The Best Plants to Grow
The world is full of beautiful and unique plants. Thankfully, most of them can be grow at home and around the world. This opens up many opportunities to experiment and find plants that speak to you. There is no single best plant to grow. That is to say, there are so many amazing plants to consider growing based on the grower’s needs and preferences. As a result, this article will give you the best plants to grow in each category of plant organisms.
Herbs – The Best Plants to Grow
Growing herbs at home is the most beneficial to those looking to have readily available ingredients and spices. Having a planter of herbs outside during the summer, or a small pot inside year round, can be a great bonus. Therefore, when hunger strikes you can be relaxed knowing that there are fresh spices nearby to fancy up a dish. Most herbs are easy to grow and last for 1-4 months. However, keep in mind that herbs often have a strong smell that will quickly accumulate if grown indoors.
Mint is an essential in any small summer garden, but the plant can also be grown effectively indoors. The plant should be kept in partial shade if possible, but it can be kept in the sun longer if grown outside. As a result of preferring partial shade, mint should also be kept in moist soil to prevent it from drying out. This herb will grow to between 1 and 2 feet tall (30-60 centimetres), so it will thrive when placed next to a window or glass door. If you plan to keep mint in a garden, or with other plants, make sure to prune it regularly. If left unchecked, mint can quickly spread across a garden, which makes it a perfect beginner plant because of how easily it grows. Snip off a few leaves when making dinner to add a unique minty flavor to dishes.
It is also important to know that mint does give off a strong aroma, so keep this plant outdoors if you find minty smells overwhelming.
Basil is another herb that should be in every garden. Similarly to mint and other herbs, basil should be kept in moist soil. The plant needs a minimum of 6 hours a day of sunlight, so any window or outside spot should be fine. Basil will grow 1-2 feet tall (30-60 centimetres), and it is quite resilient. That is to say, it will survive missed waterings or too much sun. Basil is a true annual plant, which means it will naturally die after a few months, even when kept indoors, and will need to be replaced. Clip off some leaves of the plant every few days to encourage new growth, as well as cooking.
Basil gives off an extremely strong aroma. When grow indoors the plant will often give off a pungent odor that is similar to cat urine. If this does not bother you, then continue to grow the plant indoors where it will remain healthy. If the stench is overwhelming, grow the plant outdoors during the summer and freeze harvested basil leaves to be used later.
Parsley is a bit different from most other herbs. To clarify, its soil should dry out slightly between waterings. The plant needs to be kept in full sun for optimal growing. Parsley needs nutrient dense soil to stay healthy, so fertilizer should be used. It is a low growing plant, reaching a height of 8-12 inches (20-30 centimetres). However, parsley can quickly grow over the edge of its pot and may need more room if grown indoors. If you love to make sauces or use garnishes in dishes, parsley is a must have plant. If you have room to grow it indoors or outdoors, definitely take advantage.
As far as smell goes, parsley is pretty neutral. It gives off a faint grassy smell when grown indoors, and usually gives off the smell when stressed or rubbed. If its smell changes or becomes sharp, then it is usually an indication that your plant is beginning to wilt.
Chives are great because they can be grown in the cooler months when other herbs are out of season. As a matter of fact, these plants are great because they can grow almost anywhere. Chives grow in clumps and are similar to grasses. The plant will reach a height of about 12 inches (30 centimetres), and will quickly spread outwards about 12 inches (30 centimetres). Chives have a onion-like scent (although some can smell like garlic), and have a light onion and/or garlic taste.
Keeping a pot inside can be useful for cooking, however, leave the plant outside and it will quickly spread onto the ground. Healthy chives can grow faster than grass, so its not uncommon for clumps of the plant to take over parts of a lawn. To avoid this, cut the plants back. After being trimmed, chives will grow back slower than grass.
