6 Plants That Will Grow Almost Anywhere

Imagine how much money you could save by growing your own herbs or cherry tomatoes? That’s just one of the benefits you can reap by using this list by Leslie Land, blogger for the Daily Green and lead author of “1000 Gardening Questions and Answers.” All you need is some water, a safe outdoor spot and you’re in business, according to Land. Check out some of our favorite easy-to-grow plants, inside…

1. Herbs – While many herbs need sun, Land suggests growing parsley, which tolerates partial shade, and mint, which likes things a bit shadier. Land adds that in addition to being a wonderful fresh herb (don’t forget to use those sweet stems!), giant flat leaf parsley also makes an excellent filler for flower arrangements.

2. Cherry Tomatoes – If you have a sunny spot, enough space for a whiskey barrel-sized container, and a 5-foot support, try planting an “indeterminate” cherry tomato plant. This plant will keep getting bigger all summer. Land points out you’ll get a lot more yield for your space compared to a regular tomato plant.

5. Coral Bells – Land says these are beautiful even when they’re not flowering. They’re a great decorative option and they do best in partial shade. Land emphasized these would grow anywhere. “Even Alaska?,” I asked. “Well,” she answered, “parts of it.”

Check out TheDailyGreen’s article for the full list.

What are some of your favorite low-maintenance plants?

6 Plants That Will Grow (Almost) Anywhere
(Photos: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. raleel says:

    brass buttons will grow nicely in the shade, as well as mini daisies and mosses. A local company around here ([www.stepables.com]) does a bunch of high tolerance plants.

  2. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Favorite low maintenance plant…cannabis sativa.

    Parsley is the only ‘herb’ item on the list, unless you like sprinkling dwarf evergreens or sedum on your penne.

  3. pattymc says:

    There are thousands of kinds of herbs and some are easy to grow, some not. Lavendar, for instance, is easy with good drainage and full sun, but rot over the winter if planted in the heavy clay so prevalent in this area.

    I work on week-ends at a Philadelphia area nursery and mostly help folks who want a garden but are either inexperienced or don’t have a lot of time. I sell the same performers to these folks.

    For shade – Hellebores! No pests to speak of, stand up well to drought, covered in early spring with magnificent blooms. They take a few years to establish but are then indestructible. There is not one ugly variety. Also achemilla and hostas, bugbane, any loosestrife (although they can become invasive), cranesbill geraniums (not the ubiquitous pot tplant – these are relatives of the woodside natives). Liriope will grow on the moon.

    For sun – Coreopsis, yes, but most especially the threadleafs, Moonbeam being the easiest to grow and the longest flowering. The new varieties of coleus provide quick color and will grow in full sun if watered regularly. These are not the washed out, wimpy sorts sold back in Grandma’s day. The color range is enormous and the plants grow quickly from cuttings. An added bonus, they are easy to winter over in pots. The smaller the leaf the easier they are to keep. I have had some for aver a decade and I only keep a small piece from each plant. They will grow in pots or in the ground.

    As a matter of fact, any plant with a square stem (yes, square) is in the mint family, like coleus, and they all tend to be fast and luxuriant growers as well as easy to propagate from cuttings.

    Also for sun – Shasta daisies, lantana, Knock Out roses (best of the new black out resistant varieties), ipomeas (sweet potato vines. Stick a piece in the ground, keep it watered and it will explode. Keep the tubers over as well as cuttings in water), angelonias, Profusion zinnias and Diamond Frost euphorbia, Dragon Wing begonias.

    The descriptions in the mass produced gardening catalogs are always overblown in promise. For instance, “flowering all season” means a flush in the spring followed by one blossom a month for the rest of the summer. I never recommend a plant as ‘easy’ unless I have grown it myself and found it to be so!

  4. TangDrinker says:

    Rosemary and thyme do very well in the clay soils and drought conditions here in the southeast. They thrive on neglect and make dinner tasty.

  5. pattymc says:

    Two PSS’s

    One, Soil Moist (or any other brand) is the greatest horticultural invention since Chlorophyll. The little crystals blow up into water holding jello like blobs. I use it all my outdoor pots and hanging basket (Caveat – not for succulents or bedding geraniums or any plant that is adapted to extreme dryness) as well as throwing some into the hole when planting market pack annuals and perennials. Mix it into the soil where the roots will be Going. It is an alarming looking substance when sitting on the top of the soil.

