23 Low Maintenance Perennial Flowers For Full Sun Or Shady Garden Spaces

Low-maintenance perennial flowers allow gardeners to create a stunning garden that will come back year after year without much work.

Perennials that don’t require much pruning, weeding, or excessive watering have been the go-to plants for professional landscape architects for many years.

Busy homeowners will also benefit from planting perennial plant species since they will bloom every season without the need for planting bulbs or repotting, creating a beautiful and finished look for your property with minimal effort. 

If you want to create a stunning landscape with as little stress as possible, the following hardy and beautiful flowering perennial species are a great choice to add to your garden.  

Whether you’re looking for a brightly colored sun-loving perennials to add some life to your garden or a plant for places that get a lot of shade, these low maintenance perennial flowers are sure to please.

Low Maintenance Perennial Flowers For Full Sun

Many plant species thrive in full sun with minimal effort, but to ensure that their soil remains moist and their blooms plentiful, do a quick watering once or twice a week.

Here are our favorites’ low maintenance flowering perennials that thrive in Sun.

1: Coneflower – Echinacea spp.

A favorite for naturalists and gardeners alike, coneflower species are a great low-maintenance perennial for any garden.

They are also beautiful additions to pollinator gardens because they attract butterflies and bees while also providing seeds for migratory birds.

Several species of coneflower are native to North America, but the variety most often planted in landscape gardens is the purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea. 

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 – 8 
  • Mature Height: 2 – 4 feet
  • Soil Type: Loam
  • Soil Moisture: Dry – Medium, Well-drained
  • Light Requirements:  Full sun
  • Flower color: Red, orange, yellow, purple, or pink
  • Special note: Echinacea has been used medicinally for centuries.

2: Yarrow – Achillea spp.

These sun-loving species are drought tolerant and will survive a dry summer or lack watering, making them great for low-maintenance gardens. 

Yarrow blooms during the summer months from June to September and comes in various colors, including white, yellow, and pink.

Its small stature and low maintenance requirements make it an excellent choice for ground cover, borders, open meadows, and pollinator gardens. 

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 – 9 
  • Mature Height: 1 – 3 feet
  • Soil Type: Sandy loam
  • Soil Moisture: Dry, Well-drained
  • Light Requirements: Full sun 
  • Flower color: White, yellow, pink, or red
  • Special note: Yarrow has been used medicinally for centuries to treat ailments such as sunburns and anxiety.

3: False Indigo – Amorpha fruticosa

a couple of false indigo flowers
@we_be_blooming

This beautiful and hardy perennial species is very long-lived and low maintenance if planted in an area with full sun and well-drained soil.

Their beautiful greyish-blue leaves have long been sought after by professional gardeners, and their 2 – 4 foot flower spikes boast white, blue, purple, or yellow pea-like flowers.

Although making them difficult to transplant, their long tap root makes False Indigo a very drought-tolerant species. 

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 – 9
  • Mature Height: 2 – 4 feet
  • Soil Type: Loam
  • Soil Moisture: Dry, Well-drained
  • Light Requirements: Full sun
  • Flower color: White, blue, purple, or yellow
  • Special Note: Use these shrubby perennials to create shape and form in mixed gardens in full sun.

4: Coreopsis – Coreopsis spp. 

Coreopsis
@mark_schrader8

Several species of Coreopsis do very well in rocky and poor soils, making them a perfect choice in areas where little else will grow.

Differing mostly in their foliage, these species have beautiful daisy-like blooms during the summer and fall that come back every season with minimal effort.

The most commonly planted is the yellow variety, but their flowers also come in shades of pink and white. 

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 – 9
  • Mature Height: 1 – 3 feet
  • Soil Type: Sandy loam is preferred but tolerated many soil types
  • Soil Moisture: Dry – Med, Well-drained
  • Light Requirements: Full sun
  • Flower color: Yellow, pink, or white
  • Special note: Pink Coreopsis, Coreopsis rosea, is a variation that is native to North America.

