5 Easy to Grow Plants No Garden Should Be Without! (The Friday Fives)

This year I thought I'd try to start something on each Friday.  At the end of each work week I'll make a list of five things from the garden.  They could be anything, everything is fair garden, as long as it can be related to the garden!  To start things off I'm going to mention 5 easy to grow plants that no garden should be without!

See if you agree!


My monarch butterfly friend here will agree with me that zinnias in the garden are essential!  Zinnias are annuals but are very easy to grow.  Most of the time I just sprinkle the seed where I want them to grow, water, then wait.  I've never had pest problems with my zinnias but have experienced the powdery mildew issue.  It's a fungus that attacks the plants in hot and humid conditions (which we are blessed with every summer here in TN). 
Persian Carpet Zinnia
Despite this issue zinnias feed a whole bunch of pollinators and attract the butterflies and are well worth planting because of how easy they grow.  To reduce the powdery mildew sow the seeds far enough apart to allow the mature plants to have good air flow.


Cosmos - pink
I like cosmos for many of the same reasons I like zinnias.  I sow them the same, treat them the same, but don't have nay issues with powdery mildew!  They self-sow prolifically so chances are once you've planted them you'll have them for a long time.  Plant cosmos near your vegetable garden to encourage the beneficial insects to visit your vegetable garden area.  There's an array of colors available - so go pick one!


Heuchera 'Silver Scrolls'
I can't have a list like this without the heuchera.  In fact it would appear on several possible lists like the awesome foliage list, the drought tolerant list, the deer tolerant list, and I could go on!  Heucheras are great plants for dry shady locations and here in the summer we have a dry periods on a regular basis.  Their foliage varies from shades of green to purple.  Heuchera are also called coral bells but whatever they are called these perennials deserve a spot in your garden!


There are so many easy to grow forms of salvia from the annual self-sowing types like Salvia coccinea to the perennial standards like 'May Night'.  I like them all!  Salvia lyrata self-sows and makes a great ground cover, 'Caradonna' is awesome for its dark colored flower stalks, Autumn sage is a nice woody sub-shrub, and reallt there are too many to mention in this post.  In 2011 I added 'Purple Rain' Salvia verticillata and 'Hot Lips' Salvia macrophylla.


People get confused between catnip and catmint all the time.  Right now someone is thinking "that may be a nice plant but I don't need any more cats in my garden so I shouldn't plant catmint."  In my experience catmint does not attract cats, but even if it did attracting cats is great way to reduce your rodent pest population!  But Enough about cats, catmint has beautiful blue-purple flowers that bloom prolifically throughout the summer. It withstands drought, doesn't need much care after it is established, propagates easily, and smells great when it's leaves are brushed by in the garden. Catmint can also fill in large areas of your garden if you let it!

So what do you think?  Are these five essential?  Or do you have an essential five plants for your garden? 

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