    Papaver somniferums are readily available at on line boutique seed sources as well as eBay. They are easy to grow, just throw the seed on top of the soil in a sunny site, preferably in the fall as winter coolness helps spring generation. Save the dried stems and pods and soak in water to make your own remedy for insomnia (My 92 year old neighbor knew exactly what I was growing out in the cutting bed). Caution: This is the same plant that fuels the economy of Afghanistan. Do not overdo as dependence will result even though this home brew is quite mild in comparison the commercial version.

  6. Beware: Mint is invasive in most places. You’re better off keeping it in pots unless you want an all-mint yard!

    Further down the list — coreopsis is a North American native, very hardy and tolerant of both wet and dry, and comes in a variety of leaf styles (from needle-like foliage to broad flat leaves) with pretty yellow star-like flowers. Pots or ground, a fairly reliable perennial.

    Sedums rock. We planted them in a godforsaken strip of dirt-like-concrete between our driveway and patio where it’s too hot and dry for anything to grow. The sedums are having a giant plant orgy!

  7. MorrisseyTheCat says:

    @pattymc: @Eyebrows McGee: “Creeping Charlie” (a/k/a Ground Ivy) is a member of the mint family and has an (unfortunately) hearty quality about it. It is all over our lawn (no chemicals) and when you mow over it, it smells like mint on steroids (not good mint either).

  8. Lets not forget Pothos (it wasn’t mentioned in the article).

    Although they are mostly used indoors as hanging plants, the do flower when grown outside and can be brought back indoors during the winter to adorn the home or office.

    They withstand the relocations gracefully.

  9. nrwfos says:

    I hope there will be more posts like these. I need all the help I can get. Thank you everybody!

  10. Carabell says:

    What about daylilies ? There are a zillion different kinds, most not expensive, and they are drought tolerant. Just plant in a place that gets sun most of the day.

    Don’t plant loosestrife, I think it should be outlawed. In the northeast it is crowding out native species like cat nine tails along our waterways.

  11. OnceWasCool says:

    I have the “Sweet 100” cherry tomatoes that are doing great. I planted two plants and they are producing more than we and our neighbors can eat. Amazing how well they do, and taste so much better sun ripened on the vine as apposed to ripening in a shipping container. Try it next spring after the last frost.

    But for a bigger yield, get Miracle Grow for tomatoes and mix 1 scoop per gallon of water every weekend for the first month.

  12. Oxzimmaron says:

    pattymc: Thanks! I have cut and pasted your post into my garden file. I’m in NE PA and we have to think about deer too. So sadly, the daylillies someone mentioned won’t work for us. Deer love lillies, and petunias too. Our deer don’t seem to bother the ageratum or begonias, and we just cage the rhodies and azaleas in the fall.

  13. RamonaLittle says:

    I’ll second the recommendation for daylillies. They don’t mind shade, they’re really hardy (coming back every year, and sometimes spreading), and they’re really beautiful. There are varieties in all different colors, and now some “reblooming” varieties. My favorite way to plant them is interspersed with daffodils. The daffodils bloom first, then the daylillies come up and hide the dying daffodil foliage, then the daylillies bloom. Put a low-growing ground cover (like one of the sedums) in between everything and you’ve got a beautiful perennial flower bed that hardly needs any maintenance.

  14. floraposte says:

    @Carabell: Purple loosestrife is outlawed in some states, as are other non-native invasives like Japanese honeysuckle, etc. I believe the cultivars of purple loosestrife are legal, as they’re ostensibly sterile, but it seems they’re only self-sterile and still will dump seeds if they cross with the species itself.

    So ideally you get a plant that’s tough and flourishing without being invasive. I’d add Russian sage and catmint to the list.

  15. junkmail says:

    Good timing on this one. The wife and I are getting ready to gut our yard and do a little landscaping. I like the idea of low-maintenance plants to replace the stuff the last homeowners planted.

  16. ElizabethD says:

    Eyebrows McGee is right: Mint is a very invasive plant, and it will quickly overrun not only other parts of your gardens, but even the lawn. That being said, I have grown it in the past, but try to put it where I don’t mind a bit of “spread.” It’s really fun to make your own tabouli with big handfuls of mint from your back yard. I usually grow spearmint for the taste.

    If you have space, butterfly bush (buddleia) grows like a weed, which it probably is/was, and has pretty spiky flowers that attract, you guessed it, butterflies.

  17. ImpossibleCheeseburgerPie says:

    Spider plants are a cinch to handle. I swear, you can’t kill them.

    Unfortunately, they’re on the ugly side.

