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Best Easy-Care Perennials — Perfect for New Gardeners!

Best perennials for the low-maintenance garden

If you're a new gardener, you're in for a great adventure! But with so many perennials to choose from, it's hard to know which one is the best. Don't worry. Read on and you'll find 15 easy perennials like these heliopsis and phlox that are great choices for new gardeners.

1. Heliopsis Heliopsis helianthoides

Native to eastern and midwestern North America, heliopsis is an excellent perennial for new gardeners. It grows 1 to 6 feet tall. Yellow 2-in. Blooms last two weeks in summer and are abundant. There are many Heliopsis cultivars, all of which require the same growing conditions and care. Some are of different sizes, some have semi-double or double flowers, and a couple have variegated foliage. You can cut a handful without missing bouquets in the garden.

2. Garden phlox Phlox paniculata

Garden phlox is a longtime garden favorite and for good reason. Large clusters of flowers atop long or short stems depending on the cultivar. You won't miss out on summer color when you choose garden phlox. Plants bloom in white, pink, red, magenta, lavender or purple colors for 8 to 10 weeks.

3. Lamb's ear Stachys byzantina

Who can resist reaching out and touching the velvety leaves of a lamb's ear? Its low growing stature makes it one of the best perennials for edging a sunny border.

Lamb's ear prefers full sun and is very drought tolerant. Good drainage is key to healthy, long-lasting plants. Too much moisture from slow-draining soil or overhead irrigation can make it harder for the lower leaves to dry out, causing leaf rot. Lamb's ear sends up spikes of lavender flowers in spring. If foliage is your focus, go ahead and try the Deadhead or 'Big Ears' above. Apart from having larger leaves than the species, it does not produce flowers.

4. Purple coneflower Echinacea purpurea

You don't need a lawn to grow this native of the plains. Its easy maintenance requirements make it one of the best perennial border companions. Beautiful purple-pink flowers bloom in summer. Or if you buy one of the many hybrids – choose from a range of colors like red, white, orange yellow, green. Full sun will ensure you have lots of blooms, but some afternoon shade helps keep the blooms from fading. Watch out for aster yellows, which causes deformed leaves and flowers.

5. Tall sedum Hylotelephium spp. & hybrids

Tall sedum gets a lot of bang for your buck. With minimal effort you'll have a beautiful plant from spring to winter - perfect for new gardeners. It comes in a variety of sizes, foliage and flower colors, but they all have one thing in common – bees and butterflies love them! Most tall sedums have green foliage, but some are variegated and others like 'Chocolate Drop' have deep brown foliage.

6. Catmint Nepeta x faassenii

Clouds of long-blooming mint are very helpful. These mounting plants soften the hardscaping's sharp edges and hide the bare feet of taller plants behind them. Heat and drought tolerant, catnip is a hardy plant. Because of its fragrant foliage, it's one of the best perennials to grow if deer often mow down your plants. They don't like leaves with a vague, minty smell. While butterflies and hummingbirds love catmint flowers, so do bees, so you might not want it next to a path or path you walk frequently.

7. Hardy hibiscus Hibiscus moscheutos

Want a tropical feel with sub-zero winters? Try hardy hibiscus. Its attractive-looking flowers are pink, red, purple or white, up to 12 inches across. Although most have green foliage, Summerfic ® 'Summer Storm' above has deep purple leaves and 8- to 10-inch-wide pink flowers. Grow summer 'Summer Storm' in full sun to ensure purple leaves. In partial shade, the leaves turn green. Some at the base of the plant may even turn due to shading from above.