Don’t make gardening more difficult than it needs to be! Plant these low-maintenance flowers and shrubs if you’re new to gardening, have a brown thumb, or just want pretty plants without the work. The satisfaction a seasoned gardener enjoys is the result of patience, time, and experience: trial and error, taking some chances, watching things thrive—and sometimes watching them fail. But a beginning gardener needs a few sure things, plants that are easy to grow and maintain, and that will give them the confidence to move on to greater challenges.
1. Coral Bells
Once established, coral bells require very little maintenance and will return year after year with a mounding party of colorful foliage. The flowers come in reds, greens, yellows, oranges, purples, and even variegated varieties. The plant blooms with small spikes of flowers starting in June, but the leaves will make an impression from early spring through frost.
2. Nandina Domestica
Nandina domestica, commonly called “nandina,” is an easy-to-grow evergreen shrub that looks lush in a landscape. White flowers in spring give way in winter to brilliant red berries that make excellent cuttings for wreaths and holiday floral arrangements. Nandina will fill out and reseed itself, but this hardy beauty can be pruned without worry.
As far as annual flowers go, marigolds offer one of the best bangs for the buck. After you put them in the ground, you can leave them alone and they’ll bloom until fall. Hardy and forgiving, marigolds tolerate most any soil condition and will even rebound after being nicked by the lawnmower. The plants can reseed themselves, so depending on your location, you may find marigolds popping up next spring.
4. Canna Lily
For an impressive splash of summer color, canna lilies make a bold statement. Bright red, orange, or yellow blooms top lush foliage that reaches six feet, easily. These plants will multiply each year and are easy to divide and share with friends and family.
Rosemary is a perennial herb that remains evergreen in many climates. Its woody stems and fragrant leaves serve as a complement to many other plants common in landscape designs. Rosemary blooms in early spring and can be pruned all year to provide fresh herbs for your kitchen creations.
6. Meadow Sage
This deer-resistant perennial is easy to care for and rewards the beginning gardener with long-blooming deep purple flowers. It’s a favorite of hummingbirds and bees, and will become a favorite of yours, as it comes back year after year.