Fast-growing plants help us make the most of every moment.
The impactful plants below include everything from top-performing annuals that bloom big and bloom early to legendary fast-growing trees and shrubs.
What’s the Hurry?
Many situations invite the need for fast-growing plants.
Hosting an upcoming event? Make it spectacular by speedily filling in the outdoor spaces with luxurious blooming growers.
Just moving in? Nothing makes a house a home like dynamic, swiftly emerging greenery and blossoms.
Time to move out? Create instant appeal with fast-growing plants to inspire potential home buyers.
Unfortunate neighbors causing an eyesore? Plant some vigorous vines or a sky-reaching hedge to screen the view and create some privacy.
Plants that Win the Race – Growth Rate
Plants known for their vigorous growth come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.
Mounding, sprawling, trailing, and climbing rapidly growing annuals, perennials, and vines put on abundant growth seemingly before your eyes.
Energetic vigorous trees and shrubs put on 2 feet to an astounding 10 feet of growth per year!
For instant impact, begin with the biggest plants available to fill your space and meet your budget.
For example, start a hedge with 2- to 3-year-old plant stock that is healthy and of a good size.
Mature, large perennials can surpass expectations by reaching heights and widths of over 6 feet per year.
For a low-cost effect, scatter seeds of abundant and glorious annual flowers such as cosmos for a quick but significant result.
3 Tricks to Speed Up Plant Growth
1. Put the right plant in the right place.
Plants grow fastest in their comfort zone. Know your zone and choose plants that thrive in your climate.
2. Optimize moisture levels and soil conditions.
Meet your plant’s optimal growing conditions for soil pH, nutrient needs, and moisture levels as thirsty, hungry plants have slow, stunted growth.
3. Give room to grow.
Crammed plants can’t grow to their full potential. Choose plants that will fill the available space at their mature size.
Fast Growing Plants for Instant Impact
1. Marigolds (Tagetes)
Marigolds, in all their glorious variations, are reliable performers with abundant red, yellow, and orange flowers.
They thrive in full sun in average well-draining soil with medium moisture requirements.
2. Petunias (Petunia)
The popular sprawling, mounding, and trailing petunia varieties grow 2 to 3 feet tall and wide, with a vast array of bloom styles and color variations.
Petunias reach full size by late spring with self-cleaning hybrids being especially low maintenance. They thrive in full sun in well-drained moist soils.
3. Nasturtium (Tropaeolum)
Great for kids, nasturtium sprout quickly in 10 days, and are blooming in 60 days with cheerful edible red, orange, yellow, or white flowers.
Nasturtium’s famously edible leaves, flowers and seeds are easy to grow in the garden, loving full sun, in well-draining moist soils.
4. Sunflower (Helianthus)
Planted from seed, annual sunflowers come in adorable dwarf types, multi-branched varieties, or mammoth single-stemmed giants that may reach over 12 feet tall.
The vibrant sunny disc flowers are red, yellow, and orange which prefer full sun and medium, well-draining soil.
5. Zinnia (Zinnia)
Perfect to direct sow in the garden, zinnias germinate in 4 to 7 days, and bloom their rich colorful flowers in only 50 to 55 days!
In pink, purple, red, yellow, orange, white, and even green, zinnias are a fast filler in full sun with regular moisture.
6. Cosmos (Cosmos)
Surprisingly durable, cosmos frilly, papery blossoms come in pastel shades to bright vibrant colors of red, pink, yellow, orange, and white.
Easily sown from seed, cosmos perform even in poor soil, preferring full sun and average moisture.
7. Daylily (Hemerocallis)
Reaching heights of 2 to 3 ½ feet, daylilies spring up quickly each spring with lush, grass-like arching foliage, and delightful lily-like flowers in almost every imaginable shade.
Hardy in zones 3 to 9, daylily thrive in full sun, are long-lived perennials that are drought tolerant.
8. Rose Mallow (Hibiscus)
Perennial hibiscus gain height quickly, reaching 4 to 4 ½ feet tall each season, and displaying large, delightful blossoms.
Hardy in zones 4 to 9, these lush, vigorous growers thrive in moist soils in full to part shade.
9. Goat’s Beard (Aruncus dioicus)
This North American native plant blooms white feathery plumes in early summer atop dense vibrant growth that reaches 4 to 5 feet tall.
Goat’s beard performs in sun and shade, is cold-tolerant, being hardy in zones 3 to 7.
10. False Indigo (Baptisia)
Quickly reaching 4 to 4 ½ feet tall, false indigo is a native to North America boasting tall spires of flowers in late spring.
Found throughout the US and southern Canada, baptisia lives in zones 4 to 9, preferring full to part sun.
11. Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
This sub-shrub or woody perennial puts on grand growth up to 6 feet tall with abundant, 1-foot-long, arching flower panicles that attract bountiful beneficial insects.
Butterfly bush is happiest planted in full sun in zones 5 to 10.
*Be sure to plant non-invasive and seedless varieties as this nectar-rich plant competes out important native plants. This reduces habitat for the beneficial insects we intend to support.
12. Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus)
Sweet peas are beyond obsession-worthy with their addictive fragrance and abundant blossoms ranging in blue, purple, pink, red, and white.
The annual vines grow incredibly well from seed, reaching 6 to 8 feet. They love regular moisture in rich, well-draining soil and bloom best in full sun.
13. Morning Glory (Ipomoea tricolor)
The well-named morning glory host heart-shaped leaves and tubular flowers of blue, pink, red, purple, white, and yellow that close during the afternoon heat.
In moist, well-draining soil, plant morning glory in full sun for 8-to-10-foot vigorous annual vines that will climb on provided supports, clamber over ground, or trail out of containers and baskets.
