11 Hard to Kill Plants

We’ve all killed at least one plant in the garden, no matter our best intentions. It doesn’t feel great, even if it is a rite of passage. So, we’ve made a list of extremely easy-care plants to pepper around your space in an effort to keep you from feeling that kind of heartache again. No matter if you’re a forgetful gardener, new to the game, or just enjoy being more hands-off, these plants are ready to weather whatever conditions you’ve got.

Drought is one of the biggest challenges gardens are facing today, so each plant on our list is at least drought-tolerant, but comes with a list of other helpful qualities, too. I’ve hand-selected 11 plants in particular, as they have yet to die under my very, very hands-off care*. Of course, they’re beautiful too.

Low Scape® Snowfire aronia
  • USDA zones 3-9
  • Native species that benefits wildlife and pollinators
  • No need to prune
Happy Face® Pink Paradise Potentilla
  • USDA zones 2-7
  • Native species handles intense heat and sun well
  • Very deer resistant
La Vida Mas®
Indian Hawthorn
  • USDA zones 8-10
  • Plentiful rebloom from spring to fall
  • Compact, no prune habit

*After their first year getting established in the ground.

Tuff Stuff Ah-Ha® Mountain Hydrangea

Pretty as a painting, these wide waterlily-like flowers decorate the garden from early summer into fall. They arrive in incredible numbers, courtesy of old and new wood flower buds. And while the flowers look delicate, the plant is rugged as can be with outstanding cold hardiness.

  • full sun (6+ hours of exposure)
    to part sun (4-6 hours of exposure)
  • 2-3 feet tall and wide
  • USDA zones 5-9

How do you determine if a plant is deer resistant?

We rely on the research conducted by professionals at Rutgers University. They’ve compiled studies and observations from gardens and public universities across the US to rank popular trees, shrubs, and perennials into categories ranging from “rarely damaged” to “frequently severely damaged. However, deer browsing always depends on the local population. Deer will eat some pretty surprising plants when they’re hungry enough.

Before you get the spring itch, find the exact right match for your space.

Gaining in popularity, this hydrangea will be planted in gardens everywhere this spring!

What’s the difference between dormancy and hibernation? Learn with Stacey and Rick.

Written by
Picture of Kristina Howley

Kristina Howley

I am all in when it comes to gardening. Almost every part of the experience delights me – new leaves emerging in spring, pollinators buzzing in summer, birds devouring berries in fall, and the somber beauty of seed heads in winter. Thanks to a background in horticulture and gardening my own clay-filled, flowery USDA zone 5b plot, I’ve learned plenty of practical things as well. I like sharing these joys and lessons with my fellow gardeners and soon-to-be gardeners any way I can.


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Gardening Simplified magazine
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