There always seems to be a spot in the yard where nothing will grow. It can be too dry, too shady, too wet, or otherwise unfavorable to plants. Unless the area is contaminated, something should be able to grow there. This article will look at ten plants that tolerate adverse conditions. Depending on the conditions of the area, some of them will grow in a specific area while others won’t.
#1: Autumn Joy sedum: The toughest of the upright sedums, Autumn Joy Sedum arises from the ground in spring and forms a dense well-rounded crown of succulent green foliage. The flower heads appear in August. Bloom time begins in September to early October. Flowers start out a light pink, then after a few weeks fade into a bronze-salmon color. Color usually slowly fades for another month or more before the frost zaps the color. Flower heads provide ornamental interest through the winter if plant is not cut back. Autumn Joy sedum can tolerate severe drought and minimal care. It needs full sun but can live in part shade. Another Sedum, “Matrona,” grows a lot like “Autumn Joy,” but has red tinged leaves. Flowers bloom in September to October and are a very light pink.
#2: Daylilies: There are many varieties of daylily, with colors ranging from white to purple. Bloom time varies, starting in late May and stretching till July. Mixing early blooming varieties with later blooming varieties creates a lasting bloom effect. Reblooming varieties such as “Stella D’Oro” and “Happy Returns” produce a light bloom until frost.
#3: German Iris: Tolerant of poor soil and drought, German Iris will grow real well provided it is kept free of weeds and given water when dry the first year. Bloom time is around Memorial Day. Although bloom only lasts two to three weeks, the eye-catching color splash is impressive and well worth it.
#4: Hosta: Hosta grows in partial to full shade. Cultivars incorporate blue, green, gold, and white leaf coloration in variety of patterns. Hosta bloom purple flower spikes in summer, and their leaves give three seasons of color. More people have a problem getting rid of hostas than keeping them alive.
#5: Sedum Kamtschaticum: Creeping sedum. This plant forms a small mat of green foliage. In June, it puts out prolific yellow flowers. This is a perfect plant for rock gardens and walls. It grows best in full sun, and will do well as long as the area is weeded.
#6: Peony: Once established, peonies form low-maintenance clumps that endure for many years. Peonies come in white, pink, peach, red, and magenta. They grow to three feet high and with time form a good clump, needing division only every eight years. Bloom time is in June, and the bloom lasts a month. The plants may need staking to support the flowers.
#7: Dianthus “Bath’s Pink:” This proven cultivar of Dianthus forms a low mat of narrow blue-green leaves that provide year-round color to the garden. Bath’s pink dianthus performs well in the front of the border and along walls or terraces, putting forth fragrant pink flowers in June that contrast nicely against the leaves.
#8: Blue Water Flag: Blue flag iris grows in saturated swampy areas where not much else will grow. Blue Water flag is native and is not invasive, and is a good alternative to the invasive yellow flag iris. Blue Flag can even grow in areas that are flooded at times during the year. Bloom time is around Memorial Day.
#9: Vincas: Vinca Minor, also known as Periwinkle or Myrtle, forms an evergreen groundcover in part to full shade. Vinca minor is good for banks, forest floors, and anywhere else a ground cover is desired. Although not perennial, annual vinca vines are hardy and tough and grow in all conditions except swampy or desert. Annual upright vinca likes full sun to part sun, and can tolerate drying out, but keep watered for best growth. It forms blooming mounds similar to impatiens.
#10: Pachysandra: Like Vinca minor, pachysandra is a reliable groundcover that can be grown in shady areas where lawns will not grow. It flourishes in part sun to full shade. Place plugs every six inches apart and allow them to fill in over time.Keep weeds down and pachysandra will form a reliable evergreen ground cover.
These plants are proven performers and are tougher than most other cultivars of their varieties, and are naturally able to withstand or even like less than ideal conditions.