If you don’t know much about plants, a garden can seem like a daunting project.
Pick the wrong plant, or put it in the wrong environment and you’ll lose both the plant and the enjoyment you’d get from gardening. Let’s look at some plants that will thrive no matter what kind of environment you have.
If you have an area that receives full sun – that is, no or almost no shade – you’ll want to choose plants that can stand up to the withering heat of the sun. Put these plants in the ground and you’ll have a beautiful garden all summer long!
An obvious choice annual for a sunny location. Sunflowers don’t bloom right away. Instead, they spend the summer growing and getting ready for a late summer/early fall bloom. Many people think of the mammoth “Common” variety when they hear the term “sunflower.” Common sunflowers grow to be 10′-12 feet tall, and produce an enormous amount of seeds. You can find sunflower varieties in many height and color ranges. A good planting strategy is to mix the taller sunflower varieties with their smaller cousins for a showy splash of color. Just be sure to water your sunflower menagerie often for the best results.
Geraniums love full sun exposure. Unlike sunflowers, geraniums will flower all summer long. You can find a variety of geraniums in terms of color, leaf shape and height. Geraniums can be low growing – at just 5″ – or they can grow to 2′ tall, depending upon the variety. These plants are annuals in all zones but the southernmost US. You can bring them inside to overwinter, and replant them in the spring. These plants don’t do well in poorly draining soil, and they like to dry out between waterings.
If you have a shady or partially shady spot, choose plants that prefer a little less sunlight.
Begonias flower from early spring until the fall, and they’re ideal for shady and partially shady locations. Like geraniums, they will grow low (6″) or higher (up to 2′) depending upon the variety. They produce dark green leaves of various shapes and pastel flowers in a range of colors. They’re not too fussy about the quality of the soil they grow in. Like the other flowers we’re discussing, begonias are annuals, and will die off after the first frost.
Fuchsia is a flowering plant that’s native to Hispaniola. There are currently more than 100 varieties of this versatile plant. It’s fruit-bearing, though you won’t usually find fuchsia in your local produce section! Both the fuchsia fruit (berries) and flowers are edible. Some varieties of fuchsia are pretty tasty; others – not so much! Berries ripen in late summer, but unlike other berry-producing plants, the fuchsia plant flowers continuously. In its native setting (the Dominican Republic and Haiti), fuchsia is a tender perennial, but in all but the warmest growing zones, fuchsia will die in the cold. If you want to keep your fuchsia going year-round, you can bring the plants indoors to overwinter.