Having plants that grow fast in your yard or garden is great if you’re an impatient gardener or if your yard doesn’t have the structure and vitality older plants offer. You shouldn’t have to wait years for your plants that grow fast to mature, and this will draw wildlife to the area much quicker.
You can even transform flat, open sites or new borders that have bare soil in no time if you pick out the right plants. You can create a privacy screen with fast-growing hedges or shrubs, fill in blank spaces with lush trees or colorful flowers, or get a quicker harvest when your vegetables.
Adding fast-growing trees can help you add color, height, and structure to the yard, or you can cover your arches and pergolas with fast-growing flowering vines. The possibilities are endless, and our list of plants that grow fast will help you get a headstart this summer and get a lush, full garden paradise right in your own backyard.
21 of the Best Plants That Grow Fast
Below, we’ll highlight 21 of the best plants that grow fast that you can seamlessly incorporate into your landscape or garden design. In turn, you’ll get a pretty space in a quarter of the usual time.
Beets are one of those vegetables that you’re either fond of or you can’t stand. But, even if you’re not a fan of the actual beet itself, you may enjoy eating the greens. Either way, this is a plant that grows fast if you’re in a hurry to harvest something. It’s nice to grow in the spring or in the late summer to early fall months as you can harvest the greens in 30 days and the beets themselves in 50. They’re also good for these times of year because while it can withstand a little heat, it would rather avoid the scorching summer temperatures. They grow best when you plant them in zones 2 to 10.
2. Big-Root Cranesbill (Geranium macrorrhizum)
This plant that grows fast will form a carpet over your bare ground with semi-evergreen, aromatic foliage that turns a pretty red hue in the fall months. In late spring and early summer, you’ll get pretty pink-magenta flowers on this geranium. There are several geranium cultivars you can choose from, including White-Ness, Ingwersen’s Variety, and Bevan’s Variety. These plants are white, sugar pink, and magenta. The G. macrorrhizum ‘Album’ cultivar is a white-flowered variety with the palest shell-pink blooms and coral calyces with protruding, long pistil and anthers.
This is a bulletproof plant that grows fast that will survive in shade or sun, including dry shade. It spreads out using rhizomes, and you can divide it during the spring months to reduce how far it spreads. Plant it in zones four to eight and allow it to reach the maximum height of 18 inches.
3. Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra)
This sophisticated plant that grows fast produces narrow, long lanceolate leaves that will rustle gently as the breeze comes through. The green stems will mature to a pretty ebony color to give you year-round interest. This type of bamboo grows vigorously in fertile, humus-rich, well-drained, and moist soil in semi-shade or sheleted sun. You can cut off runners to control the size very close to the mother plant using a sharp spade. Also, it’s a good idea to install a bamboo barrier to keep it in check. It can get up to 13 feet tall, and it grows best in zones 7 to 10.
4. Buddleja Davidii ‘Black Knight’
Black Knight is a world-class border shrub, and it’s one of the best plants that grow fast to attract butterflies to the yard. If you love butterflies, purple flowers, and fast-growing cultivars, this is a great choice. It’s a deciduous shrub that will add three to six feet of growth in a season, and it produces stunning deep purple flowers that smell like honey. This scent is what attracts bees and butterflies from July to September.
This shrub is partial to colonizing railway lines, so it’ll grow well virtually anywhere. In some parts of the US, it’s actually considered invasive, so you should check whether or not this includes your area before you plant it. Remove the spent flower heads as soon as you can to prevent it from self-seeding and spreading. Plant this shrub in full sun in a sheltered spot to attract more butterflies. If you choose an open spot, you’ll have to plant support. It tops out at 10 feet high in zones five to nine.
5. Bush Beans
You can sow bush beans immediately after the current crop quits producing to give you a quick 60 day harvest before the first frost hits for the year. It takes just two months from sowing to pod production, and this is a low-maintenance plant that won’t require much input from you to get a strong harvest. During the summer, you can sow the seeds directly into the ground or in pots filled with potting soil. Poke the seeds into the soil roughly 10 to 15 inches apart, and sow a new batch every month until summer ends.
