Low-Maintenance Perennials for the Pacific Northwest

Lupine Lupinus
Lupine.

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

01 of 09
Bugbane (Actaea simplex 'Brunette', syn. Cimicifuga)

If you're like us, you want great-looking, low-maintenance plants. That may not be as tough to accomplish as you think. Pick the right plants, and you'll enjoy a colorful, almost carefree yard. We've pulled together some of the perennials that are the easiest to grow in the Pacific Northwest, and sure to give you the best-looking garden in your neighborhood.

02 of 09

Shasta Daisy

Leucanthemum 'Freak'

Shasta daisy's simple, cheery flowers, with a sunny yellow center surrounded by crisp white petals, are perfect for creating 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

03 of 09

Dahlia

pink dahlia

There are thousands of dahlias suitable for a low-maintenance garden, and almost every variety offers a different color or petal shape. From glowing yellows to rich burgundies, little buttons to flowers bigger than your head, they come in endless 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

04 of 09

Sword Fern

Sword fern

Ferns are a staple of shade gardens. Sword fern is an especially great pick. Its arching, deep green fronds add fantastic texture to a low-maintenance garden. And it's evergreen, so you can enjoy the 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

05 of 09

Solomon's Seal

Variegated fragrant 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 when it comes to 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, including ferns and hostas.

Zones: 3-8

06 of 09

Primrose

Oenothera

Grow a variety of primroses in your garden and you'll always know what time it is. Different selections open their beautiful trumpet-shaped 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 summer-long bloomer, such as perennial geranium 'Rozanne.'

Zones: 3-8

07 of 09

Wild Ginger

Wild Ginger

The springtime flowers of wild ginger hide behind carpets of kidney-shaped, 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 an aroma of ginger. Do not, however, use this as a ginger substitute, since it's a carcinogen that can also cause kidney problems.

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

08 of 09

Cardinal Flower

Cardinal Flower

Cardinal flower, a lobelia, 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 colored petunias to your garden.

Zones: 2-8

09 of 09

Lupine

Lupine Lupinus
Lupine.

Lupines are great for adding an architectural look to the garden via 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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