3 feet tall and 1 foot wide

Grow It With: Try the small-size blooms and leaves of the silvery gray and lavender Russian sage.

Zones: 5-8


There are thousands of dahlias for a low-maintenance garden, and almost every variety offers a different color or texture. From glowing yellows to rich burgundies, little buttons to flowers bigger than your head, they come in tons of varieties. Don't be overwhelmed though—they're all beautiful and charming. Any dahlia you pick is sure to be a perfect choice.

Plant Name: Dahlia selections

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

Size: To 6 feet tall and 2 feet wide

Grow It With: Create an interesting contrast in your low-maintenance landscaping with spiky, upright liatris.

Zones: 5-8

Sword Fern

Ferns are a shade-garden staple. Sword fern is an especially great pick because its arching, deep green fronds add fantastic texture to a low-maintenance garden. And it's evergreen, so you can enjoy its rich color all year long.

Plant Name: Polystichum munitum

Growing Conditions: Fertile, rich, well-drained soil; deep or partial shade

Size: To 3 feet tall and wide

Grow It With: Use variegated hostas for contrast in color and leaf shape.

Zones: 3-8

Solomon's Seal

Soloman's seal may look delicate with its graceful arching form and dangling summertime bell-shape flowers, but these plants are actually tough-as-nails plants for the shade. This garden plant slowly forms large colonies, so it's perfect for sharing with gardening friends—or for replacing shaded areas of the lawn where grass struggles to survive.

Plant Name: Polygonatum odoratum

Growing Conditions: Shade and moist, well-drained soil

Size: To 3 feet tall and 1 foot wide

Grow It With: Pair this woodland plant with standards such as ferns and hostas.

Zones: 3-8


Grow a variety of primroses in your garden and you'll always know what time it is; different selections open their beautiful trumpet-shape white, pink, or yellow flowers at various points during the day. We're especially fond of the evening primroses, whose flowers practically glow in moonlight.

Plant Name: Oenothera selections

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 3 feet tall and wide

Grow It With: Pair with another summerlong bloomer, such as 'Rozanne' perennial geranium.

Zones: 3-8

Wild Ginger

The springtime flowers of wild ginger hide behind carpets of kidney-shape, dark green leaves, but it's the shiny, evergreen foliage that takes center stage. Wondering where the common name of wild ginger comes from? Brush your hand near the roots of this low-maintenance garden plant and you'll come away with a smell of ginger.

Plant Name: Asarum europaeum

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

Size: To 12 inches tall and wide

Grow It With: Add fullness with the bushy growth and color of toad lily.

Zones: 4-8

Cardinal Flower

Cardinal flower bears some of the brightest red flowers we've ever seen. These easy-to-grow perennials set spikes in late summer and simply scream for attention. Chances are you won't be the first in your yard to notice, though. This plant is a hummingbird favorite and they'll be all over it by the time the first bloom opens.

Plant Name: Lobelia cardinalis

Growing Conditions: Sun or shade and moist soil

Size: To 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide

Grow It With: Add low-growing waves of contrasting coloed petunias to your garden.

Zones: 2-8


Lupines are great for adding an architectural look to the garden with their upright spires of flowers. Some are small, some are tall, but all are showy. They come in a wide range of colors, too—shades of blue and purple to pink, red, orange, yellow, and white—so you're sure to find the perfect one for your yard.

Plant Name: Lupinus spp.

Growing Conditions: Moderately fertile, light, slightly acidic soil and full sun or partial shade

Size: To 3 feet tall and 1 foot wide

Grow It With: Try a complete opposite like the snowball shapes of viburnum.

Zones: 5-8

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