12 Low-Maintenance Flowers for Spring Color
At home, Jonathan Wright, director of the Indianapolis art museum's park and gardens, stuffs in the plants, stacks the pots and lets everything grow. Free-flowing and self-seeding plants greet visitors at the picket fence, then envelop the backyard in lush beauty. Here are a few of his go-to low-maintenance plants for color and greenery.
'Lady of Shalott' Rose
Starting at the front picket fence, Jonathan trains up English roses, clematis vines and even raspberry brambles that tempt passing neighbors. 'Lady of Shalott' rose is an apricot double rose that is incredibly fragrant and an impressive rebloomer.
Related: 12 Fragrant Flowers That Bring Natural Aromatherapy to Outdoor Spaces
An old English hybrid with blue-purple, bell-shaped flowers, 'Hendersonii' clematis climbs the front fence. "I love vertical plants that don't take a lot of real estate," says Jonathan.
Jonathan welcomes self-sowers in the garden as they help weave together garden elements. Love-in-a-mist (Nigella) pops up along the sidewalk to welcome passers-by.
Jonathan sows an abundance of breadseed poppies with their blue-gray lettuce-like leaves, decorative seedheads and blooms that range from white and pale pink to red and deep purple. These poppies self-sow freely, so once you grow them they will forever pop up in cheerful waves among your garden.
Knotweed or giant fleece flower (Persicaria polymorpha) is planted with 'Grandma's Blessing' rose, an easy-care shrub rose that looks like a hybrid tea rose but without the fuss.
Jonathan likes to leave alliums' rounded seedheads for their architectural interest. Here, they are interplanted with poppies, sea holly and salvia.
Tip: Plant taller bulbs at the back of the border to weave through shrubs before they leaf out. Also, plant spring bulbs deep in the ground so you can layer summer annuals atop them once they finish blooming.
Related: Want to Attract Pollinators to Your Garden? Here's What to Plant for Gorgeous Color (and Visitors) All Spring
Cranesbill, also known as perennial geranium, forms small clumps and blooms from spring to fall. A few favorite varieties include 'Rozanne' in purple or 'Biokovo' in blush pink.
Minoan Lace, Snow Daisies and Pinks
Jonathan grows annuals and biennials by seed and many often re-seed to return the following spring. He surrounds the patio with a wide border of self-sowing annuals like Minoan Lace, snow daisies and pinks (dianthus). The trick is to thin the abundance of seedlings. "In a city garden or any garden with limited space, you really have to ruthlessly edit."
Mulleins like this Verbascum chaixii make vertical statements in Jonathan's sunny border along his patio. Cut back stalks right after bloom for a second set of flowers. Allow a few stalks to linger to self-sow another generation of plants next spring.
Nasturtium grow in a galvanized water trough on Johnathon's patio. They're easy to grow from seed and fill voids left from spring flowers.
Related: 5 Easy Annuals to Grow from Seed