12 Low-Maintenance Flowers You Can't Kill

low-maintenance flowers you can't kill illustration includes marigolds and daylily

Treehugger / Julie Bang

Not everyone has the time or money to grow a picture-perfect garden, much less to keep one tidy and well-groomed. Thankfully, there are a myriad of vibrant, low-maintenance flowers that require almost no upkeep and simply refuse to be killed.

Low-maintenance flowers are usually drought- and heat-tolerant, easy to care for, and deer- and rabbit-resistant. Many thrive in a variety of soils and environments—some require as little effort as simply throwing a handful of seeds in the yard.

Here are 12 plants that will fill your garden with life and color with hardly any work at all.


Some of the plants on this list are toxic to pets. For more information about the safety of specific plants, consult the ASPCA's searchable database.

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Marigold (Tagetes patula)

Cluster of orange marigolds and green foliage
Raung Binaia / Getty Images

The marigold might take the top honor for being the most drought-resistant, heat-tolerant plant in the garden. No matter how sweltering the dog days get, these vibrant pompom blooms survive and thrive.

Hailing from the sunflower family, the genus contains both annuals and perennials. The warm-colored flowers—similar to carnations in aesthetic—bloom early and stick around for the whole summer. They make great companion plants for tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and potatoes, and they help repel insects and pests. For a grand display, plant several different colors of marigold in one area.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 11.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Fertile, well-draining.
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Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

Three Russian sage bushes against blue sky
ivanastar / Getty Images

In 1995, the Perennial Plant Association named this plant the perennial plant of the year—partly because it's so drought-tolerant and has hardly any disease or insect problems. While it will attract beautiful butterflies and bees to your garden, its fragrant periwinkle, very lavenderlike blooms will repel the pesky deer. As a bonus, the woody subshrub can thrive in a wide variety of soil types, so you don't have to have perfect conditions for it to look good.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Medium to dry, well-draining.
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Daylily (Hemerocallis)

Close-up of a cluster of red daylilies
Evgeniya Matveeva / EyeEm / Getty Images

The daylily is a fairly drought-tolerant, hardy, yet high-impact perennial whose individual flowers, as its name suggests, last only a single day. This plant is rarely disease-stricken and tolerates—sometimes even thrives on—neglect.

It has the great foliage of an ornamental grass while also producing beautiful and colorful blooms. While the daylily's flowers are fleeting, the plant provides an almost endless supply of blooms; they really keep coming all summer. You can find daylilies in a wide range of colors, from canary yellow to crimson.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Soil Needs: Slightly moist, well-draining, and high in organic matter.
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Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia)

Close-up of red Mexican sunflower
Jim McKinley / Getty Images

The Mexican sunflower—a misnomer, as it's not actually a member of the sunflower family—doesn't mind dry, hot conditions. These hardy annuals are fast-growing, easy to sow, and deer-resistant. It is, however, a nectar flower, so expect hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators to visit your garden. Mexican sunflowers, named after their perpetually warm country of origin, produce dozens of red-orange, daisylike blooms from mid-summer until autumn's first frost.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 11.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Lean, sandy, rocky.
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Goldenrod (Solidago speciosa)

Close-up of goldenrod plant
Solidago / Getty Images

Mostly known as a wildflower, cropping up in meadows, fields, and parks, goldenrod thrives in a variety of conditions: moist, dry, hot, chilly, etc. However, it can occasionally acquire the fungal disease powdery mildew in especially humid environments. Gardeners will often overlook this perennial because it lacks big, showy flowers. Rather, it produces subtle, allover yellow florets—popular among pollinators—from late summer through fall.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Average, medium-moisture, well-draining.
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Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)

Cluster of pink cosmos in a field
Weera Prongsiri / EyeEm / Getty Images

You would be hard-pressed to find a flower more laidback than this annual. Simply throw some seeds out into the garden and voila, you'll see an abundance of silky ray blooms in no time. Cousins of the marigold and daisy, cosmos are known and beloved for their unflappable, impossible-to-kill nature. They'll even thrive in poor soil conditions.

Cosmos are annual and bloom during the summer. Butterflies adore them, so don't be surprised if you see big swallowtails stopping by for nectar.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 11.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Light, dry, low to average fertility.
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Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Close-up view of orange, pom-pomlike butterfly weed blossoms
KenWiedemann / Getty Images

Butterfly weed, called so because it's a host plant for monarchs, is known by gardeners to be drought-tolerant and content in all types of conditions, be it woods, prairies, or dry garden beds. Though the clumping perennial is a major butterfly magnet, it won't attract less-welcome critters, like deer and rabbits. The plant, part of the milkweed family, grows into a cheery bush, about one or two feet tall, packed with brilliant, fluffy, orange-to-yellow clusters.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Well-draining, sandy.
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Tickseed (Coreopsis)

Coreopsis flowers growing in field

Jongpyo Hong / EyeEm / Getty Images

Heat, humidity, and drought are no threat to tickseed, and neither is poor soil. This perennial will do great in just about any condition, which can actually be a bad thing when it's unwanted. Tickseed often grows as a wildflower, enveloping meadows and fields in mass quantities of yellow and orange daisylike flowers. Its drought tolerance and ability to thrive in rocky, sandy soil makes it nearly impossible to kill. Though it doesn't grow very tall, tickweed really adds great shades of sunshine to any garden.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Soil Needs: Moderately moist, well-draining.
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Moss Rose (Portulaca grandiflora)

Field of blooming moss rose in pinks, oranges, and yellows
magicflute002 / Getty Images

A cross between a rose and a cactus, moss rose loves sunny, dry, hot, desert conditions—the hotter and drier it is, the better. Punishing sunlight poses no threat, and watering is seldom necessary as it stores water in its fleshy leaves and stems. Moss rose produces colorful, cactuslike flowers and soft-but-spiky, succulent-type leaves. Even though it's an annual, it will often reseed.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 11.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Sandy, rocky, well-draining.
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Spider Flower (Cleome hassleriana)

Close-up of pink spider flower
Songsak Paname / EyeEm / Getty Images

Once you have spider flower in your garden, you'll probably always have it—for better or for worse. You can definitely take a chance at growing this annual from seed: Just sprinkle them wherever you want, and you'll likely get an abundance of showy, white-to-lilac blooms in return. The plant is named for its spiderlike flowers, each sprouting long, thin stamens that look like legs.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 11.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Moist, well-draining.
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Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum)

Hen and Chicks succulents clustered together

Nora Carol Photography / Getty Images

Gardeners love this perennial plant, closely related to the succulent family, not just for its unique foliage, but also for is ability to grow in sandy or rocky conditions, and in cool or hot temperatures. It grows very low to the ground until the main part of the plant (the hen) sends up a stout flower stalk in summer. Little offshoots (the chicks) will pop up all around the hen as the plant matures. Its leaves are traditionally soft shades of red, green, or blue.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Soil Needs: Sandy, well-draining.
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Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Close-up of yarrow growing in cluster

Aldo Pavan / Getty Images

While other plants will fade in the hot, humid, dry summer, the drought-tolerant yarrow will just keep growing and looking great all the while. This perennial sometimes gets a bad rap for being too resilient, as it can be difficult to stop it from spreading like wildfire. (This is because the plant has rhizomes, which send off lateral shoots.)

However, not all varieties are so aggressive, so if you don't mind its rapid-spreading nature, plant yarrow in your garden for ferny foliage and dainty clusters of white-to-red flowers.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Dry to medium, well-draining.

To check if a plant is considered invasive in your area, go to the National Invasive Species Information Center or speak with your regional extension office or local gardening center.