5: Sage – Salvia officinalis

A wonderfully aromatic herb, this species can serve as a beautiful addition to your flower garden and your dinner plate.

Sage is one of the most popular herbs in savory dishes like thanksgiving stuffing, and it always tastes best when it comes from your garden!

Once established, sage will show its gorgeous purple blooms year after year with little to no maintenance. 

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 – 7
  • Mature Height: 1 – 2 feet 
  • Soil Type: Sandy loam
  • Soil Moisture: Dry – Medium, Well-drained
  • Light Requirements: Full sun
  • Flower color: Violet-purple
  • Special note: Other sage species, including woodland sage, Salvia nemorosa, and pineapple sage, Salvia elegans, are also great low-maintenance species to plant in your garden.

6: Thyme – Thymus spp. 

Another wonderful culinary species that also looks great as a flowering garden plant, thyme is quick growing, easy to maintain, and very fragrant.

There are several varieties, including common thyme, Thymus vulgaris, which is the most common species planted for culinary and medicinal purposes. The gorgeous purple flowers are tiny but are known to pack a powerful punch of fragrance. 

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5 – 9
  • Mature Height: ½ – 1 foot
  • Soil Type: Sandy loam
  • Soil Moisture: Dry – Medium, Well-drained 
  • Light Requirements: Full sun
  • Flower color: Pale purple or blue
  • Special note: Thyme is less hardy in colder climates. So, if they struggle, try planting them in containers you bring inside and place them in the sunny south-facing windows during the winter months.

7: Blazing Star – Liatris spicata

a small group of Blazing Star flowers
@australiassweetpeaspecialists

This bold exotic looking species will be a centerpiece in your garden with its vibrant purple feathery flower heads that rise on a spike above its stunning green foliage.

If planted in full sun and kept watered, this plant will continue to flower every season. Blazing star blooms from the top down, creating a spectacular show if you are lucky enough to witness it. 

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 – 9 
  • Mature Height: 2 – 4 feet
  • Soil Type: Sandy loam
  • Soil Moisture: Moist, Well-drained
  • Light Requirements: Full sun
  • Flower color: Purple
  • Special note: This species is native to Eastern North America, and it is also known as Colic Root, stemming from Native Americas historically using it to cure indigestion.

8: Lavender – Lavandula spp. 

a field of lavender

An absolute favorite for those who enjoy the wonderful aromas of lavender flowing through the air, this species boasts beautiful purple blooms yearly with almost no maintenance.

If they are grown in well-drained soil and full sun, lavender plants are long-lived and winter-hardy.

Cut flowers are used fresh in fragrant bouquets and dried for medicinal, culinary, and ornamental purposes. 

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5 – 9
  • Mature Height: 1 – 2 feet
  • Soil Type: Sandy Loam
  • Soil Moisture: Dry – Medium, Well-drained
  • Light Requirements: Full sun
  • Flower color: Purple
  • Special note: Lavender stems from the Lavandula angustifolia variety are often found in extravagant drinks or used as flavorful skewers for kabobs.

Perennials For Partially Shady Garden Spaces

Many species can tolerate a range of light conditions. These types of species make it easier for gardeners with multiple sunlight conditions in their yard create a cohesive look with a minimal amount of effort. 

Here are 7 low-maintenance perennials to spruce up your not-so-sunny landscape.

1: Black-Eyed Susans – Rudbeckia hirta 

a field of black eyed susans
@mountainstoseaphotos

This beautiful and easy to maintain species blooms flowers that resemble tiny sunflowers that will bring a cheerful glow to any garden. Black-Eyed Susans are a favorite of pollinators so plant them where you can see their visitors.

This species is incredibly drought tolerant and winter hardy, but flowers the best when grown in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun.

It is often one of the first wildflower species to colonize a newly disturbed area. They easily reseed, so thinning will be necessary every few seasons. 

