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12-11-2020

Top 15 Plants for a DIY Nursery

Plant nurseries are places where plants are propagated and grown to a certain age or size. Just like a nursery fosters and nurtures children, plant nurseries do the same for young plants! If you are a hobby gardener, starting a DIY nursery is a great way to take your passion to a new level. In fact, most garden centers outsource their plants from other nurseries – some even run from local backyards. Looking to start your own? Here are the top 15 plants to grow in your DIY nursery. 

 

The Foundation for a DIY Nursery – Ground Covers

 

With high sale costs and rocketing popularity, ground covers are the ideal plants to start your plant nursery. Xeriscaping (landscaping requiring little to no irrigation) is becoming increasingly popular, especially in the western states. Ground covers are the key to a beautiful yard that requires little effort.

 

creeping thyme

Image by HHelene via Shutterstock.

 

Creeping Thyme

Thymus spp.

This hearty spreading herb is first on the DIY nursery list for many reasons. Not only does it have a lovely smell and taste, but its flowers attract native pollinators. It doubles as both a culinary treat and a lovely addition to your pollinator garden. Additionally, creeping thyme is deer resistant and study-enough to withstand footsteps, making it a beautiful ground cover.

Hardiness Zone

4-9

Sun

Full Sun

Soil

Well-draining soil

Water

Water as needed, careful to not let the plant dry out.

 

Creeping Juniper

Juniperus horizontalis

Incredible easy to care for, creeping juniper is the ground cover plant of every fairweather gardeners’ dreams. This low-growing evergreen has fractal branching on its needles. They are usually only about six inches tall, these conifers are a classic groundcover and a must-have for any plant nursery.

Hardiness Zone

3-9

Sun

Full Sun

Soil

Dry, sandy soil

Water

Let soil fully dry out before watering again.

 

Stonecrops

Sedum spp.

Another ground cover plant with flowers, stonecrops have succulent, light green leaves that turn reddish in the winters of colder climates. Also an evergreen, they will thrive year-round and are a popular investment for a DIY nursery.

Hardiness Zone

5-8

Sun

Full Sun

Soil

Well-draining soils

Water

Dry to medium watering

 

lavender

Image by fatum83 via Shutterstock.

 

Lavender

Lavendula spp.

With silvery green leaves and upright spikes of purple, lavender plants make a name for themselves even before you consider their calming fragrance and culinary uses. All lavenders are native to the Mediterranian, but some varieties are more cold tolerant, such as English lavender. Whichever type you choose, lavenders have been a staple of herb gardens for ages.    

Hardiness Zone

5-8

Sun

Full Sun

Soil

Well-draining, alkaline

Water

Dry to medium watering

 

Lamb’s Ear

Stachys byzantina

A favorite of kids and adults alike, lamb’s ear has incredible soft, fuzzy leaves. Silver-gray in color, each leaf looks just like its namesake – a lamb’s ear! In warmer climates, the leaves will persist throughout the year, making them a great choice for gardeners that love evergreens.

Hardiness Zone

4-8

Sun

Full Sun

Soil

Well-draining soils

Water

Dry to medium watering

 

Best Grasses for a DIY Nursery

 

With amazing versatility, grasses can be used as groundcovers, privacy screens, pond ornamentation, and eyecatching centerpieces! From species that are taller than people to tiny grasses with intricate flowers, these plants are also generally tough and low maintenance – a landscaper’s dream. So your DIY nursery wouldn’t be complete without propagating some of the most popular grass species. 

 

Pampas Grass

Cortederia spp.

The classic tall grass, you will recognize pampas grasses by their huge feathery plumes that top 6-10 foot tall stalks. With a fluff of grey-green foliage, these plants are aesthetically charming and incredibly tolerant.

Hardiness Zone

6-11

Sun

Full Sun to partial shade

Soil

Moist, well-draining soil

Water

Moderate watering

 

Little Bluestem

Schizachyrium spp.

A clumping grass, little bluestem is known for its blue-green coloration that turns a gorgeous auburn in the fall. Also known as beardgrass because of its clumping look, little bluestem is a native to the North American plains that will create a prairie ambiance wherever it is grown.

Hardiness Zone

3-9

Sun

Full sun

Soil

Well-draining soil, very tolerant

Water

Dry to moderate watering

 

Blue Oat Grass

Helictotrichon spp.

