Top 10 Low-Maintenance Outdoor Plants


These resilient plants will bring beauty any gardener can sustain!

Breathtaking outdoor flowers with vibrant colors and scents are a staple of landscaping beauty during the summer. They can give your home curb appeal and create a whimsical ambiance in your yard.

Yet, perhaps in the past, you have been unsure which hearty flowers to choose and have ended up with some that have required too much maintenance and weren’t well suited to our area. You tried, but your flowers either died or never reached their full potential.

What low-maintenance outdoor plants naturally thrive in our area and don’t require extensive horticulture skills to grow?

To answer this, we caught up Jonah Nelson of Family Tree Nursery, and he shared his top choices for resilient Midwest flowers. Additionally, RYAN’s Heather Markway explained best practices on incorporating these plant varieties into your low-maintenance landscaping plan.

Here are their suggestions:

1. Begonias. Dragon-wing begonias come in red and pink varieties, and Jonah says they are very vigorous and robust.   “You can put them anywhere, and I know you will be successful,” he says.

Jonah says they seem to be made for Kansas City and can even bloom into November.

RYAN Pro Tip. “Dragon-wing begonias are some of the toughest plants,” Heather says. “They are wonderful in containers and can even be used in the landscape border to add a punch of color through the entire summer.

2. Scaevola. Sometimes called fan flowers, they love the sun and heat and produce non-stop blooms. Additionally, they cascade if you used them in containers, or they work well as borders in a ground planting along a mulch bed.

3. Trailing Vinca. These flowers grow flat and low to the ground and grow like a carpet. They don’t stop blooming, have a great color palette and spread extensively.

RYAN Pro Tip. “Scaevola and trailing vinca can be used in containers as the ‘spiller’ component of a design,” Heather says. “They hang over the side and add dimension to the planting. They also work well planted in the ground at the front of a landscape bed. Both flowers thrive in summer’s heat.”

4. Caladium. These low-maintenance plants are incredible for shade tolerance and have great foliage to make a bed with mixed colors. Traditionally, they have been used as a shade container plant.

5. Allium Millenium.  Jonah says they work well in mass plantings, are very upright and organized, are drought and heat tolerant and are a heavy pollinator attractor.“They are like a firework of blooms,” Jonah says.

RYAN Pro Tip. Heather says she likes incorporating allium throughout landscape beds as a flowering landscape element in early to mid-summer. She says once planted they will come back year after year with little maintenance.

6. Salvia. These low-maintenance plants attract hummingbirds and butterflies. They come in various heights and color selections and attract pollinators all summer.

7. Golden Steer Coreopsis. These golden yellow flowers almost mimic a marigold. They are a compact grower, love the sun and attract butterflies.

8. Catmint. These plants have significant drought tolerance and will rebloom throughout the year. There are compact low-growing varieties and some that grow higher. Overall, catmint performs well all summer long.

RYAN Pro Tip. Heather says salvia, coreopsis, and catmint are great for full sun and bloom throughout the summer with little maintenance. They look best when placed at the front of a planting bed with larger shrubs or ornamental grasses behind them.

9. Hosta. “These are great shade plants as long as you can avoid the pests,” Jonah says. They are fairly drought tolerant and able to store water.

10. Echinacea or Coneflower.  Specifically, Jonah recommends the PowWow White and PowWow Wild Berry varieties and says they are almost like a blooming bouquet.“They have a lot of blooms all at once,” Jonah says.

RYAN Pro Tip. In general, echinacea has a variety of colors, and Heather says they work best in natural or native garden-style landscapes. Plant them in mass next to black-eyed Susan and ornamental grasses. Coneflower requires little watering maintenance once established.

With all these hearty varieties to choose from, you’ll be able to help your yard bloom this summer!

Need helping to plant your next outdoor bouquet, ornamental shrub or tree? Give RYAN a call today to schedule your next outdoor planting project.