Every gardener worth their weight in compost has witnessed numerous deaths of plants in their own gardens. The plants may have been experimental, gifts, or great finds, but again the end was inevitable. Over time I've managed to compile a short list of easy to grow plants that I recommend to my friends and family who claim to have thumbs other than green. When making suggestions, whatever you do, encourage them to grow.
One thought to consider when suggesting plants for someone who is sure they can only kill plants, is to suggest a durable plant with a reward. An impact that is sure to start the bug that none of us has been able to shed. Whether it be a bountiful garden or show of flowers, it must make an impact to a beginner.
If indoor plants is where someone wants to start then here are some good beginnings. Fresh herbs or a simple vine can add that touch of life that makes people happy. A number of herbs are simple to grow indoors and keep close at hand. Useful for looks, cooking, or fragrance herbs are a great start. Placed close to the kitchen, they are less likely to be forgotten when it comes to watering.
|Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)|
|Madagascar Dragon Tree |
For those who really like an exotic look with little effort a Madagascar Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata) is a nice addition to the family. This little tree has a thin trunk, with spiked leaves at the tips of the stems. This plant can have multiple stems or one single stem. Simple to grow, simple to keep in check for height, I think this is one knock-out indoor plant.
|Autumn Joy Sedum|
(Sedum telephium 'Autumn Joy')
Starting from a nice mound of lush bulbous textured leaves, Autumn Joy Sedum (Sedum telephium 'Autumn Joy') is one of the easiest perennials to begin growing in your yard. They root easily and don't spread our of control, and give a great show in every part of the year. From new growth to fall color to seed heads this is a strong and very durable plant. A great starter.
If you admire ornamental grasses, then Fountain Grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Malepartus’) is a good starter for you. These species of grasses give a nice show, can fit into most landscapes and this variety can't escape into other areas of the yard because it is sterile and doesn't develop seeds. Avoid ornamental grasses that have heavy seed production, it has been well documented that they can become weedy.
Shape up with Shrubs
(Magnolia x loebneri)
The Loebner Magnolia (Magnolia x loebneri) is one of my favorite trees. The flowers are lovely and fragrant on this tree. The arching branches with an overall oval habit is refreshing to see in the landscape.
Flowering Dogwoods (Cornus florida) are be a gem of a find, but disease resistant cultivars are welcome. Look for trees that are resistant to powdery mildew and/or anthracnose. Spring flowers, nice foliage and good fall color make for great reasons to suggest this tree as a starter.
Black Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) has dark glossy green leaves that turn a brilliant red in the fall. This is a slow growing tree with very few pest problems. Very solid, trouble free tree for any medium to large yard.
Resources: 1. Dogwoods, By Paul Cappiello, Don Shadow
All Photos Copyright © 2011 Laura Hayden