Low-care plants that are high in visual interest
If lockdown has taught us anything, it's that those of us who have gardens are extremely fortunate. It's the perfect place to lounge with an ice-cold beer and a book when the weather is nice (a rare occasion, we know), it makes dinnertime exciting again with the aid of a barbecue and it acts as the perfect backdrop for summertime selfies.
What's more, being outside and surrounding by plants is good for the soul. In fact, a recent study published in the Mental Health Journal found gardening to reduce stress, depression and anxiety symptoms as well improve your overall mood. That, combined with the fact that the best thing we can do to help stop the alarming spread of coronavirus is to stay home means now, more than ever, is a great time to start gardening.
To help get you started, we've rounded up 10 plants that don’t require an expert green thumb. And even if you have no garden of your own, you can still get your hands dirty by growing plants indoors (more on that here).
Make the most of your garden this year – whether you want to dine alfresco, grow your own veg or enjoy the many health-giving benefits of the great outdoors with these easy to grow outdoor plants...
You can’t go wrong with these fuss-free flowers that are perfect for containers, pots, window boxes, hanging baskets and garden beds. You can find them in pretty pinks, reds, whites, yellows and purples. Oh, and because they’re perennials, they’ll grow back year after year.
Despite their luxurious reputation, roses are an extremely easy plant to grow - so much so you can easily start a rose bush from a cutting. Start by making a cutting from a rose bush you wish to propagate, the cutting should ideally come from the outside of the plant and be at least 12-inches long. Remove all flowers, buds and all but the top two set of leaves from the stem. Dip the end of the stem in a rooting hormone such as seeding powder, fill a small pot with about 6 inches of compost and poke a small hole in the centre. Insert the stem and water well. The roots should form anywhere from two to eight weeks.
Flowers come and go throughout the season but foliage is forever. Taro or ‘Elephant Ears’ will thrive in full sun or partial shade.
If you’re after bold colour, front-resistant pansies are the way to go. You can find them in almost every colour of the rainbow (and several multi-colour options). And since they can tolerate frost, they’re the perfect bloom for Irish gardens.
Hydrangea shrubs come in a dizzying array of sizes and varieties and work in almost every climate. Several types are fast-growers and provide excellent cover if you want to hide that not-so-nice view of your neighbour’s bins or create privacy for your deck or patio. You’ll get the bonus of gorgeous flowers that last from early summer to late fall. Top tip: all hydrangea flowers are pink but to introduce some colour into your shrub, plant with a piece of iron the soil for a blue hue.
Sweet Potato Vines
This ornamental plant grows extremely quickly. It won't climb walls or trellises, but it will trail beautifully over pots. Lush, dramatic colors include deep purple, bronze, and lime green.
These mounding perennials (not to be confused with the type you tend to see potted on a window sill) have a long flowering period and spicy fragrance. They’re sturdy plants that quickly double in size.
These dainty flowers, which bloom in shades of white, pink, and red, require very little maintenance and upkeep (no deadheading or pruning required!). When fall arrives, you can move them indoors or dig up their tubers to reuse for the following year.
The large heart-shaped leaves and splashy pinks and greens make this an eye-catching plant for your front door. They’re tropical, so they love the heat. In cooler months, bring them indoors in fall to enjoy as a houseplant. Need mostly shade.
Hanging baskets are another innovative way to add flowers and greenery to your patio, porch and garden. Simply fill a shop-bought basket with compost, place a geranium in the centre followed by several pansies, an upright lobelia and trailing petunias. Then, just be sure to water everyday with plenty of plant food.
Main image by @welcometohelens on Instagram