  18. Dervish says:

    I am lving proof that cherry tomatoes won’t grow anywhere…but I have a recessed deck with a crappy exposure, so we only get good sun in the morning.

    I can grow many herbs without any problems, though. My other standby is coleus. They come in so many different varieties and they do really well in the shade.

  19. picardia says:

    Those coral bells are beautiful.

  20. ThunderRoad says:

    Another vote for daylillies for sunny areas.

    Hostas are great for shade and can be thinned and replanted every fall – in a few years you have very lush covering of a fairly large area, few weeds, and zero maintenance.

  21. mdoublej says:

    @doctor_cos: First thing I thought of when I saw the headline…that stuff grows like a WEED!

  22. battra92 says:

    Poplar trees. Ours are growing like crazy with no real work from us.

  23. Spider plants, definitely — once you get ’em started, you *can’t* kill them. Best houseplant ever. We had one that fell behind the refridgerator, spilled out of its pot, and was forgotten for months. It was fine once we fished it out.

    Also, asparagus is probably the easiest-to-grow veggie…follow the instructions planting it, and then don’t pick any the first year. It’ll spread like gangbusters and you’ll have more than you can eat before you know it.

    Also also, Sunflowers! Anywhere there’s full sun and you don’t mind squirrels and birds going, they’re awesome. They will spread like MAD — not a problem if you mow the area you don’t want them spreading to, but if not, look out. We used to use them as guerilla plants — put them in corporate lawns and watch them take over. (Because a field of pretty, wildlife-supporting sunflowers beats the heck out of a big stupid lawn, that’s why!)

    Lastly, bamboo — depending on your area, if bamboo will grow there, it’ll grow WELL, and often take over, so be careful. But it’s beautiful, and good for so many things…you can eat the young stalks, and use the older ones as wood for carving or building or whatever.

  24. keith4298 says:

    I like basil too.

  25. vespolina says:

    my favorite low maintenance plant: kudzu.

  26. Gann says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: The thought of an all mint yard makes me smile. I would love to go cut the lawn and smell minty fresh for a week.

    I’ve found bamboo to be unkillable in the right climate. In the event of a nuclear war, the only thing left would be cockroaches and bamboo.

  27. MaytagRepairman says:

    After making homemade soup for the last couple of weekends I decided to start an herb garden. I’m beginning with parsley and thyme. Since I have plenty of invasive plants in my yard already I decided to stick with growing them in pots. I already had the pots and half a bag of miracle grow soil in the garage.

  28. stacye says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: I was going to say the same thing about the mint. Either bury a cinder block, and plant it inside of it, or grow it in a pot.

    Also, mine mint was pretty slow to start. It really didn’t take off until I had it for nearly a year.

  29. SimonSwegles says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: I don’t know how you could NOT want a minty-fresh yard! :-)

  30. whitecat says:

    For something tall and structural to put in back of the flowers, Karl Foerster feather reed grass (Calamagrostis xacutiflora) is wonderful.

    It grows in sun or shade, tolerates drought, never needs staking, and looks good all year round. Maintenance consists of cutting it down to five inches in early spring. It has glossy green leaves, gets up to five feet tall, moves with every breeze, and turns a pretty golden tan in late fall that lasts through the winter. They even look good in snow.

    I use mine as “walls” to surround the patio and to screen the fence. They go with everything. Probably my favorite plant, even if they don’t have flowers as such.

  31. virgilstar says:

    +1 on mint being invasive – ours crept over (under) the fence from next door, and took over an entire 8 x 2 flower bed in 2 seasons.

    For northern climates, rosemary is OK, but will die in the winter unless the roots are very very low (lots of mulch in the fall is good).

    Lamb’s ear will grow anywhere, but also spreads too fast, like mint.

    Nasturtiums are also good flowers to grow anywhere – they taste good in salads too!

  32. @Mary Marsala with Fries: The sell clumping bamboos now …. they’ll spread into their clump size and that’s pretty much that. Much better for yard use!

  33. @Gann: Heh. We have an almost-all-creeping-charlie lawn. (We don’t like lawn anyway; we’re replacing it bit by bit with garden.) Smells like licorice when you mow it!

  34. synergy says:

    Careful with mint. It will take over the world if given a chance.

  35. trujunglist says:

    I grow basil, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, all in pots at my apartment. I water them about every 2 days and they all seem to do well, although they produce a low yield (except for the basil). Now that I know how incredibly easy it is to grow various things (I even had a bunch of seeds started from wet paper towels), next time will be a huge harvest of various veggies.