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 – 7
  • Mature Height: 2 – 3 feet
  • Soil Type: Clay – Sandy Loam
  • Soil Moisture: Medium, Well-drained
  • Light Requirements: Full sun – Part shade
  • Flower color: Yellow
  • Special note: When thinning is required, do it during bloom to create stunning bouquets, or transplant and give the gift of a low-maintenance species to a friend!

2: Blue Aster – Symphyotrichum laeve

low maintenance flowers
@_leemoknows

There are many different species in the Asteraceae family, many of which are native to North America. They boast intricate blooms in a variety of colors that is sure to light up any garden.

This variety has a gorgeous blue/purple hue with a striking yellow center that will bring color to even the darkest of garden nooks.

They are very low-maintenance, hardy, and tolerant of drought. This species will slowly escape from your gardens, so some minor thinning will be required every few seasons. 

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 – 8 
  • Mature Height: 3 – 4 feet
  • Soil Type: Loam
  • Soil Moisture: Medium moisture level, Well-drained
  • Light Requirements: Full sun – Part shade
  • Flower color: Blue 
  • Special note: Arranging different species of Asters according to height and color variations will create a stunning array of blooms throughout the season and makes a wonderful pollinator garden.

3: Daylilies – Hemerocallis spp.

Daylilies
@hcb1908

A well-known favorite of avid gardeners, daylilies come in various colors that boast numerous flower stalks and clusters of sword-like vegetation.

Individual flowers only last for a few days, but each plant will continue to bloom for several weeks, with some varieties having a second bloom in the fall. If planted in a proper location, daylilies are long-lived and will bloom for years. 

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 – 9 
  • Mature Height: ½ – 5 feet 
  • Soil Type: Loam
  • Soil Moisture: Moist, Well-drained 
  • Light Requirements: Full sun – Part shade 
  • Flower color: Variations of red, orange, pink, cream, yellow, or purple 
  • Special note: Daylilies are a favorite treat of deer, so be aware if your live in an area with a high deer population.

4: Iris – Iris spp. 

There are many different Iris varieties, many of which do very well in partial shade. Iris plants create a dense patch of vibrant vegetation with striking, usually multicolored, flowers that pose on a tall stem. The Dwarf crested iris, Iris cristata, is native to the eastern US and a great choice for ground cover in shady locations. 

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 – 9 
  • Mature Height: 1 – 3 feet
  • Soil Type: Sandy loam, Rich in Organic Matter
  • Soil Moisture: Moist, Well-drained
  • Light Requirements: Full sun – Part shade
  • Flower color: All color varieties
  • Special note: Iris plants can be susceptible to snails, aphids, and other garden pests, which could cause permanent damage to the plant. Periodically spraying with an all-natural essential oil mix, such as those with lemongrass extract, will help prevent these pests from colonizing.

5: Catmint – Nepeta spp.

This species is a relative of catnip and lavender. Catmint blooms beautiful stalks of violet flowers from May to September.

Like most mint plants, catmint prefers cool and moist soil. So those in southern states will want to plant this species in an area with partial shade, while northern gardeners can get away with planting catmint in full sun.

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 – 8 
  • Mature Height: 1 – 3 feet 
  • Soil Type: Sandy Loam preferred but will grow in rocky or clay soil
  • Soil Moisture: Medium, Well-drained 
  • Light Requirements: Full sun – Part shade
  • Flower color: Violet 
  • Special note: To encourage a stronger, fuller shrub and repeated blooms, prune catmint after the first flower of the season.

6: Primrose – Primula spp.

@rebornherbalist

Primroses include a large group of low-growing hardy plants that boast clusters of long-lasting flowers that are one of the first to bloom in the spring.

They are a favorite of ornamental gardeners due to their basal leaves creating an entire appearance and varied flower colors creating a stunning floral design.

