10 of the Best Easy to grow flowering plants

Easy to grow, low maintenance plants have always been popular, and for many reasons. For some gardeners' time is just too precious to spend lots of it in the garden. Also, not everyone wants to spend hours toiling away, sometimes it is nice to sit, unwind after a hard day and enjoy the garden. Many of us have busy lives, children to look after, parents to care for, demanding jobs and careers to pursue. On this page The Sunday Gardener looks at plants which are genuinely easy to grow and need little or no maintenance.

Pick and mix from these plants for all year round colour and interest without hours of staking, pruning and feeding.

The plants on these pages are reliable, and will grow well anywhere in the country and in most conditions. They are fully hardy and low maintenance. 

Notice there are no climbing plants, even the easy ones such as passion flower, and winter flowering Jasmine need some maintenance and many climbing plants, such as Clematis are high maintenance.

This group flowers from spring through to late summer to provide colour throughout the spring and summer.

 I have omitted from this group any plants which require serious pruning, staking, feeding or are prone to disease and pests. 

I hope you enjoy this selection of easy plants leaving you with more time to enjoy the garden.

Green wheelbarrow means easy to grow

All the plants listed on this page are designated "Green Wheelbarrow" which means they are easy to grow, tolerant of most growing conditions and once planted need little attention.

                                                                                           More about the Sunday Gardener's Colour Coding

Allium purple sensation combined with Euphorbia palustris

Allium

Alliums are  bulb, and a great garden favourite; they will pop up each year with no fuss. There are spring and summer flowering Alliums, illustrated is a spring flowering bulb combined with Euphorbia which hides the less attractive base foliage of the Allium.

Alliums are easy to grow and flower in shades of purple, blue, yellow and white.

Summer flowering Alliums also  look good with grasses and Achillea, see below.

Spring flowering bulbs

spring bulbs

Spring bulbs are often amongst the first flowers of spring and except for Tulips, most spring bulbs once planted to the right depth, can be left alone to get on with the job of flowering each year. You can feed bulbs after flowering, but equally if you don't, they will still flower and many Narcissus have the bonus of being scented. There are many spring bulbs to choose from and all, save Tulips, return each year with no attention. Spring bulbs look good planted under shrubs which provides spring and summer colour.  Ideas for planting and growing spring flowering bulbs

Aquilegia 'Swan lavender combined with bright Euonymus and yellow scented Rhododendron luteum

Aquilegia 'Swan lavender' combinded with Euonymus and decidous Rhododendron luteum

Aquilegia is a lovely spring flower, easy to grow, and a wide range of colours to choose from. Aquilegia needs no attention to reappear each year. It is a perennial with dainty flowers. Aquilegia self seeds but it is not too invasive  (unlike alchemilla mollis which requires much work removing all the self seeders to qualify for a place on this page.) An easy to maintain combination is shown here, A. 'Swan Lavender', with bright gold foliage of an evergreen Euonymus, and a lovely yellow deciduous scented Rhododendron luteum. Information  on How to grow Aquilegia.

Stipa tenuissima

Stipa tenuissima

Many of the grasses are easy to grow and give a contemporary feel to the border.  An important point when selecting a grass to ensure it is easy to grow and maintenance free is to pick a fully hardy grass such as Deschampsia,   Stipa tenuissima,   Molinia caerulea,  Panicum virgatum, none of which are thugs and all are hardy. A little maintenance is required in cutting back in the spring, if the plant looks tatty

Allium, Achillea, and grasses.

allium grasses and Achillea

Alliums are easy to grow bulbs which return reliably each year and the late summer flowering Allium sphaerocephalon illustrated looks great teamed up with grasses and the equally easy to grow Achillea.

All of these plants do want a dry sunny spot but are otherwise maintenance free.

There are lots of Alliums to choose from, and many different coloured Achillea; one of the easiest grasses to grow is Stipa  tenuissima. 

 

Lavender

Lavender 'Hidcote'

Lavender is easy to grow and maintenance free provided you have a dry sunny spot and not heavy clay or wet soil. In the correct growing conditions, which are available in so many gardens,  Lavender will thrive with no attention and little maintenance. Lavender will benefit from a trim post flowering but that's all which is required. 

The Lavender illustrated is L.'Hidcote' which is the most hardy of all the Lavenders if your growing conditions are not ideal. Some Lavenders are quite sensitive to cold, more information with lots of images and ideas - growing Lavender.

Hardy Geranium, common name Cranesbill

Geranium

Widely grown by gardeners, the hardy geranium is a reliable summer flower plant attractive to bees and long flowering. Regular dead heading will prolong flowering but this can be time consuming and is not essential. 

To avoid the maintenance of dead heading you can just leave the plant to die back after flowering or sheer it down and it will re grow foliage, if not a late flush of flowers. There are many types of Geraniums to choose from and all are easy to grow. This type of Geranium vary in size, the largest around 60 cms ( 2 foot) to quite small creepers of just a few centimetres tall.

Astilbe

astilbe

Astilbe asks nothing of the gardener except to be planted in a spot on the shady side. Given these conditions, Astilbe is a herbaceous perennial which will return reliably every year and looks ideal with ferns in a shady corner. 

Astilbe's have lovely soft plumes of flower in reds, mauves, pinks and creamy white. Astilbe is easy to grow and definitely a green wheelbarrow plant.

Sedums

Sedum with Butterfly

Sedum is a breeze to grow and such a tidy plant. Older versions tended to flop outwards leaving the middle of the plant bare, but newer cultivars stand upright and are a butterfly and pollinator magnet. They are easy to grow and only need cutting down in the spring to make way for the new growth.  Popular varieties are in various shades of red, however there are also varieties with purple leaves and low growing types flowering white and yellow,  ideal for growing in crevices and pavings. 

Aubretia

Aubretia

 

Understated Aubretia is easy and makes an impressive show of colour trailing down a wall. Aubretia is a perennial which flowers reliable every April/May and requires no attention other than cutting back after flowering. If you neglect to do so, it will still perform although eventually you will have to take the sheers to it.

Tips on growing Aubretia

Updated 15.10.2019