These bushy, short plants will flower very quickly under the correct conditions. Pick your pods every few days as you spot them. If you pick them when they’re smaller, you’ll get a much more tender plant. Regularly picking the pods also encourages the plant to form more, and they’re great lightly steamed with pepper, salt, and butter.
Carrots are one of the most obvious plants that grow fast, but picking out a finger-sized variety will give you a 50 day sow to harvest window with crunchy, sweet roots. Sow these carrots into pots filled with potting soil, and spread the seeds thinly over the surface before covering them with a sieved layer of potting soil. You can sow them into drills that you space six inches apart before covering them and watering.
In some areas in the world, the carrot fly larvae can be a problem for this plant that grows fast as they burrow into the roots and destroy the crop. A row cover can prevent the flies from laying eggs. Once the seedlings show up, you should thin them out on a rainy day when carrot flies aren’t around or a cloudy day to roughly an inch apart. Water the area after you do to settle the soil back around the plant roots. Pull the carrots while they’re young and tender.
7. Crape Myrtle ‘Tuscarora’ (Lagerstroemia indica)
This plant that grows fast is actually a mildew-resistant hybrid that was originally raised at Washington, D.C.’s National Arboretum. It produces bright fuchsia-pink flowers during the middle of summer into early fall. It’s a very nice garden-scale, fast-growing tree. They add multi-seasonal interest to your yard because they have cinnamon bark and one to two feet of quick-growing foliage per year. The summer blooms will eventually give way to berries for birds to eat in fall and winter.
You can choose from pink or ivory forms, and you should pick the one that fits your aesthetic. Lagerstroemia ‘Natchez” is a great choice for a quiet, elegant garden with white blooms, and ‘Zuni’ or ‘Tuscarora’ offer purple or pink colors, respectively. They do best in full sun in well-drained soil. You want to water them regularly until they establish themselves, and it drops berries, so avoid planting it by patios and walkways.
Cucumbers are an extremely versatile plant to grow, and you can make dozens of great recipes with them. They’re great to eat fresh, and cucumbers make a nice addition to your salads. Fresh cucumbers are also a way to make pickles, but this plant does like to run. To counter this, you’ll have to place them on a trellis or give them a lot of room per plant to grow. They do well in zones 4 to 11, and if you want to use baby cucumbers to make pickles, they’re ready to harvest just 50 short days after you sow them.
9. Giant Hyssop (Agastache) ‘Blue Fortune’
This award winning plant that grows fast offers very aromatic foliage that smells like aniseed and mint when you go by, and it has pretty, blue-lavender flower spikes that give a lot of food for pollinators from the middle of summer to early fall. It will bloom profusely for a long time, even in the first year you plant it. It also establishes much quicker than most perennials to produce a host of flowers for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators to feed on.
This is a very short-lived perennial that you will have to replace every few years. You should plant it in zones five to nine in a sheltered area from the sun in a well-draining soil. It prefers more alkaline soil, but it can tolerate poor acid in the soil, and you want to water it regularly in low-rainfall areas until it establishes itself. It tops out at 10 feet tall.
10. Golden Hop (Humulus lupulus ‘Aureus’)
Golden Hop is a plant that grows fast and instantly lifts the mood with the stunning yellow-lime coloring, and it’s an excellent climbing plant. It’s a deciduous climber that will produce a thick wall of lime-yellow leaves that warm to a pretty gold in the fall months. It also produces cone-like flowers in the late summer months before the attractive hops take over. It’s also a very pretty wildlife plant, and it supports the Comma butterfly when it’s young.
