Which flowers are prettiest is certainly a matter of taste, but some flowers come in so many colors and sizes that anyone can appreciate them. And if they’re low-maintenance, that’s all the better!
To choose pretty, low-care flowers, decide where in your garden they will grow best - in full sun or part shade. Then find out from your nearest nursery which flowers are best for your growing zone and temperatures.
The United States National Arboretum publishes a plant hardiness zone map, that details growing zones across the country.
Most nurseries will offer sun/shade recommendations on a card sold with the flowers, in addition to spacing and planting recommendations. Degrees of sun also affect the soil moisture content. Sunnier parts of the country may have drier soil and drought resistant flowers are better choices.
Next, decide whether to plant annuals or perennials. Annuals are flowers that are planted each year for a season of color. Since annuals don't return after their season, you can experiment with colors and arrangements in a garden, then do something different for the next year.
Perennials are planted once and will regrow for the next season, but they are more of a permanent commitment in terms of color choice and arrangement, since they will come back in the same colors and arrangements as originally planted.
Annuals-Full Sun to Part Shade
1. Petunias, one of the most versatile annuals, grow from spring into summer. Sizes of blooms can vary from petite to jumbo and petunias come in a large range of colors from white to deepest purple. Petunias are fast-growing and are happy in a garden, a hanging basket, or in pots. Just pinch dead blooms to make way for new blooms throughout the growing season.
2. Zinnias are also very colorful, and range from white to lime to orange to magenta. Zinnias bloom prolifically and offer dazzling displays that last for months.
3. Sunflowers are mostly golden yellow with brown button centers. You can build a screen of sunflowers, cut them for an indoor arrangement, and even eat the seeds for a healthy snack. Sunflowers are a cheerful, easy-to-grow garden staple.
4. Marigolds are drought-tolerant. These golden, orange, and russet flowers are vivid and easy to maintain. Marigolds come in solid hues or variegated hues that can be planted in blazing beds of colors or they add punch to potted plants.
Annuals-Part to Full Shade
1. Impatiens are strong plants that come in gorgeous hues of orange, reds, magenta, and white to create a lot of impact in a flower bed or potted arrangement. They need no pinching and bloom vigorously, surviving without a lot of watering.
2. Coleus is not exactly a flower, but they offer vivid pink, salmon, purple and red centers to complement lime, kelly, and grass-green leaves. The impact is delightful, especially when mixed with other flowers. Weather tolerant, coleus can be used in tubs, urns, and garden beds.
3. Begonias are charming flowers that grow well in beds or containers. They spread and grow, so spaced plantings fill in quickly. Offered in white, pink, coral, and red, begonias are an easy-care flower with lots of drama. While they can take a lot of full sun, they like some relief now and then.
1. Carnations come naturally in pinks, whites, and yellows and are a popular choice for gardens and cuttings for vases. A lovely fragrance accompanies the beauty of this hardy garden staple. A petite relative, Dianthus, is a more exotic-looking option.
2. Daylilies have long leaves and spikes of large yellow, red, pink, purple or melon-colored flowers. Often characterized by green throats, daylilies come in a variety of sizes and shapes and are able to survive in many climates, even in drought-prone areas. Some of the colors are banded, haloed, tipped, dotted and dusted, providing a rich variation of color choices.
3. Echinacea have a coned center with displays of large daisies in gorgeous shades of lilacs, oranges, and reds. Drought-tolerant, these hardy plants are ideal summer perennials. Some species are used in herbal medicine.
4. Delphiniums are terrific for those who love blue flowers. They can be wonderful in bunches, and a few cut for your favorite vase won't be missed. Growing to heights of almost 2 feet, these flowers grow upwards on spirals of color.
5. Hibiscus pinks, reds, and whites are accompanied by lush greenery. Faded flowers should be pinched from the foliage for stimulating growth, but the heat-loving plant produces new blooms continuously.
Perennials-Part to Full Shade
1. Columbine offers a dramatic five-petal flower encased in four points of contrasting color combinations of pink backed with red, white backed with blue, or white backed with deep purple spurs. Besides the appeal of the flowers, columbine nectar is known to attract hummingbirds.
2. Hydrangeas are also favorites of blue flower lovers. These “mophead” flowers feature pom-poms of color that can change depending on the acidity of the soil. Acidic soils produce blue petals, neutral produces pale cream petals, and alkaline produces pink or purple petals. Different pH of the soil can produce varying colors within the same bush. Prized for the dramatic impact in a garden, the bold, large blooms also work beautifully in indoor arrangements.
3. Phlox is ideal for vertical interest in a garden and makes a beautiful backdrop for other flowers. Featured in white, pinks, blues and purples, the brilliant colors stand heads above over plants and flowers for a wonderful back border.
4. Geraniums are reliable from spring until frost, and are able to grow in most areas. Hardy and colorful, some varieties can withstand wind and rain that would shatter another flower.
5. Foxglove is a dramatic, spiked plant with trumpet-shaped flowers that spiral downward from tall stems. Colors are speckled up the throats of the flowers, with lavender, cream and purple.
You may have other favorites that are distinctively pretty and easy to grow.
Keep in mind that almost every flower wants at least a little sun, moisture, and favorable temperatures. Check to see what your local nursery has to offer and don’t forget to ask advice on moisture and nutrition for your selection. You’ll have the prettiest, easy care flowers of the season!