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5 – 7
  • Mature Height: 1 – 2 feet
  • Soil Type: Sandy loam
  • Soil Moisture: Medium, Well-drained
  • Light Requirements: Full sun – Part shade
  • Flower color: Yellow, red, purple, or blue
  • Special note: Despite the common name, the well-known medicinal Evening Primrose, Oenothera biennis, actually belongs to a different family of plants. It is native to North America, blooms at night, and would make a great native alternative to ornamental primrose.

7: Spiderwort – Tradescantia spp. 

@blumlich

Spiderwort plants are a beautiful species to plant in a shady garden because of their long-lasting, continuous, and elegant blooms, clumping vegetation, and easy-to-care-for traits.

This species can tolerate high soil moisture levels, so plant them near water features or in rain gardens. Deadheading the flowers encourages thicker blooms but is not necessary for continuous flowering. 

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 – 9
  • Mature Height: 1 – 3 feet
  • Soil Type: Loam
  • Soil Moisture: Moist, Well-drained
  • Light Requirements: Full sun – Part shade
  • Flower color: Blue, Purple
  • Special note: There are many spiderwort species native to North America, including common spiderwort, Tradescantia ohiensis, and Virginia spiderwort, Tradescantia Virginiana.

Low Maintenance Perennial Plants That Can Be Grown In Full shade

It can be difficult to keep most plants thriving in shaded gardens. Fortunately, the following shade-loving perennial species will thrive in areas with minimal sunlight, which makes them great choices to plant in shaded yards, along fence lines, or near your house. 

1: Hostas – Hosta spp.

Hosta species are a common addition to gardens because of their very low-maintenance, beautiful green foliage that adds color to dull areas all season long.

Their fragrant lily-like flowers bloom on top of a long spike and are very attractive to hummingbirds and pollinators. Be aware Hosta species are a favorite treat of deer, so plant them in a location near your house.

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 – 9 
  • Mature Height: 1 – 2.5 feet 
  • Soil Type: Loam, Rich in Organic Matter
  • Soil Moisture: Moist, Well-drained
  • Light Requirements: Part shade
  • Flower color: lavender or white
  • Special note: Exposure to morning sunlight will make the yellow color brighter in the variegated Hosta varieties.

2: Bleeding Heart – Dicentra spectabilis

@bellesgardenvue

An all-time favorite spring-blooming perennial, this gorgeous species has lush foliage with pink or white hearts that hang like gems amongst the leaves.

Truly an elegant plant, bleeding hearts do well showcased in hanging pots or planted in a nearby shaded garden. 

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 – 8
  • Mature Height: 2 feet
  • Soil Type: Loam, Rich in Organic Matter
  • Soil Moisture: Moist, well-drained
  • Light Requirements: Shade – Part shade
  • Flower color: Pink or white
  • Special note: Bleeding hearts bloom best when fertilized with compost before planting and during regrowth in the spring.

3: Astilbes – Astilbe spp. 

This shade-loving species has delicate flowers that start blooming in early summer. Their flowers resemble clusters of vibrant ferns that come in various colors including purple, red, and pink.

Most varieties will bloom all summer long without the need to remove the old stalks, giving you a beautiful flower-filled garden all season with minimal effort. 

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 – 8
  • Mature Height: 1 – 4 feet
  • Soil Type: Loam, Rich in Organic Matter
  • Soil Moisture: Moist, Well-drained
  • Light Requirements: Shade to Part Shade
  • Flower color: White, purple, pink, and red
  • Special note: If you see burning occurring in the foliage, then they are getting too much daily sun. Move them to the eastern side of your house for the best protection from the afternoon sun.

4: Ramps – Allium tricoccum

@snikle_cigar_box_guitars

Ramps are a springtime delicacy that many people search the woods for, but establishing your own population isn’t difficult and certainly worth the effort.

Find a shady woodland area with leaf litter that hosts other wildflowers and transplant a few individuals.

