While some plants are slow to germinate and reach full height, there are fast-growing plants that quickly fill your garden with foliage. Whether flowers, shrubs, trees or vegetables, there are many quick-growing choices for even the most impatient of gardeners.
Ryegrass seeds germinate in three to five days. Its seeds quickly establish into turf for a lawn. Sunflowers are known for their quick germination and rapid growth into a giant stalks and brilliant flowers. Sunflower seedlings grow noticeably larger every day, eventually reaching as high as 12 feet. Another fast flower is the morning glory, which stretches its vines into a tall plant in a matter of weeks, eventually forming blossoms of purple, blue and many other colours.
A few tiny seeds of a fast-growing vegetable mature into an edible harvest within a month. Radishes are one of the fastest vegetables. Radishes form thick, green foliage with harvestable bulbs in three to five weeks. Squash plants grow quickly and can take over a garden within weeks, although the fruit may not be ready for a long time. Despite its tiny seeds, mustard plants quickly emerge from germination and readily cover the ground within four to five weeks, eventually maturing into a large bush.
Fast-growing trees are ideal if you're impatient with trees that take years to gain height. The Eastern cottonwood is the fastest-growing tree in the U.S., although it has a short life. Weeping willow, ash and silver maple trees fast growers providing useful shade. Fast-growing trees are often more brittle and breakable, making them susceptible to storm damage.
Tips and Warnings
Placing seedlings on a heat mat or other warm location speeds up germination. Warm temperatures generally speed up germination, although different types of plants prefer different temperatures. Grass and many other plants grow quickly in response to lots of moisture, but needs are specific to each species. Fast-growing plants require attention to pruning and care and demand more maintenance than slower-growing crops. The landscape at planting time may vary significantly from its appearance a few months later.
- University of Arizona; Sunflowers; Kurt Nolte
- NDSU; Tame Mustard Production; Duane R. Berglund, June 2007
- NC State University: Radish; Douglas C. Sanders, March 1998
- University of Tennessee; Fast-Growing Trees; Wayne K. Clatterbuck; July 1, 2003
- Colorado State University; Large Deciduous Trees; J.E. Klett, January 2000
- Alabama Cooperative Extension System: Alabama Smart Yards; Eve Brantley, et al.