Busy gardeners, whether new or experienced, benefit from easy-growing ornamental perennials. In her book "50 High-Impact, Low-Care Garden Plants," Tracy DiSabato-Aust says that gardeners can create living art with plants. She recommends perennials that are high-impact and low-maintenance, including non-invasive, drought tolerant and disease resistant varieties. Perennials that are easy to grow are sturdy varieties that need minimal attention to stay healthy: no heavy feeding, no quick multiplying and no delicate traits.
Perennial ornamental grasses are unusual, attractive plants that have impressive growth habits. Many grow in fountain shapes and some grow in stiff upright positions. Some varieties of ornamental grasses are fast-growing and invasive and require containment in the garden to keep them from growing over surrounding plants. Miscanthus, commonly called maiden grass or Chinese silver grass, has many cultivars, but Cosmopolitan miscanthus is a very showy, large grass that grows easily with little attention. It grows 8 to 12 feet high, green with white stripes and copper seed heads, and tolerates dry conditions. Rehbraun switchgrass is a low-growing ornamental grass with reddish stems and leaves. It grows best in full sun with regular watering. Skyracer tall purple moor grass is a tall ornamental grass that grows up to 3 feet high with an arching growth habit and fluffy purple seedheads.
Hostas are charming foliage shade plants grown for their beautiful leaves and rounded mound form. Many grow and multiply fast and need frequent division, and all of them send up tall flower stalks and produce small trumpet-shaped flowers. Sum and Substance hosta is an eye-catching hosta with huge lime-green leaves and clumps growing up to 3 feet high. This variety of hosta is hardy, disease and insect resistant, visually impressive and non-invasive. It does best in bright, filtered light with regular watering. It will grow well in most locations that are not in full sun with little attention if planted and established before late autumn.
Vegetables and Herbs
Asparagus, globe artichoke and rhubarb, garlic and celeriac are just a few of many perennial vegetables and herbs to incorporate in garden and landscape projects. Although perennial vegetables and herbs need slightly more attention to produce good harvests, if the location is prepared well, they need only regular watering and top-dressing with rich compost a couple of times in the growing season. The tall, feathery foliage of asparagus and its meaty green edible stalks are not difficult to establish and maintain in a vegetable garden or flower bed. Mature globe artichokes produce many fat, delicious buds to cut and eat in the spring. Rhubarb's bright red stalks and large green leaves complement many landscape plants and flowers and are delicious in salads, pies and chutneys. Garlic and celeriac produce regular crops for use in your kitchen and to share with friends and family.
Daylilies are ornamental flowering plants that are available in a wide variety of sizes and colours, with single and double flowers. They grow from bulbs that multiply but aren't invasive or very fast growing. The leaves grow in an attractive fountain habit that are ornamental in the flower border or in mass plantings. Daylilies grow well in full sun with rich soil without much attention and also make nice cutting flowers.
- "Bloom's Best Perennials and Grasses: Expert Plant Choices and Dramatic Combinations for Year-Round Gardens"; Adrian Bloom; 2010
- "50 High-Impact, Low-Care Garden Plants"; Tracy DiSabato-Aust; 2009
- "Perennial Vegetables: From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro, A Gardener's Guide to Over 100 Delicious and Easy to Grow Edibles"; Eric Toensmeier; 2007
- "Encyclopedia of Perennials"; Graham Rice and Kurt Bluemel; 2006
- "Perennial All-Stars: The 150 Best Perennials for Great-Looking, Trouble-Free Gardens"; Jeff Cox; 2002
- "10 Easy-Care Perennials"; Marcella Shaffer; 2001