14. Scarlet Runner Bean (Phaseolus coccineus)
This frost-tender annual amasses abundant growth quickly and produces true scarlet red flowers followed by edible snap beans.
Be sure to provide strong supports for the heavy vines that reach up to 12 feet in length. They prefer moist well-draining soil in full sun.
15. Wisteria (Wisteria)
Choose non-invasive American wisteria (W. frutescens) or Kentucky wisteria (W. macrostachya) for vigorous hardy vines that bloom fragrantly in spring.
The vines are hardy in zones 5 to 9. Provide support in full sun for the aggressive 25 to 35 feet vines. They prefer moist, well-drained soils.
16. Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans)
The trumpet flowers are born in clusters blazing red, orange, and yellow on this aggressive native plant that requires strong supports.
In zones 4 to 9, trumpet vine may put on as much as 40 feet of growth in a season. Have your pruners ready and plant trumpet vine away from structures that it may damage such as homes and foundations.
17. Clematis (Clematis)
With over 300 species of deciduous, woody-stemmed clematis, these flowering vines are incredibly popular, producing abundant blooms in white, pink, purple, red, and bicolor.
Most clematis prefers full sun with shaded roots. Many are hardy in zones 4 to 11, growing quickly to 30 feet or more. Some are everblooming while some varieties are either spring or summer/fall blooming.
18. Hops (Humulus lupulus)
The botanical name of hops translates to ‘wolf among weeds’, hinting at the aggressive nature of this vine that can grow up to a foot a day.
The lush green growth and ornamental cones, twine, climb, and clamber over structures and up supports up to 25 feet in zones 3 to 9.
19. Purple Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum)
Purple fountain grass is an annual ornamental grass that grows 3 to 5 feet tall, 2 to 4 feet wide, and blooms burgundy red in summer and fall.
It prefers moist, well-draining soil in full sun to partial shade. The feather seed heads make a wonderful cut or dried flower.
Related Reading: How To Grow Purple Fountain Grass – Everything You Need To Know
20. Switch Grass (Panicum)
This fast-growing perennial ornamental grass is a North American prairie native.
Switchgrass can reach 6 feet tall and is hardy in zones 3 to 9.
21. Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis)
This tidy, upright, dense, clump-forming grass looks great all year, even in winter.
Feather reed grass grows 3 to 5 feet tall and 1 ½ to 2 ½ feet wide in hardiness zones 4 to 9.
22. Common Caragana (Caragana arborescens)
This fast-growing, tough shrub is smothered in pea-like yellow flowers in late spring.
Caragana is a dense, dark green shrub that reaches 20 feet tall by 10 feet wide, making it an ideal quick, drought-tolerant screen or hedge in zones 2 to 7.
23. Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea)
Red osier dogwood provides fast growth and full four seasons of interest with white blossoms in spring and dense glossy green foliage all summer. The foliage turns deep maroon in fall creating the perfect backdrop to clusters of white berries.
The striking bright red stems stand out all winter on this abundant 6 to 9 feet tall, upright shrub in zones 3 to 8.
24. Forsythia (Forsythia)
Forsythia is famous for its bright yellow, earliest-of-the-early, spring-blooming branches. This is because forsythia stems are smothered in golden flowers even before the leaves emerge.
Large forsythia varieties gain over 2 feet of growth per year, growing up to 10 feet tall and wide, thriving in zones 4 to 9.
25. Smooth Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)
A hardy, fast-growing hydrangea variety that blooms white globes June through September.
A great plant for wet areas in part shade, smooth hydrangea grows 3 to 5 feet tall and wide and is hardy in zones 3 to 9.
26. Trembling Aspen (Populus tremuloides)
For filling a large area quickly, trembling aspen forms beautiful colonies of trees with smooth bark and quaking leaves which turn golden yellow in the fall.
Reaching heights of 40 to 50 feet, this North American native tree thrives in full sun, moist soils in zones 2 to 7.
27. Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera)
Striking in winter, the white peeling bark of paper birch is just one of its many attractive qualities which include dangling catkins in spring and vibrant green leaves which turn bright yellow in fall.
This fast-growing tree loves moist to wet soils in sun to part shade, grows 50 to 70 feet tall in zones 2 to 6.
28. Amur Chokecherry (Prunus maackii)
Amur chokecherry does it all, red bark for winter interest, fast growth, fragrant spring blossom, edible summer berries, native to North America, drought and moist tolerant, and attractive to birds and butterflies.
Hardy in zones 2 to 7, Amur chokecherry grows to 40 feet in full sun to part shade.
29. Elm (Ulmus)
New varieties of elm have been developed to be resistant to Dutch Elm Disease, allowing this large, very fast-growing, broad, oval tree to gain in popularity.
Elm varieties prefer full sun, are hardy in zones 5 to 9, and may put on over 3 feet of growth per year reaching 100 to 130 feet in height.
30. Amur Maple (Acer ginnala)
A perfect tree for small spaces, amur maple has pretty, red-winged seeds in spring, and the brilliant fall color that maple trees are famous for.
This non-native tree hails from northeast Asia, tolerates full sun to part shade, is hardy in zones 3 to 8, and stays tidy at 15 to 20 feet tall.
31. Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica)
Willow trees and shrubs are known for their fast growth, however, weeping willows’ graceful, delicately dangling branches can gain over 10 feet of growth per season!
Filling the sky up to 50 feet tall and wide, weeping willow trees, hardy in zones 4 to 10, love rich moist soils in full sun.
Make the most of every moment with appealing, fast-growing plants to create privacy, fill in space, and provide instant impact!