Another lovely silvery blue plant, blue oat grass will stay green throughout the year in most climates. Their delicate tawny flowers stand high above the silver leaves, making this plant look quite majestic during the mid-summer. 

Hardiness Zone

4-9

Sun

Full sun

Soil

Dry and well-draining

Water

Low to moderate watering

 

fescue

Image by David R. Butler via Shutterstock.

 

Fescues

Festuca spp.

A clumping grass, fescues can create a mystical effect in a garden. Each clump looks like silvery blue fuzz balls that are reminiscent of sea urchins. Not only are they beautiful, but they are also versatile too! They can be planted in garden beds, containers, and make a great companion plant for succulents.

Hardiness Zone

4-7 (depends on species)

Sun

Full sun

Soil

Very tolerant, can handle clay and sand

Water

Moderate, infrequent watering

 

blue grama grass

Image by islavicek via Shutterstock.

 

Blue Grama Grass

Bouteloua spp.

Also called toothbrush grass, blue grama seed heads look just like a toothbrush or comb, with all the bristles extending on one side of the stem. The different species boast a variety of shades and some even have seedheads with a delightful curl. They can tolerate high heat and extreme colds as well as being drought tolerant – a great plant for the xeriscaped garden.

Hardiness Zone

4-7

Sun

Full sun

Soil

Well-draining, loose soil.

Water

Low to moderate, very drought tolerant.

 

Trees and Shrubs for a DIY Nursery

 

If you want to turn your DIY nursery into a full-fledged business, there’s no question that you will want to include some shrub and tree saplings. They are known to turn the highest profits and don’t shy away from them because trees are so much larger than herbaceous plants. You’d be surprised how many 5 gallon pots can fit in a relatively small space. Growing trees and shrubs in your nursery will attract local gardeners as well as landscaping businesses. Here are some of the more popular types that you should consider for your nursery.

 

forsythia

Image by Cristina Ionescu via Shutterstock.

 

Forsythia

Forsythia spp.

A deciduous shrub in the olive family, forsythias are known for their flowers. Each spring, these bushes will explode with yellow flowers. Every one of the long (sometimes 10 feet!) stems will be completely covered with flowers. Needless to say, forsythias make quite the statement piece.

Hardiness Zone

5-8

Sun

Full sun to partial shade

Soil

Well-draining soil

Water

Medium moisture

 

Hydrangea

Hydrangea spp.

With over 70 species and hundreds of cultivars, you’ll have many options to choose from if you propagate hydrangeas. But it will be well worth it. Hydrangeas are known for their showy flowers and extended blooming season.

Hardiness Zone

4-9

Sun

Partial sun to full shade

Soil

Moist, well-draining soil

Water

Moderate watering

 

Witch Hazel

Hamamelis spp.

These deciduous shrubs are easy to care for and boast pretty, fragrant flowers, making them a very popular ornamental shrub. Many species bloom in the fall or even in the winter, so you can expect beautiful foliage year-round. Additionally, witch hazel is known for its medicinal properties. It is an astringent and can treat acne, swelling, and bruising. 

Hardiness Zone

3-8

Sun

Full Sun

Soil

Well-draining soils

Water

Medium watering

 

japanese maple

Image by TOMO via Shutterstock.

 

Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum

A favorite tree of many, the Japanese maple has attractive, colorful foliage in spring, summer, and fall. Growing both as a shrub and a tree, this deciduous plant is native to East Asia. The palmate leaves stand apart from other maples with a greater number of lobes. 

Hardiness Zone

5-8

Sun

Full sun to partial shade

Soil

Moist, organically rich, slightly acidic soils

Water

Medium watering

 

Willow Trees

Salix spp.

Famous for their variety of colored branches along with their usefulness in basket making, willows are becoming a more frequent landscaping choice. They are low-maintenance, easy to propagate, and affordable. From a utilitarian perspective, they are great soil-stabilizers and make a great barrier.

Hardiness Zone

3-10

Sun

Full Sun

Soil

Slight acidic, moist soil.

Water

Moderate water, the soil should be kept moist.

Whether you choose to grow groundcovers, ornamental grasses, saplings, or a mixture of all three, any of these plants will be a great choice for your DIY nursery. Now that you have an idea of what plants to grow, get out your green thumbs and spades, and start growing!

 

Featured Image by PORNPIPAT CHAROENTHAI via Shutterstock.

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