Hop online and perform a quick search, and you can find hundreds of lists of the fastest growing plants. Most people enjoy these lists because they want to know the basics of fast-growing plant. The problem is, while anybody can find the basic how-tos on planting and caring for these plants, they are not always going to work.
Instant gratification is sweet, but there is so much more to consider when it comes to the picking and choosing the fastest growing trees and plants for your home and yard. One of the biggest downfalls to these generic lists is that many of them do not take into account the conditions of your growing zones.
We strongly recommend comparing the fastest growing plants from our list with information from your local botanical gardens, local nurseries, or even your state’s Extension Services. These places consider local growing conditions, so they can and will provide useful information on the best choices for the fastest growing plant in your growing area.
15 Fast Growing Plants to Spruce up Your Landscape
Can You Speed Up Growing Time of Plants?
Fast growing plants only grow as fast as their roots allow and are short-lived plants as they are more likely to die from problems. Smaller plants and trees grow quicker than bigger versions of the same plant and tree because of the root ratio. These smaller versions grow fast as they feature a larger proportion of roots to top growth.
The extensive root ratio allows for faster establishment, so the plant and tree can put all its energy into top growth, allowing it to grow taller. Larger versions cannot continue top growth until their root systems catch up and run a higher risk of dying as you wait for that to happen.
Fast Growing Plants Must be Planted Right
If you, like so many others, want quick results, you have to select your plants carefully and plant them right. Soil preparation goes a long way into making small plants proliferate. The correct soil preparation ensures you don’t overdo it.
Too much of one thing can drastically alter your soil’s pH levels, making growing conditions less than ideal. Once the soil is prepped to the plants liking, you can start planting. After putting each plant in the ground, add a thick layer of mulch.
Rather than frequent shallow watering, opt for a deep watering every few days to encourage deep root growth. Fertilize sparingly, to not encourage too much top growth until the lateral roots can support it properly.
Set Realistic Expectations for a Fast Growing Plant
You can do everything right, choosing the best plant, prepping the soil perfectly, feeding and watering it, but you cannot expect a miracle. The fastest growing plants still take time to set root and start growing.
You can anticipate the best growth by about the third year of planting. If you are planting trees for shade or fast growing privacy plants, use some building materials to create temporary shade or privacy until established.
North Privet (Ligustrum x ibolium) – Fast Growing Shrub
The North Privet is a semi-evergreen shrub with a growth rate of three feet per year, which makes it the fastest growing hedge in America. The rapid growth rate makes the North Privet an excellent choice for a privacy screen or privacy hedges. If growing as a hedge, begin shearing early, as that encourages thick layers of branches for an extremely dense hedge.
North Privet does well when planted in zones 4 through 8. For optimal growing conditions, plant this shrub in areas where it will receive a minimum of four hours of direct sunlight. In terms of soil, the North Privet does well in either acidic or alkaline soils, but the sandy to silty loam soil needs to be fertile and moist with excellent drainage.
Hybrid Poplar (Populus deltoids)
Hybrid Poplar’s biggest claim to fame is how fast they grow. It is not unheard of to see growth between 5 to 8 feet a year. The rapid growth rate of the cottonless tree makes it an excellent choice for fast growing shade trees.
It also aids in stabilizing hillsides and works to create a screen of privacy along driveways in the country. Do not use as a windscreen, as occasional limb breaking does occur. Growing best in zones 3 through 9, you can expect the mature size of these fast growing trees to reach up to 50 feet tall with a 30-foot spread.
You will often see the growth of about 24 inches per year when planted in ideal conditions. The Hybrid Poplar requires at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day and does well in wet, alkaline or even acidic soils.
Fastest Growing Fruit Plant – Red Delicious Apple ( Malus domestica)
In North America, there are over 2,500 varieties of apple trees, but the most popular one is Red Delicious. The fruit offers a mild flavor with a long storage life. The fast growing tree can reach up to 25 feet tall with a 25 foot spread once fully mature.
They also sell semi-dwarf and dwarf varieties that don’t grow nearly as tall. This fruit tree is successfully grown in zones 5 through 8 and grows up to 24 inches each year. For optimal growing, the tree requires a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight and regular watering.
