Going Without A Green Thumb: How To Choose Plants That You’ll Have A Hard Time Killing

If you don't know the difference between a perennial and annual, and all you know about grass is that it should be green, then you might feel overwhelmed when trying to choose plants for your yard. Even if you hire a pro, you'll have to take care of it, and who knows what will happen to all the innocent plants once you do? Fortunately, you can have a beautifully landscaped yard that is strong enough to persevere through your ineptitude.

Choose Shrubs Over All

Flowers are beautiful, but they inherently need a little more precision and care. There are some low maintenance flower options, but, for the most part, you'll be better off choosing shrubs over blooms. When picking shrubs:

  • Choose ones that are hardy. Hardiness is measured in zones, and essentially means that they can survive through extreme temperatures. Anything from a zone 1 to a zone 6 should be able to handle cold temperatures without dying. Some popular, hardy shrubs include potentillas, dogwoods, and junipers. 
  • Go with colors. Just because you're choosing shrubs instead of flowers, doesn't mean you can't have some color variety. Choose shrubs that comes with flowers, such as lilacs, or that have bright, unusual foliage. For example, ninebark bushes have beautiful red leaves all year, which can become a focal point to your garden.
  • Pay attention to the sun and shade needs. Some plants need full sun, others need full shade. To cover your bases, choose plants that say "partial sun" or "partial shade," as these tend to be less needy.

When Flowers Are A "Must Have"

If you are very attached to flowers, you can choose some fail-safe blooms. Avoid plants like roses, which are picky about temperature and soil pH, and instead choose flowers that:

  • Are perennial. This means that you only need to plant them once, and they keep coming back. Lilies, coneflowers, and forget-me-nots are easy flowers that you can feel good about planting. 
  • Have seeds. Some annuals, like violas, will come back anyway because they have vigorous seeds. You'll find patches of flowers where you didn't plant them, but when they are pretty, this is a great option for a more rustic, laid-back design. 
  • Come from bulbs. You can connect with your inner gardener by planting tulip and daffodil bulbs in fall, and watching as they come forth the following spring. Bulbs are effortless to plant, for the most part, and will make your garden look professional with very little effort. 

You can have some beautiful plants in your yard. By choosing the ones that are hardwired for survival, you and your plants can have long, happy life together.