Plant Resource

Top Easy-Care Plants for Midwest Gardens

Blanket flower

Give these red or orange daisy-like flowers full sun, and they’ll bloom from summer deep into fall. Another plus: These drought-tolerant flowers attract butterflies, not deer.

Day Lilly

Nearly impossible to kill, vigorous sun-loving daylilies tolerate drought and can even take part shade. Each bloom lasts just a day, but plants keep the trumpetlike blooms coming for weeks on end. Choose reblooming varieties like yellow ‘Stella de Oro’ (pictured) or red ‘Lady Scarlet’ for even more flowering time.


Large crepe-paper-like blooms of poppy bring vivid pops of spring and summer color—neon orange and red to pastel pink and cream. Many kinds are available, including Iceland, Alpine, Atlantic and Oriental poppies. Little care is needed other than a sunny location and watering during dry spells until established.


Few plants can brighten even the toughest dry shade like these rugged and varied perennials. Superstars include ‘Pandora’s Box’ with green-edged white leaves and ‘Frances Williams’ (pictured) with large rippled blue-green foliage and chartreuse edges.


This voluptuous beauty is no diva, thriving for decades given full sun and well-drained soil. Expect attractive mounding glossy-green foliage and fragrant late-spring blooms. Solid performers include the classic double ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ and the semi-double ‘Coral Charm’ (pictured).


Typically ignored by foraging rabbits and deer, sun-loving yarrow blooms generously and stands up to summer heat and drought. Choose sterile varieties like ‘Coronation Gold’ (pictured) that won’t spread aggressively.


One of the easiest bulbs to grow, ornamental onions add interesting contrast to the garden with their clumps of grasslike leaves and rounded or nodding flower heads. Try ‘Forescate’ common chives for pink globes in spring or ‘Nodding Pink’ (pictured), a native ornamental onion with long-lived dangling pink flowers in late summer.


Given ample sunlight, this fountain-shaped ornamental grass (panicum) offers blue-green foliage in summer and dramatic golden or red tones in fall. Plus, it’s not on the menu for rabbits, deer or grasshoppers. 


Contrary to popular belief, this dependable perennial does not cause hay fever. It does, however, add glorious golden-yellow plumes to the late summer and early fall garden. Try 4-foot tall ‘Fireworks’ (pictured) for lacy blooms; ‘Golden Fleece’ grows 15″-18” tall with richly textured flowers.

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