You have many choices if you’re interested in planting a low-maintenance backyard garden in Maple Grove, Minnesota. If you’re looking to get your children involved, you’ll want to pick easy-to-care-for plants. Having them participate in the garden maintenance teaches them about nature, flowers, and edible plants and how they’re planted, cared for, and grown. Your plants must also be hardy to withstand cold winter temperatures in Minnesota’s zone four. The Crème de la Crème team would like to share some of the plants that fit the bill for an easy-to-care-for backyard garden that you and the kids can enjoy. 

The Right Plant for the Right Spot

The first step is choosing the right plant for the right area of your yard. You’ll need to read the labels on the plant before buying it to ensure your yard can provide the right conditions for it. If you’re choosing perennial flowers, note their blooming times, and to have some blooming year-round, stagger your planting. For example, if you plant all your perennials simultaneously, you may have flowers in the spring but plain green beds in the summer.

Hardy Plants and Shrubs

Here are some of our favorite hardy plants and shrubs suitable to plant in Maple Grove, Minnesota, a zone four:

Arctic Kiwi Vine

This plant needs partial to full shade as a deciduous perennial vine with whole leaves and flowers. They also produce tiny tart kiwi fruits, but you’ll need male and female vines to produce fruit, which should be labeled as such at the store. You can also buy Issai, which can produce fruit by itself. Arctic Kiwi Vine blooms in the Spring and needs to be kept in evenly moist soil with a generous amount of organic matter. This vine is low maintenance as its vines don’t need to be cut yearly. The new vines grow out of the old wood. 

Crimson Fire Fringe Flower or Lorolpetalum

This shrub is so low maintenance that it can be planted and almost completely forgotten. It’s a dwarf shrub with year-round ruby-red leaves, and in the spring, it bursts forth with clusters of pink flowers. There are also other strains of Loropetalum with magenta, cream, or reddish-purple flowers. It has a small footprint at 4 feet high and 4-5 feet wide and needs at least four hours of direct sunlight daily. It needs easily draining, loose, rich, slightly acidic soil and must be watered for the first year, but after that, it’s good on its own. Lorolpetalum should be pruned after flowering.

Ballerina Cranesbill Geranium

Ballerina Cranesbill Geraniums require full sun to partial shade and bloom in the summer with gorgeous lavender and white-colored petals with purple centers. This particular type of geranium stays confined to your plant area without getting weedy and spreading beyond where you want it. They’re easy to maintain as they don’t require special soil; regular plain sandy soil is fine. Ballerina Cranesbill Geranium also doesn’t need frequent watering and can be watered when planted, but they don’t require more. 

Buddleia

This shrub is considered a butterfly bush, as it attracts monarchs, swallowtails, and other types of butterflies. Some of these shrubs are invasive and spread too much, but the Miss Molly type of Buddleia doesn’t. It blooms with pink, violet, red, white, purple, and orange petals with a maximum height of 4-5 feet tall. They need full sun for the best health and require fertile, well-drained soil. You can prune them at any time to control their size, but for generous growth in the spring, cut them all the way down in winter. 

Balloon Plant

The Balloon Plant needs full sun to partial shade and blooms late in the summer. It yields big purple flowers when planted in soil rich in organic matter and free draining. Due to its size, it should be planted at the front of a garden bed or near a statue or birdbath so that it’s visible and can be admired up close.

Peony

This flower blooms in spring with fragrant blossoms and should be planted in the spring or fall in full sun. The Sarah Bernhardt is a lovely double pink variety. Minnesota is a cold region in winter, so the peonies should be planted 2 inches deep for best results. The soil type should be well-drained and mixed with organic materials, such as compost with added fertilizer, repeated yearly along with adding compost materials to the base of the plant. Your peonies will grow 3 feet high and wide, and although they’re delicate looking, they’re very hardy, perfect for zone four. 

Black-eyed Susans

These flowers bloom in the fall, which makes them a lovely fill-in-the-gap flower when other buds are dormant. They have sunflower coloring, yellow gold petals, and a dark brown center. They need full sun exposure to thrive and evenly moist, fertile soil to bloom their best.

Spirea

Spirea is a very low-maintenance shrub but not low on beauty. The Little Spark variety has colorful leaves which move from light orange to chartreuse-yellow and, in the summer, multiple shades of pink flowers. This shrub grows 18 to 24 inches tall and 18 to 30 inches wide. Spirea needs full sun to develop its beautiful, brightly colored leaves, but it can handle a little shade. It should be planted in soil that’s well-draining and moist but not soggy. Once Spirea has been established, it can go without being watered for a bit.

Creeping Phlox

Creeping Phlox is a versatile year-round plant that provides ground cover for all seasons, but in spring, it blooms into gorgeous star-shaped flowers in white, pink, purple, or striped. This plant does best in full sun, isn’t picky about soil or water, and can overcome some of the harshest conditions, so it can even be planted in areas such as rock gardens or the edging of a driveway. 

These are just a few of the many plants that are low maintenance and are suitable for the Minnesota climate. Little hands can tend to these plants with some adult supervision. The Crème de la Crème of Maple Grove staff invites you to try any of these, and you’ll be on your way to an easy-to-care-for backyard garden.