Ultimate Top 10: Reader's Favorite Plants
We asked Birds & Blooms readers what their favorite plants are, and this is the result: our Ultimate Top 10 list!
It’s hard to pick your favorite anything, let alone your favorite flower or plant from the thousands available for your garden. For our 100th issue, we asked our readers to choose their favorites in each of the -following categories. With everything they’ve got going for them, it’s easy to see why these winners rose to the top.
Favorite annual: Sunflower
(Helianthus annuus, annual)
The cheerful petals and abundant seeds of sunflowers are as popular with birds and wildlife as they are with gardeners. This summer bloomer grows 2 to 15 feet tall and comes in an array of yellows, whites, reds and golds. Sow seeds directly outdoors after your last frost date; some of these beauties grow to 15 feet tall in one season!
Why we love it: Charming, easygoing sunflowers are great fun for kids to grow. They give you some height in the garden, and they provide a feast for birds!
Favorite hummingbird flower: Bee balm
(Monarda didyma, Zones 4 to 9)
It’s no wonder readers picked bee balm as their favorite hummingbird flower. This showy plant has red, violet, -purple, pink or white tubular blossoms that teem with nectar. It grows 3 to 4 feet high in full sun and quickly spreads to fill in garden space. Many cultivars are resistant to powdery mildew.
Why we love it: Bee balm’s glorious colors and nectar-rich blooms are a guaranteed lure for hummingbirds.
Favorite bulb: Daffodil
(Narcissus, Zones 2-9)
In many backyards, daffodils are the first to show their pretty yellow or white heads in spring. Growing 6 to 20 inches high, they’re planted in early fall in the North and late fall in the South. Bury the bulbs at a depth two to three times their diameter and 4 to 8 inches apart.
Why we love it: Easy to grow no matter what soil you have, daffodil bulbs are also toxic, so deer, squirrels and rabbits tend to leave them alone.
Favorite shade plant: Bleeding heart
(Dicentra spectabilis, Zones 2-9)
It’s easy to fall in love with this perennial’s delicate heart-shaped flowers. Long-lasting pink, white or bicolor blooms open in late spring. These 2- to 3-foot-tall plants do best in shaded areas but will tolerate a little sun if the soil is moist.
Why we love it: The delightful blooms burst forth even in full shade and readily self-seed, ensuring a heartwarming display each spring.
Favorite butterfly flower: Butterfly bush
(Buddleja davidii , Zones 5-9)
When you see a butterfly bush, chances are you’ll see a butterfly or hummingbird nearby. The sweetly scented purple, white, pink or yellow tubular blooms are filled with nectar for these flying jewels. Growing 3 to 15 feet high, butterfly bush will bloom from midsummer through the first frost. Take note, this beauty is invasive in some areas.
Why we love it: It’s the perfect plant for attracting birds, butterflies and bees—and it’s beautiful, too.
(Hemerocallis, Zones 3-9)
There are few flowers as dependable in the summer garden as the daylily. These carefree perennials grow 1 to 4 feet tall and wide and are highly adaptable, although they do best in rich, well-draining soil. With colorful trumpet-shaped blooms and grassy leaves, daylilies are a sure way to brighten perennial beds and borders.
Why we love it: With more than 30,000 hybrids in almost every shade but blue, many of which are rebloomers, it’s easy to find a daylily that suits your style.
Favorite drought-tolerant plant: Black-eyed Susan
, varies—most are Zones 3-9)
A fuss-free flower that thrives even when water is at a minimum, black-eyed Susans are a delight in the perennial garden. Yellow, orange and russet petals surround black-brown or green centers on 1- to 6-foot-high stems. Grow them in full sun by sowing seeds directly into the soil in early spring or fall.
Why we love it: Once established, these bright beauties require nearly no additional work. Some grow up to 6 feet tall in full sun!
, Zones 5-8)
One of spring’s loveliest sights is a flowering dogwood in bloom. While its true flowers are small and green, the colorful pink, white or rosy-red bracts put on a gorgeous display. In fall, the foliage turns pink, deep red or purple. Not overwhelming in size, it grows up to 20 feet high and 25 feet wide.
Why we love it: In summer, the bright-red berries are a magnet for birds and wildlife.
Favorite foliage plant: Hosta
(Hosta, Zones 3-8)
Hostas have it all: They’re low-maintenance and shade-loving and can be budget-friendly. The fabulous foliage comes in endless colors, textures, sizes and shapes, growing 4 inches to 3 feet high and 6 inches to 6 feet wide. It can easily be divided and requires minimal care.
Why we love it: Don’t have much time to fuss in the garden? Hostas are survivors. With new varieties introduced regularly, you’re sure to find one you love.
Favorite vine: Clematis
(Clematis , Zones 4-9)
This versatile vine grows 4 to 30 feet high and 3 feet wide. Available in dozens of colors, including whites, pinks, reds, purples, blues and yellows, clematis vines are perfect for a spot in the yard that needs a little vertical interest.
Why we love it: Need something to cover or decorate your mailbox, lamppost, arbor or trellis? Clematis is simple to train and bears a lot of blossoms on one vine.