15 Impossible-to-Kill Outdoor Plants

By Katie Holdefehr for realsimple.com

With expert advice and care tips from a couple of plant pros, we’ve ID’d 15 pretty plants that will thrive in even the least plant-friendly spaces


Pro Pick: Ajuga

Costa Farms

Best for: Shady Backyards

If your backyard doesn’t get much sun throughout the day, it can be tough to find attractive plants that will thrive in the shadows. To find the best shade-loving plants around, we asked Justin Hancock, a horticulturist at Costa Farms, for the company’s top picks. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, Costa Farms supplies houseplants and garden plants to retailers and garden centers across the country, so the team is well-versed in selecting plants that will survive in real backyards.

ajuga. “This weed-smothering groundcover is a great pick if you’re looking to add color and decrease maintenance in shaded areas of your backyard. It offers adorable spikes of blue-purple flowers in spring, then a mat of dense foliage the rest of the gardening season,” Hancock says. To up the visual interest, look for variegated selections, such as “Burgundy Glow,” which has shades of pink and silver in its leaves. Plus, ajuga comes back every year, so you can plant it once and enjoy it for years to come.

Pro Pick: Caladium

Costa Farms

Best for: Shady Backyards

“Bring a touch of the tropics to your shaded backyard with the big, beautiful leaves of caladium,” Hancock recommends. This plant’s arrowhead-shaped leaves are readily found in shades of red, pink, and white, so you can coordinate this pick with the other plants in your garden. Costa Farm’s favorite hue? “The white varieties are particularly fun in shade because they seem to glow, especially at dusk,” Hancock says. You can treat caladium as an annual and leave it in the ground throughout the year, or you can dig it up and store it in a cool place for the winter.

Pro Pick: Persian Shield

Persian Shield
Costa Farms

Best for: Shady Backyards

If you’re searching for a failproof plant that can thrive in the north or the south, in sun or in shade, in a garden bed or in a container garden, then the persian shield is for you. This colorful, leafy plant is more than just durable, it’s also a true standout in the garden. “We adore this tropical plant’s metallic-purple foliage—it definitely makes a statement on its own or paired with other plants,” Hancock says. Treat this tropical plant as an annual, or if you’re adventurous, Hancock recommends bringing it indoors in the winter and keeping it in a bright spot.

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Author: Dennis Hickey

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