The tree grows well in well-draining, acidic soil that is kept moist. The tree, even once established, is not drought-tolerant.
Bamboo Plant (Bambusoideae)
With bamboo growth rates of up to 35 inches per day, the Guinness World Record for fastest growing plants goes to one certain species in the 45 genera of bamboo. An eco-friendly plant, bamboo is considered a fast growing grass and is native to numerous countries with tropical climates, including South America, Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Australia.
Commonly referred to as Tortoise-Shell bamboo or Moso bamboo, Phyllostachys edulis can reach heights between 25 to 60 feet tall and does best in zones 8 and 9. Plant this species of bamboo in full sun to part shade in well-draining soil that is fertile and moist.
These species can also grow in patio containers in colder zones so they may be brought inside during winter. No matter what species of bamboo you are growing, they will all flower at the same time regardless of what part of the world you are in.
Leyland Cypress (Cupressocyparis leylandii)
As one of the fastest-growing evergreen trees, the Leyland Cypress is also known for its slender shape and is quite popular through several regions of the United States. The evergreen tree does well in various climate conditions and soil types and provides color year-round. As a sterile hybrid, this tree fairs quite well in Christmas tree farms, but also provides an excellent windbreak or border along boundary lines.
The Leyland Cypress thrives in zones 6 through 10 and, under optimal growth conditions, will reach heights of up to 70 feet with a 25-foot spread. With a growth rate of about 24 inches per year, it is easy to see why this evergreen tree is such a popular choice. The Leyland Cypress requires a minimum of six hours of direct sun and will grow well in well-draining clay or sandy soil.
Fast Growing Pot Plant – Chinese Fringe Flower (Loropetalum chinese)
For a fast growing flowering plant, look at the Chinese Fringe Flower that offers deep red leaves with beautiful fringy white or pink flowers during the spring. The only downfall is the blooms only last for a few weeks before falling off, but they do make a lovely carpet of color on the ground.
Chinese Fringe Flower is best grown in zones 8 through 10, but some have had success with it in zone 7. The best type to plant in your backyard depends on what you are after, as some offer a more compact size, making them an excellent choice for pots. Whether in the ground or containers, these plants require full sun but can tolerate some shade. They also do best in fertile soil, but there has been some success with clay soil.
Coral Bark Japanese Maple Tree (Acer palmatum ‘Sango Kaku’)
A small but beautiful tree, the Coral Bark Japanese Maple has coral red bark on its younger branches. The best part is that the color of the branches intensifies throughout the winter.
Paired with the red bark are pale green leaves with red margins. These leaves change to a golden yellow in the fall before dropping off.
The deciduous tree does well in bright areas with shady spots or full sun, depending on the climate in the region. Warmer climates require some shade, while colder areas produce the best trees with full sun.
The fast growing tree thrives in zones 5 through 8 with regular watering and filtered to full sun. Once mature, the tree reaches up to 25 feet tall with a 20-foot widespread.
Blue Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Nikko’)
Of all the hydrangea plant species, the Blue Hydrangea is the most popular, as it is an excellent addition to almost any landscape. During the summer months, these woody plants produce large, long-lasting blooms that appear similar to a mophead to provide splashes of color throughout your landscaped garden. Bloom colors change based on your soil’s pH levels.
Hydrangeas work as a hedge or a stand-alone plant that grows well in zones 6 through 9. A growth rate of 24 inches per year should give you an idea of how long it takes to reach full maturity of 6 feet tall and 6 feet wide. The deciduous shrub requires regular watering as the soil needs to be kept evenly moist. Use natural insect repellent for plants to keep pests away.
Asian Jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticium) – Fastest Growing Flowering Plant
If you need a fast growing ground cover for your garden, you need to consider Asian Jasmine. Not only does the plant spread quickly, but it is also durable enough to thrive in zones 8 through 10. Asian Jasmine grows so fast it is often considered invasive so you must prune it consistently to keep its growth in check. One of the great things about Asian Jasmine is how simple it is to grow.
It also provides a consistent green color to areas that have difficulty growing other ground covers or plants. The name of the plant doesn’t come from being related to the jasmine family, but rather from the scent it emits.
