Easy-to-Grow Perennials for Beginner Gardeners

Agastache Ava and Helianthus Santa Fe.
Easy-to-grow Agastache Ava is shown with Maximilian's Sunflower Santa Fe.

All About Easy-To-Grow Plants

Text By David Salman, Founder and Chief Horticulturist

Easy is good, especially when it comes to growing plants. I'm often asked when customers are buying a plant, "Is this one easy-to-grow?" Of course, the answer depends on your experience as a gardener and where the plant is going to be grown. Some places, like southern California, where the climate is mild and the soil rich, most plants are easy-to-grow. Taking that same plant and planting it into the difficult growing conditions I experience here in the windy, dry, hot and cold high desert of Santa Fe, the answer might be different.

But in general, I would define "easy-to-grow" plants as ones that are:

  • Forgiving as to their soil preference and do well in a wide range of soil types.
  • Don't get "crispy" when they dry out too much and bounce back quickly when watered.
  • Grow quickly and root out vigorously.
  • Are widely growable across a wide area of the country.
  • Have excellent cold hardiness and do well when transplanted in the fall.
  1. Hot and Cool Colors Hummingbird Container for Full Sun

    This long-blooming perennial Container Garden for Full Sun has flowers of violet-blue, violet and brilliant purple. Salvia 'Ultra Violet' and Agastache 'Blue Boa' are upright growin...

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    Container Garden For Full Sun Container Garden For Full Sun
    Sale Price I Save 5%
    $61.94 Sale $58.84
    Per Garden of 6 Plants
    This long-blooming perennial Container Garden for Full Sun has flowers of violet-blue, violet and brilliant purple. Salvia 'Ultra Violet' and Agastache 'Blue Boa' are upright growing while the Verbena cascades over the edges of the pot to provide a brilliant purple "skirt" of nectar-rich flowers. This combination will be very attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. Grow this container in full sun and plant it in large pot (16 to 20" diameter and 12 to 15" deep) to give the plants plenty of root room. The plants will bloom their first growing season and get larger and fuller in the following years. This Pre-Planned Garden includes premium plants, and a planting and care guide.
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  2. Orange and Scarlet Hummingbird Container for full sun

    The brilliant orange and scarlet flowers in this long-blooming perennial Hummingbird Container Garden are sure to draw hummingbirds from your entire neighborhood. The Penstemon and A...

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    Hummingbird Container Garden Hummingbird Container Garden
    Sale Price I Save 5%
    $62.94 Sale $59.79
    Per Garden of 6 Plants
    The brilliant orange and scarlet flowers in this long-blooming perennial Hummingbird Container Garden are sure to draw hummingbirds from your entire neighborhood. The Penstemon and Agastache are the upright growers while the Zauschneria drapes over the edges of the container as a "spiller." Grow this container in full sun and plant it in a large pot (16 to 20" diameter and 12 to 15" deep) to give the plants plenty of root room to thrive. The plants will bloom their first growing season and get larger and fuller in the following years. This Pre-Planned Garden includes premium plants, and a planting and care guide.
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  3. Stand Up Tall Sedum Collection

    Our SunSparkler® Sedum Collection is a trio of dramatic, high-impact Sedums that will pick up any garden setting with easy-care fun. A rich color palette includes grey-green foliage...

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    SunSparkler® Sedum Collection SunSparkler® Sedum Collection
    Sale Price I Save 5%
    $29.97 Sale $28.47
    Per Collection of 3
    Our SunSparkler® Sedum Collection is a trio of dramatic, high-impact Sedums that will pick up any garden setting with easy-care fun. A rich color palette includes grey-green foliage with burgundy flowers, bi-color lime green foliage, and blazing ruby-red petals edged in bright pink. A favorite of birds and pollinators, Sedum will naturalize to create drought-tolerant mats of colorful foliage and flowers. Collection of 3 plants.
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  4. Serene Shade Garden

    The Serene Shade Garden uses a bright, blooming assortment of perennials to color-up the shady areas of your yard. Our expertly designed garden includes a planting map and a detailed...

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    Serene Shade Pre-Planned Garden Serene Shade Pre-Planned Garden
    As low as $139.24 Sale $132.28
    Per Garden of 16 Plants
    The Serene Shade Garden uses a bright, blooming assortment of perennials to color-up the shady areas of your yard. Our expertly designed garden includes a planting map and a detailed care guide to help you easily create an oasis in the shade.
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Gardening For Beginners: Steps For Transplant Success

There are a few steps that gardeners can take that will increase the ease with which a plant will grow. The first month in the ground is the most critical time to provide optimum care.

  • Use a root stimulator at least two or three times during the first month in the ground. I have had excellent success over the years using our High Country Gardens Root Stimulator Combo Pack (liquid seaweed and SuperThrive). When these two liquids are used together, there is a synergistic effect that encourages strong root growth.
  • Inoculate with Plant Success mycorrhiza fungal root inoculant. Let these amazing fungal root buddies do the work of helping your plants to grow.
  • Watch the watering, taking care not to over or under water your new transplant. Push back the mulch and check. If the top of the soil is still damp, wait a day; if the plant's foliage is off-green in color, or the soil surface is crusty, its dry and needs water.
  • Mulching the plant is key to maintaining optimum soil moisture, so I strongly encourage forming a nice wide saucer (slight depression surrounded with a ridge of soil) filled with a coarse-textured mulch material to hold irrigation water.
  • When watering, do it thoroughly by filling the saucer several times letting the water soak deeply into the planting hole. The warmer the day temperatures, the more often water will be needed. Perhaps every other day to start.
  • Spray all plants with a repellent (we recommend Deer Off), even deer and rabbit resistant ones, to protect from getting eaten.
Centranthus Ruber Roseus Pink Flowered Jupiter's Beard (Centranthus ruber) is easy to grow and blooms all summer.

The Most Easy-to-Grow Plants For Novice Gardeners

Select Blue Catmint Catmint grows easily in most soil types, including clay.

More Experience Needed

Once you've gotten the hang of the easiest to grow plants, you can try these beauties:

Mark New Transplants

When planting into an established garden, be sure to mark where you plant your new transplants. I use some flagging tape on a stake. I lose most of my plants because I forget where I planted them!

The Philosophy of Successful Gardening

  • Of course what you can grow well might be a tough one for me and vice versa. It always surprises me how this works. I think it's mismatched energy between plant and person. But it can also be that my garden conditions and soil are different than yours.
  • Be a positive gardener, because no one really has a "black thumb." If you expect failure, it will most likely be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  • Pay attention and be mindful during your time in the garden. Sing or talk to your plants to focus your time with each plant (George Washington Carver did). Your plants will respond positively even if you're a little off key.
Text by David Salman

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