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10 Impressive Plants that Deliver the Most Bang for Your Buck
We’ve grown literally thousands of varieties of plants at our nursery over the years. Many of them make their way into our own home garden and the Signature Gardens surrounding our retail garden center. In the process, we’ve identified a select group of plants that are continually impressive either for their extraordinary ability to bloom or the way they put on a reliable show year after year. Some grow especially fast, which is important when your growing season is relatively short like it is in Michigan. Here are ten plants we’ve identified that truly deliver the most bang for your buck.
The hype about Supertunia petunias is real! These vegetatively grown petunias really are better performers compared to cheaper seed grown petunias. You will definitely get your money’s worth with these flowers.
Since Supertunias are not grown from seed, they do not have a natural tendency to want to go back to seed. The plants don’t need to waste energy on producing seeds, so they put that energy back into producing more flowers and more vigorous growth. That’s why you’ll find Supertunias blooming all the way from spring into fall. Since there are no seeds to remove and their flowers are self-cleaning, there’s no need for deadheading either.
There are a few different types of Supertunias including Supertunia Vista®, Supertunia Mini Vista®, standard Supertunia® and Supertunia® Charm. Learn which type is the best fit for your garden.
Sunflowers are fun to plant from seeds with your kids and watch them grow, especially in the vegetable garden. But for containers and flower gardens, multiflora sunflowers like the two Suncredible varieties we offer are the way to go. This type of sunflower is shorter and much fuller, producing upwards of a hundred flowers per plant per season. The more you harvest for bouquets, the more the plant produces. Plus, you don’t have to wait until midsummer for the plants to produce flowers. Suncredible sunflowers bloom non-stop from spring until frost.
We think these sunflowers are worth their weight in frilly gold petals. Judging by all the positive feedback we’ve received from customers about them, they’re a sure bet.
If you follow us on YouTube, you know that SunPatiens are some of Heidi’s favorite annuals to plant in her garden every summer. They make an impressive edging along her part shade border garden, blooming non-stop all season in vivid shades of pink, red, purple and white.
Like all impatiens, SunPatiens need consistent moisture to thrive. However, they prefer far less fertilizer compared to bedding impatiens. You’ll get more flowers if you feed them less often. That makes them super convenient for people like Heidi and Rod who are busy running a garden center all summer. SunPatiens never fail to impress, year after year.
If you can only grow one daisy, make it Daisy May. There are so many things to love about this variety of shasta daisy, but the trait that impresses us most is its amazing ability to rebloom. Most daisies bloom once per season, but Daisy May will flower three times per season for us here in Michigan if we cut her back by about one-third after each cycle of blooms. Large 3” wide, bright white blossoms top the dense mound of foliage first in early summer, then again in mid to late summer and a third time in the fall if cut back after each round.
Daisy May is a hardy perennial in zones 5-9 and prefers full sun. In the Midwest, it grows 20-24” tall, but in the South, it stays a little shorter and blooms even longer.
Here’s a native perennial that has so many good things going for it that it’s a must-have for every sunny landscape. This will be one of the most durable plants you own once its deep tap root establishes. Find a permanent location for it in a sunny spot because once it anchors that tap root four feet deep, it’s very tough to move. However, that makes it especially drought tolerant. Baptisia roots have tiny nodules on them which help them fix nitrogen in the soil. That essentially means the plant makes its own food. Don’t be surprised if it lives fifty years or more in your landscape.
Decadence and Decadence Deluxe Baptisia come in a wide range of colors, with the Deluxe varieties being slightly taller. Their impressive bloom spikes appear around Memorial Day here in Michigan, and they are attractive to pollinating bees and butterflies. They are hardy in zones 4-9.
6. Summerific® Hibiscus (Rose Mallow)
You might say these “dinner plate hibiscus” deliver more bang for their buck just because of their enormous 7 to 9” wide flowers—the largest of any perennial. But there are even more things to love about these plants. Older varieties of perennial hibiscus only bloomed at the tips of their branches, but Summerific Hibiscus bloom nearly from the ground up to the top of the plant. Plus, there are far more buds on each plant which keeps it in bloom for about three months here in Michigan, and even longer in warmer climates. Some cultivars also have beautiful deep purple foliage that’s a focal point in itself.
Summerific Hibiscus are large perennials that range from 3 to 5’ tall and are generally wider than they are tall. They die back to the ground each winter and spring up with fresh new foliage every year in late spring. They look tropical but are surprisingly hardy, surviving winters as cold as zone 4, and are heat tolerant through zone 9.
Their name gives away the easy care nature of these roses, but what makes them deliver the most bang for your buck is their incredible flower power. If you love how annual flowers bloom all summer for you but don’t want to have to plant every year, try growing Oso Easy roses instead. These hardy roses bloom all summer in vivid shades of pink, red, coral, yellow and white and the best part is, you don’t need to deadhead them for the blooms to keep on coming. And since they are resistant to black spot and powdery mildew, you won’t need to fuss with spraying these roses. They truly are amazing!
Oso Easy roses range in hardiness from zone 3 to 5 and are heat tolerant through zone 9. Like all roses, they need full sun to thrive.
Bloomerang lilacs deliver more bang for your buck by blooming not just in spring like traditional lilacs, but from midsummer to frost, too. If you haven’t thought about planting lilacs for years, it’s time to take another look. Reblooming cultivars have changed the game for this hardy shrub, making them earn their keep in the landscape by blooming for months instead of weeks. Plus, with winter hardiness all the way down to zone 3, Bloomerang lilacs are durable landscape plants that make great hedges and backdrops for perennial borders.
Several cultivars of Bloomerang lilacs are available, ranging from dwarf varieties that stay under 3’ tall to taller ones that top out around 6’ tall. They need full sun in zones 3 through 7.
If you’ve seen our garden tour videos on YouTube, you know how much Heidi and Rod love panicle hydrangeas of all kinds. This new variety named Puffer Fish is destined to become one of your new favorites because of its extraordinary flower power. Its foliage becomes completely engulfed in creamy white blooms in mid to late summer and just when you think they’re finished, a fresh sprig of flowers shoots out from the tips of the panicles. Unlike most panicle hydrangeas, the flowers of Puffer Fish age to lime green instead of pink.
This is a mid-sized panicle hydrangea that grows 3 to 5’ tall and wide in zones 3 through 8. In colder climates, it grows and blooms best in full sun to light shade, but if you live further south, it will need some afternoon shade. No special soil is required to grow panicle hydrangeas, but it must drain decently since their roots don’t like to sit in wet soil for long.
An evergreen would have to be pretty extraordinary to make this list, and ‘American Pillar’ surely is just that. It’s one of the fastest growing evergreens you will find, which is extra important if you are using it to make a living screen or privacy hedge. It’s known to grow at least 10” per year, and most of that growth is vertical. At maturity, ‘American Pillar’ reaches 15 to 20’ tall but just 3 to 5’ wide, so it won’t take up much precious real estate along your back fence or side lot line.
Another bonus is this Western arborvitae has shown decent resistance to deer browsing. Even so, it is a good idea to spray them with repellent for the first year or two while they are getting established in your landscape. Find a place in full sun to part sun with plenty of overhead room for them to grow tall. ‘American Pillar’ arborvitae is hardy in zones 3 through 8.
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