They climb up to a story or two in a few short weeks, and introducing this flowering vine to your planting design is a great way to expand the edible garden popularity. More ornamental varieties of this plant that grows fast won’t give you a high enough yield for commercial production, but it’s more than enough for a brew hobbyist or a backyard gardener to experiment with. You should plant it in a sheltered location in full sun. The soil should be well-drained but moist, and you should give it support. This plant is well draped over an arch or trellis, and it can grow in partial shade, but you’ll sacrifice some of the bold color. Plant it in zones three to eight and it’ll get up to 20 feet long.
11. Green Onions
This is another very versatile plant that grows fast, and you plant your onions as bulbs. The bulbs will take roughly six months to produce full-sized onions. However, you can get green onion stalks that are ready to harvest in three to four weeks. They taste great as a garnish for soups, and you can add them to stir-fry. If you want something fresh, green, and packed with flavor, green onions are a fantastic choice. They’re ready to go 20 to 30 days from planting, and they grow in zones three to nine.
12. Purple Love Grass (Eragrostis spectabilis)
Purple love grass is a pretty ornamental grass that forms a big mound of deep green foliage, and they’re dotted with a host of pink flowers that fade to fawn coloring between the late summer months and early fall. In sunny gardens, this grass is very quick to establish as a ground cover. Even when you purchase it as a small plant, it will fill in by the end of the first season to give you airy, pink-tinged flowers.
This plant that grows fast prefers a well-drained soil, but it also does well in heavier clay-based soil. The ability of this plant to cover the ground quickly helps to reduce weed growth in young gardens. Also, since it shades the bare soil, it helps retain moisture and keep the temperatures cooler. It doesn’t do well in very cold areas as it grows best in zones five to nine, but it tolerates drought and poor soil well. This plant loves full sun, and it can get up to two feet high.
Radishes take just 25 from sowing to harvest, and this makes them one of the best plants that grow fast for your vegetable garden. They’re also a very beginner-friendly plant to grow. You can sow the seeds in pots as you prepare the soil, and you want to sow them very thinly over the ground with spacing of an inch between plants. Sow smaller batches of this plant until the end of summer to get a continuous crop of this peppery vegetable.
The seedlings on this plant that grows fast will start to pop through the soil in three to five days, and you want to thin them out to give the roots room to expand. Keep the ground free of weeds around the plants, and water them when the weather is dry. Harvest your radishes before they get too large because they can get too hot and take on a woody texture.
14. Salad Greens
Salads offer a host of textures, leaf shapes, and tastes that are very versatile. You can easily grow individual varieties to create a nice salad blend by mixing two or three varieties together before you sow them. A few suitable salad greens include mustards, lettuce, kale, Oriental leaves, and arugula. For the best results, sow a mix of greens for repeat harvesting. Sow the seeds thinly into drills that you space 6 to 10 inches apart.
Cover the seeds and gently pack the soil down before watering along the rows and keeping the soil moist and weed-free as your plants grow. If the summers are really hot in your space, you want to wait a few weeks or put a shade cloth over your plants to reduce temperatures to encourage good germination and growth. Harvesting takes place in just three short weeks, and you can take two or three outside leaves from each plant at a time. This lets the other leaves continue to grow and give you another cut.
15. Rosa ‘Adélaïde d’Orléans’
This award-winning climbing rose is one that dates back to the 19th century. When it blooms in June and July, this plant that grows fast produces a cloud of ivory flowers. The pretty ivory-blush blooms give bees nectar. In full flower, this rose is a show-stopper in your garden. The plant will produce an abundance of flowers at the end of lax stems to give the plant a very elegant and graceful appearance. It’s healthy, vigorous, and full of charm, and since it’s more or less evergreen, it keeps the leaves until early spring.
The stems on this plant are very flexible, and this makes it very easy to train this plant over structures. It works well on pergolas, over a large arch, or even on a medium-sized tree. You should plant it in zones five to nine in a retentive, well-drained soil in full sun to encourage it to get up to 20 feet high.
