Podcast: Let's Argue About Plants

Episode 102: Favorite Self-Sowers

Video by Danielle Sherry and Carol Collins. Edited by Kara Demos.

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.

 

Carol’s Plants

‘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)

 

‘McKanna Giants’ columbine
‘McKanna Giants’ columbine

 

Japanese painted fern
Japanese painted fern

 

Mealycup sage
Mealycup sage

 

‘Hon Tsai Tai’ mustard
‘Hon Tsai Tai’ mustard

 

Danielle’s Plants

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 )

Myrtle spurge
Myrtle spurge

 

Mexican speckled tinantia

Golden jewels of Opar
Golden jewels of Opar

 

Foxglove
Foxglove

 

Expert testimony: Amanda Thomsen is a horticulturist, garden designer, and author based in suburban Chicago.

 

Amanda’s Plants

‘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)

‘Dietrich’s Wild’ broccoli raab, Photo: Amanda Thomsen
‘Dietrich’s Wild’ broccoli raab. Photo: Amanda Thomsen

 

Bronze fennel, Photo: Amanda Thomsen
Bronze fennel. Photo: Amanda Thomsen

 

Purple shiso, Photo: Amanda Thomsen
Purple shiso. Photo: Amanda Thomsen

 

Moonflower, Photo: Amanda Thomsen
Moonflower. Photo: Amanda Thomsen

 

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