Garden workhorse plants

Tue. May. 29, 2018

Click below to listen to my 2 min Garden Bite radio show:  Garden workhorse plants

There are some garden workhorses out there, plants that don’t give up!  Some folks may call them invasive and, well, they are.  However, for those with lots of space and not a lot of time, these plants have a lot to offer.  Physostegia also known as Obedient Plant (which is anything BUT) is at the top of my workhorse list.

photo by Wasowski, Sally and Andy

This native plant’s stems are bendable, that’s why it’s called “obedient plant”.  They will stay bent for a time.  Handy in arrangements!  This wildflower is zone 3 hardy, grows in sun to partial shade up to 24 to 48 inches tall depending on variety.  It’s drought tolerant and will grow in most average garden soils.

Another workhorse, of course, is hosta!

‘One Last Dance’

I just dug up a bunch and divided them for friends.  There are so many varieties, you can’t hardly count them all!

While deer can find them tasty, hosta are amazing plants that give and give, divide them every 3 years or so and you’ll be able to share! The picture below is my “incubator” space.  There are dozens of plants.  To the right is sedum ‘Autumn Joy’.

Hostas and ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum (another workhorse)

Daylilies deliver over and over.  Again, so many to choose from.   Plant in sun to part shade.

Daylilies I bought from a local breeder. Notice the thicker stems
I bought the red ones at the same local breeder

The one caveat is the hemerocallis fulva

This orange common daylily is an invasive.  Some states want it eradicated, others don’t feel quite so strongly…

The other tough plant is mint, pretty much any kind of mint!  The mint family can take a lot.  Photo below from Deflora Garden & Landscape from their article on 10 reasons to grow mint.

Other plants include:

  • yarrow
  • allium
  • peony
  • ornamental grasses
  • hardy geranium
  • most native plants