5 Easy Care Plants for Brown-thumbed Gardeners

Not everyone is a gardener or has time to spend hours a week maintaining a beautiful landscape, but once established, these foolproof plant selections will keep your yard in bloom all spring, summer and fall with little care.

Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum, Vinca (in container), and yellow Drift Rose

1. Drift Rose

The Drift Rose is related to the Knockout rose except its much shorter – usually 1’-2’ in height, and comes in a variety of colors from white to yellow, apricot, light pink, dark pink and red.

What I love about them: Drift roses bloom constantly from spring to the first frost in winter, and handles drought and full, hot sun conditions with ease.

Something to try: Mass plant these for a wave of color in your landscape.

2. Little Lime Limelight Hydrangea

A dwarf version of the popular Limelight Hydrangea, the ‘Little Lime’ variety blooms cone shaped flowers with a tinge of green, starting in June. Blooms fade to a rusty pink at the end of the bloom life. These flowering plants love full sun which makes them an extra special hydrangea variety.

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What I love about them: ‘Little Lime’ hydrangeas make a great cut flower for arrangements and stay small for places that the standard 8’ tall Limelight are too large.

Something to try: Cluster standard Limelight hydrangeas with ‘little lime’ to achieve height variation in your garden.

3. Vinca

My all-time favorite summer annual, vinca is the ultimate brown thumb gardeners plant. With colorful flowers ranging from white with magenta centers to lavender and hot pink, vinca blooms nonstop to bring color to any full sun spot in your yard.

What I love about them: Vinca is a huge bang for your buck at the nursery. For just a few dollars, you can brighten your garden for the entire season.

Something to try: Plant vinca around your mailbox – one of the toughest spots in your yard – and watch them thrive!

4. Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum

When you see this plant, you may think it’s a boxwood, but look again. In the fall, the Dwarf Walter’s viburnum will bloom with tiny white fragrant flowers and the leaves will turn red in winter, giving it a bit of fall interest.

What I love about them: Dwarf Walter’s viburnum is a less expensive plant than a boxwood, but looks so similar I often use it as an alternative when possible.

Something to try: Use Walter’s Dwarf viburnum as the evergreen centerpiece in a large container. Fill around the edges with seasonal color and a trailing plant like Creeping Jenny for interest.

5. Society Garlic

These plants certainly stay true to their name and smell like garlic in the hot summer sun. But what they lack in fragrance, they make up with consistent beauty of bloom color and overall visual texture. Society garlic is considered a perennial in some zones but tends to stick around in our climate unless we get severe cold.

What I love about them: The lavender bloom is reminiscent of agapanthus but blooms for a much longer period of time, making them a much better bang for your buck.

Something to try: Society garlic is edible, and it’s also a deterrent to a lot of back yard pests, including deer and moles, so plant around vegetable gardens to keep nibblers at bay.

Catherine Arensberg is an exterior designer who specializes in finding ways to create your ultimate outdoor space, no matter the budget. Browse more of her work here: catherinearensberg.com

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