Hard to kill plants

ABINGTON TWP., Pa. – May 1, 2009 "This plant just gets better and better the older it gets," said Jessica Story of Meadowbrook Farm.

If blues are your color then Amsonia is your plant. Also known as Blue Star, this perennial offers several versions of the color. As far as care goes, don't sweat it, Blue Star is not aggressive, tolerates poor soil, becomes drought tolerant and doesn't ever need to be cut back. At a cost of $10 to $15 it's a deal with long term rewards.

"It's one of those plants that you come across in year 2 and 3 and are like 'when did I put that in'!"

Baptisia, which is also known as Wild False Indigo, is another "hard to kill" option. It loves heat and humidity, and can thrive in dry, poor soil. At $20 it's a little pricey but with years and years of benefit.

"Very little work a lot of return," said Jessica. "I've heard once it gets established it's hard to get it back out of the ground."

Agastache offers licorice scented leaves. It comes in a rainbow of colors with long tubular flowers that seem to attract something extra for your gardening pleasure.

"Butterflies and hummingbirds love Agastache."

This plant loves the heat, deals with average to decent soil and is deer resistant. The cost ranges from $10 to $16.

"This is Tiarella also known as Foamflower."

This shade-loving plant comes in two types, one that clumps and one that spreads politely through other foliage. It needs moist, organic soil, but don't panic "organic" doesn't have to mean expensive.

Something under trees where leaves have fallen and enriched the earth, think of a natural woodland type soil that's the type of soil good for Tiarella."

Tiarella is deer resistant and also makes a great container plant. It's priced between $5 and $15.

"It's a wonderful, wonderful plant you get a lot of design use out of a single plant."

For about $30, Japanese Forest Grass is pricey but not fussy. It likes shade and a slightly moist soil, but is great in a container.

None of these plant varieties requires pruning or pesticide regimens.

"These are really easy plants that don't require a lot of continued commitment from the gardener."

But even easy plants need about an inch of water per week the first year. And make sure you're placing them in the right location for the amount of sun or shade it needs.

More "hard to kill" plant options:

Disease and insect resistant, these require little or no maintenance (except seasonal pruning or removal of old flowers) and usually tolerate "average" soils. Most of the "sun" plants can actually take a little shade, and vice versa.

Rudbeckia fulgida 'Goldsturm'-Black Eyed Susan
Echinacea purpurea -Purple Coneflower
Perivskia atriplicifolia -Russian Sage
Hemerocallis –Daylily
Alchemilla mollis –Lady's Mantle
Sedum –Stonecrop
Monarda –Bee Balm

Physocarpus –Eastern Ninebark
Spiraea –Japanese Spiraea
Buddleia davidii –Butterfly Bush

Polygonatum –Solomons Seal
Hosta –Plantain lily
Aquilgeia –Columbine
Astilbe –False Spiraea
Athyrium nipponicum 'Pictum'-Japanese Painted Fern
Dicentra eximia –Fernleaf Bleeding Heart
Liriope –lilyturf
Hellebore –Lenten Rose

Kerria japonica
Taxus –Yew

United States Department of Agriculture
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

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