Easy, Multi-Seasonal Plants

Foxtail fern

Sweet potato vine

Dannette Hunnel

It’s March. It’s springtime, and that means planting to all who enjoy gardening. Unfortunately, many people think, “Why plant now? I’ll soon be leaving for the summer.” Others will think that planting annuals now is labor intensive and expensive, only to lose the plants in the extreme summer heat.

Don’t despair. There are a couple of nice plants to be planted now that will live through the summer, with or without you. As long as they obtain good nutrition and a big daily drink from a sprinkler system, they can be enjoyed for possibly two to three years.

Foxtail fern. A lovely green perennial with bushy stems. They require afternoon shade and morning light (preferably filtered or indirect). The roots consist of large tubers that can store water, making it a durable plant in our highest heat. They are low-maintenance plants; however, foxtails do need to be covered when the temps drop below 32 degrees, and it is suggested to add a tablespoon of Epsom salt mixed with water to the soil twice a year. March and April call for watering two to three times weekly, and May through October, watering should be every day for five to seven minutes. In doing so, this plant will grow year-round.

The other nice plant that is lovely to look at is the trailing sweet potato plant. This is a perennial vine/herb that grows year-round. It gets big and full, with both green and/or dark purple heart-shaped leaves. An organic compost mix in the soil prior to planting gives a small sweet potato plant a nice boost. Also, in the event of yellow leaves, it may require a light pruning (or thinning) so as to keep it “breathing” when it gets too dense. Sweet potatoes can take full sun and live in temps of 32 to 110 degrees. This plant requires the same watering as the foxtail fern and a twice yearly slow-release fertilizer. A healthy sweet potato vine will grow 8 to 10 feet long and up to 12 inches wide. The vine grows small, fragrant flowers, similar to tiny petunias.

Both plants can be placed in pots or in-ground.

This spring, to get your gardening fix and spruce up your yard, try these two long-lasting, easy plants. They are multi-seasonal—good to plant in March and very much worth your time and expense.