Lemongrass can be used in cooking, but its best applications are with medicinal uses. It can aid in curing digestive problems and stomach problems, as well as other aliments that follow. Lemongrass tea is a great symptom stopper with it a faint, pleasant, and lemon smell and taste. The plant is sub-tropical, so it cannot handle freezing temperatures. As a result, the plant should be potted. This makes it easier to move the plant inside during winter. Lemongrass will grow back every year, and some of its leaves may die during winter. The plant needs full sun, lots of water, and nutrient dense soil that drains quickly. Think of lemongrass as a tropical version of everyday grass, and growing it will be a breeze.
As its name suggests, lemongrass has a lemon like scent that is described as not having the acidity or sharpness of a normal lemon. Keeping a planter indoors can freshen up air around the house.
Succulents and Cacti – The Best Plants to Grow
Growing succulents, and other drought resistant plants such as cacti, are great for new gardeners. Succulents are also great for busy people that don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to growing plants. In either instance, succulents are all around great plants to have. They can survive in small pots and need little water. Furthermore, succulents need little maintenance to remain healthy. As long as you are able to donate a few minutes a week to your plants, then a succulent will be the perfect plant for you. With so many types and hybrids, these plants can quickly become collectibles that might take over your home.
Most succulents are easy to propagate from leaves. In other words, sticking a leaf into the ground will grow a new plant in a few weeks. Succulents are masters of spreading, and they will often produce offsets that will grow into full size plants.
Aloe (Aloe Vera)
There are many different types of aloe. Each type can have unique colors and patterns, as well as leaf textures. One of the most popular varieties of aloe is aloe vera, which is the most resourceful type. The juice in the leaves of aloe vera can be used to heal and soothe burn wounds (especially sunburn). They can also improve digestive health and clear acne.
As a general rule, aloe should get 6-8 hours of direct sunlight. Never allow the plant to sit outdoors in freezing temperatures. For this reason, aloe should be planted in a pot (If your area does not freeze, then plant away outdoors). Aloe is resilient in any soil, but it does prefer sandy mixes. These plants only need watered 1-2 times a month, or about once every 2 weeks.
Aloe plants grow relatively slowly, but some plants can have leaves over 12 inches (30 centimetres) long after many years. Their ability to rapidly produce offsets makes them great for establishing new plants, or giving them away as gifts. New breeds arise all the time, making collections endless.
Crassula (Jade Plant)
Crassula plants are very similar to aloe, that is to say they are very unique. They are known for having long stems and interesting leaves. The leaves can range from square to oval to trumpet shaped. Crassula plants are loved because of how easy they are to propagate from leaves, stems, and root balls.
Crassula plants should get 6-8 hours of direct sunlight. If the plants receive more, they will develop a purple accent on the edges of leaves. This is usually harmless, but the plant will wilt if it is given too much summer sun. They should never be left in freezing temperatures. In fact, crassula does best when it is kept in a pot indoors. The soil should be sandy, though the plants can survive in almost any soil. Water crassula plants twice a month, or once every 2-3 weeks.
Jade plants (Crassula ovata) are the most popular crassula plants. These beautiful plants have vibrant green oval shaped leaves. When given a lot of sunlight, the leaves will develop a purple outline that makes them stand out. Jade plants can grow up to 5 feet (150 centimetres) tall under the right conditions. They occasionally drop leaves that will land in the dirt and often grow into new plants. These unique plants are a perfect starting point for new gardeners and will make a fine addition to any established collection.
Sempervivum (Hens and Chicks)
Sempervivum is a genus of around 40 species of succulents that grow low to the ground in a mat like fashion. These plants called houseleeks or hens and chicks. Sempervivum succulents are quite hardy, and are a true outdoor succulent. They grow in a rosette shape and have fleshy leaves.
Hens and Chick varieties can survive winters as cold as -35°F (-37°C), but can also be grown indoors if preferred. They can grow in almost any soil so long as it has some nutrients, and can go weeks without water. Plants should be watered every 2 weeks to ensure good health.
