What if you could have a garden that basically planted itself? The idea isn’t as far-fetched as you might think. Self-sowing plants are delightfully serendipitous plants that will happily disperse seed without any intervention from you. Yes, there are lots of plants out there that spread indiscriminately and obnoxiously–but those are not the ones we are discussing in this episode. Instead, we’re focusing on an array of perennials, annuals, and even edibles that will create offspring politely—filling in gaps and blank spots in your beds and borders. The English have embraced the idea of self-sowers more readily than gardeners stateside, but on today’s podcast we argue that opportunistic plants have a place in virtually every garden. Listen now to find out which self-sowers dance through our gardens (and driveways).
Expert testimony: Amanda Thomsen is a horticulturist, garden designer, and author based in suburban Chicago.
‘McKanna Giants’ columbine (Aquilegia ‘McKanna Giants’, Zones 3–10)
Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum, Zones 5–8)
Mealycup sage (Salvia farinacea ‘Victoria Blue’ and ‘Victoria White’, Zones 8–10)
‘Hon Tsai Tai’ mustard (Brassica rapa ‘Hon Tsai Tai’, annual)
Myrtle spurge (Euphorbia myrsinites, Zones 5–9)
Mexican speckled tinantia (Tinantia pringlei, Zones 6–10)
Golden jewels of Opar (Talinum paniculatum ‘Aurea’, Zones 9–10)
Foxglove (Digitalis spp. and cvs., Zones 4–9 )
Mexican speckled tinantia
‘Dietrich’s Wild’ broccoli raab (Brassica rapa ‘Dietrich’s Wild’, biennial)
Bronze fennel (Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’, Zones 4–9)
Purple shiso (Perilla frutescens, annual)
Moonflower (Datura innoxia, Zones 9–10)