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I love my garden – but I hate to garden. So I need truly fool proof plants. After much trial and error, these are my top 5 picks. Super easy care with great looks, I guarantee you’ll have no trouble with these. Just a note – the bloom times are based on my northeast zone 5 location, so they may be different in other zones.
Start things off right by picking a good plant. Look for healthy, green leaves, new growth pick wider over taller. And if you can swing it, get the larger size potted versions. I’ve used smaller plants, but have a better success rate with the quart sized plants.
A big, airy, beautiful plant, Russian Sage likes full sun and a lot of room. It starts to bloom in late spring and continues until cold weather knocks it out. I does spread but the shoots are easy to keep under control. I leave the plant “as is” for winter interest and then cut it to the ground in early spring. Grows in zones 4 – 9.
Once established and even with the deer chomping away on them, they rarely die off and will last for years even if you don’t ever divide them. To keep the deer away, I use Deer Scram which works if I remember to sprinkle it regularly. Normally considered shade plants (especially in zones 8 and 9), they also do well in sun. Bloom times differ with the variety, but most are early/mid-summer bloomers. The rest of the year, enjoy the beautiful and lush leaves. You’ll find varieties for zones 3 – 9.
Give this bushy perennial a sunny spot and watch it grow. And as its name suggests, it does attract butterflies – and birds. You can find it in blue/purple, red/rose or white varieties – just keep in mind it “holds” the blooms which turn brownish. On the white variety, which I have, it can look messy. But no way will I get rid of this persistently beautiful plant. Cut down to the ground in late fall or early spring. Hardy in zones 5 – 10.
Fragrant and easy care, you can buy short, tall, compact or spreading varieties. I often forget to cut these down but they still come up year after year. Keep them tidy, though, by razing the woody stems to a few inches late in fall or early spring. Since bees love lavender, keep this away from areas where kids play or people regularly gather. Grows quite large in zones 8 – 11 but there are plenty of cold zone (4-7) varieties.
In sun or partial shade, this low grower spreads all over the place – great if you want a colorful ground cover when in bloom or to just enjoy the interesting leaf shape. It’s also easy to pull out if you want to remove it or it starts to climb up a nearby plant. Comes in a variety of rose, pink, purple and white shades and grows well in zones 4 – 9.