Easy-care plants for your garden

There are plenty of great, easy-care perennials that can be star performers in your garden.
Larry Hodgson, a prolific gardener and author of the best-selling Perennials for Every Purpose has put together a good list of qualities easy-care perennials should have:
Longevity (90 percent alive and thriving five years after planting)
Resistance to disease and insects, so you don't have spray them
Don't need to be divided more often than every four or five years
Tolerance of a wide range of growing conditions
Cold hardy – no winter protection needed
Good tolerance of summer heat
Long blooming period, or foliage that's attractive all season
Won't take over your garden
Don't need to be staked.
That's a lot to ask of a plant. "In fact, it's surprising, says Larry, "how few perennials meet all the easy-care characteristics. Phlox, for example, meets almost all of them except for disease and insect resistance: keeping them mildew-free can be a summer-long nightmare."
He points out that some easy-care perennials like peonies need staking. Many otherwise ideal plants are either invasive – goutweed is a prime example – or tend to disappear after several years – such as lupines and shasta daisies

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