Dream garden

Dream garden in one year: the most suitable fast growing plants


If you aren’t the patient type and want to enjoy your garden as soon as possible, fast growing plants could be just what you’re looking for. In next to no time, they’ll put on plenty of robust growth and fill bare corners with rich foliage and beautiful flowers.

When spring is in the air, the smell of new blossom and freshly cut grass is enough to give even the most ardent city-dweller the gardening bug. Unfortunately, in an era when we can stream movies almost instantly and have our shopping delivered the next day, a garden takes a little longer to achieve, and that newly discovered passion can quickly wane.

Enter fast growing plants. For those whose patience is in short supply, fast growing plants can provide a hit of almost ‘instant’ impact in any garden and are perfect for filling space while slower-growing varieties get established. Many are also easy to get started and are suitable for most soils and environments.

Which fast growing plants would suit you best?

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• Spiraea japonica

This is a deciduous shrub (it sheds its leaves annually) that will grow in any soil. It has simple leaves, twiggy branches and stems which produce clusters of tiny pink or white flowers in spring or summer. For beauty which changes with the seasons, look out for the ‘Firelight’ variety. Its clusters of small rosy-pink flowers open in the summer, but it also has leaves which change from being red and bronze-tinged in spring, to green in the summer and reddish-purple in autumn.

• Butterfly bush

An undemanding and fast growing plant, the butterfly bush is another deciduous shrub that can be planted among other perennials (plants that live for more than two years) or used to form a hedge. Its long, spear-like flower heads provide a stunning display for four to six weeks and - as its name suggests - it attracts clouds of butterflies. You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to colours, with varieties ranging from whites and lilacs to pinks, purples and oranges.

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• Echinacea

For a stunning centrepiece, Echinacea is a perennial that will provide your garden with a real punch of colour. Growing to around four feet in height and resembling giant daisies, its flowers – with spiny conical or spherical centres surrounded by long, narrow petals – will draw the eye (as well as bees and butterflies), whilst its drought-resistant qualities make it incredibly easy to care for.

• Forsythia

Forsythia brings a touch of dramatic flair to any spring garden. One of the first fast growing plants to blossom, its golden yellow flowers make it an ideal feature shrub. Forsythia is remarkably easy to grow too: just plant it in any area of well-drained soil that isn’t continuously in dark shade. As an added bonus, its flowers are edible and can add a dash of colour to salads as well as brightening up the garden.

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• Oval leaf privet

To add a touch of crisp greenness to your garden, oval leaf privet is a fast growing plant which offers a contrasting backdrop to really accentuate the colour of surrounding plants. It is perfect for urban or suburban areas, providing privacy and offering resistance to pollution. Thriving in sun or shade, its small, oval, bright green leaves provide dense cover. If left unpruned, it also produces clusters of white flowers which appear in July and August, followed by shiny, spherical, black fruit.

• Chinese silver grass

If you want a showstopper which offers something different, Chinese silver grass is the fast growing plant for you. A grass that grows to between six and eight-feet tall, its flowers are spectacular. Rising upwards from their stems, their reddish brown, silky feathers glow in the sunlight, like the headpieces of the dancers of the Folies Bergère. It is also an incredibly hardy plant, meaning that it will retain its glamour right through the autumn and winter months.

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Excited? Before you get going, the best way to achieve a dream garden of fast growing plants is to sit down and make a garden plan. Are you trying to cover bare spots, create living walls for added privacy or simply looking to inject colour into a dull space? Whether it’s one or more of these goals, rest assured: there are fast growing plants for every purpose.