16. Silver Birch (Betula pendula)
Most people don’t think of trees when they think of plants that grow fast, this one can brighten up your garden in every season using catkins. These are leaves that gracefully shimmer in the wind and take on a golden hue during the fall months. The glossy pale bark is very pretty during the winter months.
Silver birch or Himalayan birch are pretty trees, no matter if you get a multi-stemmed plant or one with single stems. They do well with underplantings of woodland flowers and ferns, and they’re very fast-growing. During the fall months, the leaves turn pretty yellow and the tree offers winter interest with the white trunks and stems when the leaves drop. They grow in well-drained soil in partial shade or full sun, and you can train multi-stemmed cultivars to grow in a specific structure. They grow best in zones four to nine, and they get between 30 and 70 feet high.
17. Snow Peas
Peas are an interesting plant that grows fast to consider in your garden. You may have to plant a lot of them to get a decent harvest at the end of the season. This will give you enough to eat and preserve. So, if you don’t want to do anything with them but eat them, you can plant less. They take around 10 days to germinate, and you can harvest them in roughly 60 days. They grow best in zones 3 to 11.
The succulent-like, smooth leaves of spinach are very versatile. You can easily use them in salads, and they’re the key ingredient in flans or quiches, and you can stir them into pasta dishes or risotto. They’re ready to harvest in 30 days, and you can start new plants each month to enjoy right to the frost. To do so, seed your rows a foot apart, and put the seeds an inch apart before thinning the seedlings to eight inches apart. In hot weather, the plants will quickly bolt, and this makes the leaves bitter. You can stop this by sowing them in light shade during the heat of the day and keeping the ground moist.
Using a sharp knife of scissors, cut your spinach leaves away. Don’t allow the leaves to get too big, and harvest often. You can cover later sowings with row covers to help them grow as the temperatures start to drop off.
19. Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)
Star jasmine is a very rapid climber with oval, glossy foliage that turns a pretty red hue during the winter months. They produce starry ivory flowers that have a very sweet scent. It’s not overwhelming, but it’ll gently sweeten the air. In Southern California, where it is usually dry and hot, this plant stays a glossy, dark evergreen.
To grow this plant that grows fast, you want to plant it in a fertile, well-drained soil in partial shade or full sun. In colder areas, you need a west-facing wall or a sheltered area in full sun. They grow best in zones 8 to 10, and it’ll grow between 13 and 30 feet at full maturity.
20. Sweet Autumn Clematis (C. terniflora)
This clematis plant comes with white star flowers in large clusters at the end of August, and they bloom through September or October. You can plant it in your lower garden if you have a two story house and have no trouble seeing it, and it also goes well on arbors, bowers, or large trellises. It reflects the sunlight and is a showstopper in your late-season garden.
It can get between 8 and 30 feet long when you grow it, and you should put it in well-drained, retentive soil in partial shade or sun. It will die back to the ground in the early spring months, and you can cut it way back. This will encourage strong, new growth in the later summer months. This plant can spread aggressively, but you can remove any flowers to stop it from self-seeding. Also, make sure that you check and see if it’s invasive in your area before you plant it, and you should avoid it if you don’t have time to properly control it.
Finally, the last plant that grows fast on the list is turnips. This is a vegetable that gives you two products in one. Turnips produce a bulb that has a unique flavor profile to it, and you either love them or you hate them. So, you want to try them and see if you like them or not.
Turnips do produce amazing greens as the plant grows. You can boil them, pour off the first boil, and then reboil them to take some of the bitterness away. Then, you can cook your greens with onions, bacon, crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper. This will give you a very tasty side dish. You can harvest your turnip greens in 40 days from sowing them and the bulb in 60 days.
These 21 plants that grow fast make the perfect addition to your garden or yard. You can easily plant several of them in the same space and get shade from the trees, privacy from the shrubs, colorful pops from the flowers, and fresh vegetables and greens. They all work well for late-season planting or for the impatient gardener, so we invite you to go out and try them right now.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.