Hens and Chicks will actively grow during the spring and summer. Each plant will produce 4 or more offset plants during the growing season, after they have been established. Hens and Chicks will need a dormant season in winter where they will slow or stop growth altogether. This lets them store energy for the next growing season in warm weather. Individual plants grow around 5-7 inches (13-18 centimetres) in diameter, while mats of the plant can reach over 2 feet (60 centimetres) in size.
Flowers – The Best Plants to Grow
Flowers are great plants to grow because of their beautiful nature. Their vibrant colors will catch any observer’s eyes, and healthy flowers will receive praise from viewers. Here is a small collection of the easiest and more unique flowers to grow.
Sunflowers are one of the easiest flowers to grow and by far the largest. Some varieties can reach 16 feet (480 centimetres) in height by the end of the growing season. If space is concerned, there are breeds of sunflowers that grow less than a foot (30 centimetres) in height and will thrive in pots. A few types of sunflowers can be eaten, while others are great for birdseed.
With so many varieties, there are also an assortment of colors. Traditional sunflowers are bright yellow with a deep brown center. Other breeds can copper, orange, red, brown or multiple colors at once. That is to say, black or pink sunflowers with red tipped petals. These flowers are sure to attract praise from viewers, and the flowers will follow the sun over the day!
Sunflowers are one of the cheapest seeds to purchase at a store. Each plant will produce 1000-2000 seeds per growing season making them extremely common around the globe. They even attract birds, which will help reduce pest populations and improve the pollination of flowers in the area.
Plants as large as sunflowers should be grown outside. Smaller varieties can be grown indoors, but these plants prefer to be out in the summer sun. As its name suggests, sunflowers will need full sun to thrive. They will require water at least once a week, or about an inch of rain per week. Most sunflowers are annual, meaning that they will bloom during one season and then die. Some are perennials and can live up to two years, blooming during their second year. Thankfully, sunflowers produce so many seeds that as long as they have room they will grow back the following year.
Sweet peas are interesting due to their flowers, which look similar to an orchid. Its important to note that even though they are a type of pea, sweet peas cannot be eaten and are mildly poisonous. The plants will begin to bloom in early summer or late spring and will hold onto flowers until the fall.
Sweet peas come in a few different varieties. Some plants will grow low to the ground as a bush and reach about 2 feet (60 centimetres) in height. Other types can be trained up a trellis and reach 8-10 feet (240-300 centimetres) tall.
Interestingly, sweet pea flowers can come in almost any shade of color. They are one of the 10% of flowering plants in the world that can have blue flowers. Their colors also include white, pink, red, cream, purple, and pink. Each color has a variety of hues from from deep to pale, and this makes every plant’s flowers unique. Sweet peas, like normal peas, produce pea pods and add interest. The pods are smaller and thinner than regular peas, and they should not be eaten because they are poisonous. The pods are around 2 inches (5 centimetres) long and will produce peas that can be replanted.
For the best growing conditions sweet peas should receive full sun to partial shade. They should be watered once a week, but they require moist soil and may need to be watered more often during hot summers. For the best results they should be planted in rich soil and given a well balanced fertilizer in the spring.
Pansies are great flowers to grow because they can compliment any arrangement nicely. They come in loads of colors, including purple, violet, lavender, orange, red, yellow, golden yellow, bronze, white and black/dark purple. The flowers are short in nature and fill spaces between larger plants.
Pansies are cool weather plants, blooming in the spring and fall months. As a result, hot summer months will stop them from flowering. In most places they are annual plants, however, in climates that do not freeze over they will grow all year. They prefer full sun in cooler climates, and in places that do not freeze they prefer partial shade. Pansies should be watered weekly or receive one inch of rain per week. Rich soil dense in organic matter will result in the best growth and flowers.
These flowers will grown 6-9 inches (15-23 centimetres) in height. Pansies grown close together will create beautiful ground cover. While other flowers have yet to bloom or are beginning to wilt, pansies will quickly step in to provide more color in cooler temperatures.
Need to Know More of The Best Plants to Grow?
Looking for more great plants to grow at home? Click the link to view another article on some of the best edible plants to grow: www.towergarden.com
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