The 10 Best Low-Maintenance Annuals for Sandhills

There is nothing worse than walking out into an annual garden you just planted and finding soon after it's doing poorly.  A million questions run through your head.  Did I water too much... too little?  Is my soil wrong?  Should I just accept that I have a black thumb?


Maybe your questions are the right ones to ask, or maybe it's time to accept the most simple reason.  The plant you choose was wrong for your space.  Drought tolerance is a vitally important characteristic for annuals planted here in the Sandhills area.  With this in mind, here are the 10 best low-maintenance annuals for Sandhills, (so you can start your project the right way the first time):



For all-season color in sun or shade, nothing is as versatile as Begonia. You’ll be impressed by their thicker, more durable stems and larger flowers that just keep on coming without deadheading. They are a great alternative to shade loving, (but less drought-tolerant), Impatiens.  Use this low-maintenance annual in both containers and the landscape!

Begonias in Pinehurst.


Petunias are outstandingly prolific over the entire growing season.  If you can, plant your petunias early enough in the season to enable them to establish strong root systems before high temperatures set in. The more established the plant, the more heat tolerant it is.  They do best in part sun to sun conditions – 4 or more hours of direct sun a day.

An outside basket filled with vibrant multicolored petunias.


A diverse selection of foliar color, leaf shape, and habit make Coleus a low-maintenance annual that is endlessly enjoyable... all season long. There are thousands of varieties available, and they are all wonderful for both containers and the landscape. Though they perform best in full sun, they are equally valuable in shade, where annual color is hard to come by.

Coleus and tradescantia in the flowerbed near the big stone.


Lantana forms vigorously growing mounds covered in bicolored pink, peach, apricot, lemon, white or purple flowers.  The continuous blooms attract butterflies and hummingbirds, are extremely drought tolerant and are even deer resistant! Lantana is a great choice for containers, hanging baskets, and the landscape.

Lantana in Southern Pines.

Sweet Potato Vine

Sweet Potato Vine makes for a striking spiller in containers, hanging baskets or over walls.  This vigorous annual has deep-veined leaves that come in a variety of colors ranging from green to purple, bronze and almost black.  They can be shaped like hearts or take on a more cut appearance, resembling fleurs-de-lis. Count on Sweet Potato Vine as a low-maintenance annual that will add depth and dimension to your garden.

Sweet Potato Vine in West End.


The flower clusters of Cleome create a focal point in the back of any garden border.  The summer-long blooms have an airy effect that also makes them useful as filler among plants of similar heights and differing textures. This low-maintenance annual thrives in full sun with little care. The blooms will attract butterflies to your garden, and are great for cutting to bring inside!



Verbena is a low, spreading beauty that looks positively gorgeous when paired with Sweet Potato Vine.  This extremely drought tolerant, low-maintenance annual comes in many colors, including red, pink, white, yellow, and purple.  They're ideal for any annual border, low wall, container, or hanging basket.


The dense spike flowers of Salvia are frequently visited by Hummingbirds, who savor the flower's nectar.  Salvia's tubular blossoms come in shades of red, pink, and purple and bloom all summer long.  They like full sun, and are especially resilient to dry conditions.


These sturdy, well-branched plants thrive despite the heat and bloom generously from late spring until frost with little deadheading.  Angelonia is a colorful, low-maintenance annual that has dark, glossy foliage and adds a beautifully fine texture to the garden.  It is perfect for annual borders and containers.



The airy, white flowers of 'Diamond Dust' Euphorbia keep blooming through September. This delicate looking annual has even won awards for its performance in exceptionally dry and hot conditions.  Euphorbia thrives in full sun to partial shade, and blooms continuously until frost. Use this low-maintenance annual anywhere, including containers, the landscape, and even hanging baskets!