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5 Fast-Growing Flowers for your garden

You can adorn your table with weekly bouquets with these backyard stars.

Fast growers are also great for filling bare spots in the garden left by winter. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!

These long-stemmed garden annuals can grow up to six feet tall, thriving in even poor soil. They feature fine, sprig-like foliage and blooms that are up to three inches across. They're available in reds, whites, pinks, and purples and are a favorite in butterfly gardens.

Pot marigold ( Calendula officinalis )
This annual can grow to about 30 inches and features bright green foliage, sturdy stems, and 3-inch blooms. It's available in a range of citrusy colors, from light yellow to bright orange, some with dark centers and others with centers that match the bloom.

Mexican sunflower
These annuals can grow up to 6 feet with 3-inch, bright red-orange blooms. They feature deep green, coarse foliage and multiple stems per plant. Mexican sunflowers can complete two generations in a single summer, attracting butterflies and skippers to your garden in the process. Give this plant some room: a single planting can grow into a 4-foot-wide cluster. 

Yellow flag (Iris pseudacorus)
This perennial features gray-green sword-shaped leaves and large yellow blooms that can measure up to 4 inches across. They can grow as tall as 4 feet and can feature four or more early spring-blooms on each stalk. Yellow flag could spread in a wetland area, but those grown in dry areas will likely be smaller and spread less

Black-eyed Susan
This perennial can grow to 3 feet and features numerous blooms atop branched stems. The plant features lance-shaped, deep green leaves. Blooms measure about 3 inches across. Plants spread and form large clumps, with up to 20 bright flowers per plant. These will bloom all summer long, and cutting will encourage new blooms. Black-eyed Susan is also a deer repellant

Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)
This annual can grow from about 8 inches to 3 feet, depending on variety. Snapdragons feature small tubular blooms in a range of colors. They're available in hundreds of cultivars and in just about every color except true blue and black.

Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
This perennial can grow into clumps 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Blossoms can measure up to 3 inches across and plants feature dark green, coarse foliage. Large purplish-brown centers are skirted by lavender to purple petals. This plant will draw butterflies all summer, is drought-tolerant, and pest and disease resistant.

Marigold (Tagetes spp.)
There are hundreds of marigold varieties to choose from; French marigolds (Tagetes patula, shown here) can grow to 12 inches with 2 inch blooms. Other varieties can grow up to 3 feet and have 3 inch blooms. The dense, continuously-blooming flowers are available in yellows, oranges, and bronze shades and feature dark green foliage.

Poppy (Papaver somniferum)
Though the scarlet variety of this upright annual is best known, poppies come in over 70 varieties and a range of colors including white, pink, and mauve. Flowers can grow up to 4 feet and feature blue-green foliage. The bowl-shaped blooms can measure up to 4 inches across. 

Horsemint (Monarda punctata)
This multi-branched perennial can grow to 4 feet. It features lance-shaped leaves and up to seven small pink to lavender bracts and pale yellow flowers per branch. Horsemint attracts butterflies to the garden and makes great filler for cut arrangements.

Indigo Spires sage (Salvia 'Indigo Spires')
This perennial butterfly magnet can grow up to 5 feet tall and into clusters spanning 5 feet wide or more. They feature small blue-violet blooms along about a foot of its length and long, coarsely-toothed foliage.

Calliopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria)
Add interest to floral arrangements with this wildflower. The annual coreopsis can grow to 4 feet with flowers that measure about 2 inches across. Each stem features multiple branches and blooms, purple center discs with bright yellow-tipped petals. The drought-tolerant plant will bloom through autumn, drawing birds and butterflies to the garden.

Mums (Chrysanthemum hybrids)
Mums are available in a variety of bloom shapes, including the Pompons shown here. Colors range from burgundy to oranges to lavenders and pinks to white. Some varieties are low and spreading while others can grow up to 5 feet. The easy-care plants aren't prone to disease and are widely, consistently available. 

Purpletop verbena (Verbena bonariensis)
This perennial (grown as an annual in colder climes) features quarter-inch purple flowers atop stiff, coarse stems. It can grow to about 6 feet and into clumps about 3 feet wide. It'll bloom all summer long and is fairly drought-tolerant. 

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum speciosum)
This cultivar of Tropaeolum majus features large, round leaves with blooms that measure 2 inches across. It thrives in poor soil growing to about a foot tall; heavy watering will result in lots of foliage and little to no blooms. Nasturtium's non-toxic nature, large seeds, and rapid growth make it a great starter plant for kids to arrange and gift themselves. It also draws hummingbirds.


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