It only blooms in the warmer regions, but when it does, you will see white flowers in the shape of a pinwheel. The ground cover grows similar to a vine and features stems that are brownish-red with glossy green leaves of up to 2 inches long.
Neem Tree (Azadirachta indica)
A fast-growing tree, the Neem Tree caught the eyes of gardeners recently because of how useful it is. Native to Asia and tropical India, the oil is one of the most sought after parts of the tree as it is used as an effective herbicide and is a natural insect repellent. Neem oil is an excellent fungus gnats home remedy.
Neem trees are incredibly hardy, as they can withstand temperatures of up to 120°F. Neem trees do not do well in colder climates, so avoid anything lower than 35°F.
These trees require a lot of bright sunlight with regular watering in well-draining soil. Do not overwater as this can kill the tree.
Oleander (Nerium oleander)
For a fast growing plant that can handle a lot of carbon dioxide, add the evergreen shrub Oleander to your garden. Native to parts of southeast Asia and the Mediterranean regions, Oleander is a tough, but versatile plant for your landscape. The sword-shaped leaves pair nicely with showy flowers in a variety of colors that bloom during the summer months.
The shrub grows well in zones 8 through 10 and how fast depends on its growing conditions. Oleander reaches heights of 12 feet with a 10-foot spread and under the best situations, grows up to 2 feet a year.
For optimal growth, plant Oleander in an area that receives full sun in soil that is high in salt. As a drought-tolerant plant, it only requires 2 inches of water a week.
Fast Growing Plant – Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum)
As a fast growing annual, the Nasturtium not only is easy to grow, but the flowers and leaves are both edible. These plants work great in pots alongside your patio or make an excellent ground cover in beds and emit a pleasant fragrance, making them an excellent choice for cut flowers.
These plants should be planted in the early spring — plant in locations in full sun with moist, well-draining soil. Planting in fertile soil decreases the number of showy blooms that appear, so be careful not to over-fertilize.
Water plants regularly without overwatering during the growing season and deadhead spent flowers as this extends the blooming period.
Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii)
A deciduous shrub that is considered fast-growing, the Butterfly Bush features massive blooms of brightly colored flowers from summer to fall. As the name suggests, the plant does attract butterflies, but not all colors attract them. Sometimes referred to as summer lilacs, this plant grows in zones 5 through 8 and requires very little maintenance.
The Butterfly Bush was initially imported from China and is listed as an invasive species in several US regions. Despite its name, the plant is not necessary for the life cycle of butterflies, as only adults use it for nectar. This plant requires well-draining fertile soil in full sun.
Wave Petunias (Petunia x hybrid)
These plants were introduced to the world of gardening in 1995. Before that time, petunias only had a 12-inch spread. Wave petunias increased the range to 4 feet with a height of 7 inches. These plants are best grown in zones 10 and 11 if you are looking for a perennial. In all other zones, it is an annual.
For optimal growing, these plants require a minimum of six hours of sunlight. The more sunlight received, the better the flowering ability of the plant. Plant in locations that have soil you can keep evenly moist and use a slow-release fertilizer when feeding.
Deadheading is no longer necessary to encourage more blooming. These easy to grow and care for plants work well in hanging baskets or along the edges of garden beds where they can create a spilling effect.
Marigold (Tagetes) – Fastest Growing Plant
If you want a cheerful-looking plant that is fast and easy to grow, look no further than Marigolds. The flowers bring in a variety of gold, brass, and copper tones during the summer and fall. Blooms of these plants look similar to daisies and appear alone or in bunches. The best time to plant these fast growing flowers varies based on the specific type you are planting, but spring to midsummer is typical.
When selecting a planting location, you want something in full sun. Marigolds are known for their ability to withstand some pretty hot temperatures. Shaded areas allow the plant to fall victim to powdery mildew and sporadic blooming.
Ideally, you want well-draining, fertile soil, but Marigolds have proven they can grow in all soil conditions. For bushier plants, pinch off the tops of the plants, and while they don’t require deadheading, this encourages more blooms.
Thank you for reading about the fastest growing plants for your garden. If you found any of our fast growing plant ideas useful, please share your favorite fastest growing plant with others on Facebook and Pinterest.