As the population grows, you may need to weed out any unwanted plants, but other than that, they will remain virtually maintenance-free!

Unless it is unseasonably dry, these herbaceous perennials native to Eastern North America won’t need to be watered or fertilized. 

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 – 7
  • Mature Height: 6 – 10 inches
  • Soil Type: Loam, Rich in Organic Matter
  • Soil Moisture: High Moisture
  • Light Requirements: Shade
  • Flower color: White
  • Special note: Wild foraging takes expertise; make sure you are certain of what you are picking before you consume or transplant it.

5: Lungwort – Pulmonaria saccharate

@christophhowell

This beautiful small herbaceous perennial blooms early in spring before most plants begin flowering.

The bell-shaped flowers begin pink and mature to a purplish blue, and the basal foliage is fuzzy and speckled; Lungwort grows low to the ground, so use it to fill gaps near borders, and eventually, it will spread and colonize shady bare spots. 

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 – 8
  • Mature Height: ½ – 1 foot
  • Soil Type: Sandy loam
  • Soil Moisture: Moist, Well-drained 
  • Light Requirements: Partial shade – Shade
  • Flower color: Pink, purple, and blue
  • Special note: Lungwort plants grow most successfully along garden walls, structures, or solid fences that provide shade without competing for soil moisture.

6: Ferns

@groworganicveg

There are so many different species of ferns to choose from, all with their own unique form and color variations.

Choose a variety native to your region because that species is accustomed to your climate and more likely to survive and not become invasive, which adds to your chore load.

Planting robust Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis) and low-growing Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum spp.) together create a nice filling effect in any shady garden area.

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 9 – 11
  • Mature Height: 1 – 3 feet
  • Soil Type: Loam, Rich in Organic Matter
  • Soil Moisture: High, Well-drained 
  • Light Requirements: Partial shade – Shade
  • Flower color: Yellow
  • Special note: There are over 10,560 different types of ferns, some living up to a century old!

7: Columbine – Aquilegia canadensis

This species, native to North America, thrives in shady areas with fertile soil, like woodland areas, making them the perfect plant to go in a shaded wildflower garden.

A favorite of pollinators and hummingbirds, these species easily spread to create low-maintenance colonies of beautiful low-lying plants. 

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 – 9
  • Mature Height: 2 – 3 feet
  • Soil Type: Sandy loam, Rich in Organic Matter
  • Soil Moisture: Moist, Well-drained
  • Light Requirements: Shade – Part shade
  • Flower color: Red and yellow
  • Special note: There are many varieties of columbines, many of which will readily hybridize, so try to stick with one variety, so they don’t cross-breed.

8: Wild Geranium – Geranium maculatum

These species native to North America are disease tolerant, virtually pest resistant, and bloom with virtually no maintenance if planted in a location suitable for wildflowers, including shaded woodlands and along north walls of buildings and fences.

Unless unseasonably dry, wild geraniums won’t need watering, and deadheading encourages new blooms but is unnecessary. 

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5 – 8
  • Mature Height: 1 – 2 feet
  • Soil Type: Sandy loam, Rich in Organic Matter
  • Soil Moisture: Moist, Well-drained
  • Light Requirements: Part shade – Shade
  • Flower color: Purple, white, and pink
  • Special note: Wild geraniums won’t need regular fertilizing, but if your soil has too much sand or clay, then the plant will begin to thin. Once a season, add compost or manure as a top dress to remedy this issue.

Conclusion

There are many low-maintenance perennials to choose from depending on the light availability and soil type in your yard, many of which will give you blooming flowers all season long.

Be aware that even though they are low maintenance, these hardy species can become competitive and escape from your garden beds, so many will need thinning every few seasons.

Also, be sure not to plant any invasive species near natural areas or consider choosing varieties native to your area.

We hope these low-maintenance perennials will help you to create a beautiful, finished look for your yard, pollinator garden, or professional landscaping projects. Happy planting!

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