  36. ageekymom says:

    The most invasive plant in my yard is wisteria. It is such a strong vine it snapped our steel flag pole in half! Another invasive herb.. garlic chives! They are everywhere!
    I highly recommend the Halberd-leaf Rosemallow, a member of the hibiscus family, that I have had growing in my eastern exposure backyard (in Michigan) for over 10 years now. It blooms in late July/early August and although the huge (paper-plate sized) blooms only last a day, it will bloom until the first frost. The plants reach about 6 feet tall, are quite bushy and can be divided fairly easily. In the fall, it dies back to the ground.
    If I can’t kill it, nobody can!

  37. LintySoul says:

    Blue berries and strawberries do pretty good in containers as well. The strawberries don’t root very deep. The blue berries need a 5 or 10 gallon bucket. Yum. Blueberries also like lots of water…
    I wouldn’t recommend Miracle-Gro, as it is sorta like crack/steroids for plants. Sure looks like it is working, but the overall health and nutrient content of the plant is compromised.
    Try some liquid fish emulsion/sea weed blend. They love it, and will love you more.

  38. CharlieInSeattle says:

    Nasturtiums are a very hardy flower, and they are edible to boot. They have a mild peppery flavor, both leaves and flowers can be put in a salad. It’s like a mild radish in flavor. Also Cilantro grows like mad, I actually had to start pulling it out of my garden, because it became a weed.

  39. MorrisseyTheCat says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: That’s what has happened to ours Sure mint/licorice smell SOUNDS like it would be great, but actually MOW it, and it’s the most powerful, overwhelming smell there is. I didn’t know what it was in the spring…thought we had pretty violets growing in the lawn. As summer came the “violets” were gone and it looked like an all weed lawn…as it got more widespread then came the smell…and I did research. Turns out creeping charlie has purple flowers early on in the season and is impossible to get rid of. :(

  40. pattymc says:

    CLARIFICATION – The mint Family (Lamiaceae), those of the previously mentioned square stems includes lav-enders, basil, thymes, perilla (wonderfully yummy fragrant deep purple foliage and is self-sows modestly), co-leus, and a huge number of sages. Mint, per se, as in peppermints, is invasive as is the equally divine smelling lemon balm. There are several wild members that grow in your lawn, ground ivy (creeping Charlie)being awfully common and responsible for the smell folks mention. Many hate it but I love the scent. It was used in making beer many centuries ago so you might want to put it to good use.

    Purple Loosestrife, known as lythrum, is indeed dangerously invasive. The nursery where I work does not sell it

    and when someone mentions that they have it I ask them to remove it from their garden. But there are many other varieties, especially the lysimachias, which are not on the government hit list. All are easy to grow and plants that are easy to grow are very often a pain to get rid of. There is nothing more beautiful than a bed of gooseneck loosestrife planted against the side of an old barn but I had to dig it up from my shade garden as it did not play nice with others.

    Dave’s Garden is a terrific site (davesgardden.com) is a wonderful resource for finding out the experience people in your area have had with a particular plant. Lots of pictures submitted by your fellow gardeners. Some areas of the site are restricted to members but most of it is free. Look for the Garden Watchdog where you can search out mail order and on line nursery reviews. Wayside Gardens sends out a lovely catalog but many people report dissatisfaction with the company’s products and customer service. Bluestone Perennials, on the other hand, sells inexpensive plugs of perennials and I have found them to be reliable and responsive as is Select Seed, Rosy Dawn coleus and Avant Gardens. I also ordered from Lazy SS Farm & Nursery for the first time this year and was very pleased with them indeed. Their on line catalog is a good read.

  41. SJActress says:

    Cucumbers and zucchini. I planted some in 1/2 of mulch with NO soil, and they’re sprouting.

    Mexican heather also does very well. It’s a great plant for ground cover, but WILL overgrow, so you have to keep it trimmed.

  42. @Mary Marsala with Fries:
    I would only mention bamboo with the caveat that one needs to include an underground barrier up to several feet deep in order to keep it from spreading and taking over the yard (and neighbours’ yards as well). While on a walk out in east Vancouver, we found several yards where bamboo was having a great old time… new shoots forcing their way up through asphalt in the middle of the alley (which was solid before the bamboo got to it), tunnelling under the sidewalk to spring up next to the road, etc.

    That said, we have some bamboo – it’s a great plant – but we (a) have a clumping variety, and (b) it’s in planters up on the deck.