Fast-growing outdoor ornamental plants establish rapidly in the landscape and provide color and texture quickly, whereas slow-growers require patience. Use caution when choosing fast-growing plants because some species have a tendency to overtake garden beds and other areas, especially in warm climates. Physical constraints, such as root barriers and growing fast-growing plants in containers are methods to control spreading. Frequent pruning is another way to keep growth in check.
Bamboo species grow very rapidly and care should be taken to limit their spread. Grow in full or partial sun locations in nutrient-rich, loamy soil. Yellow grove bamboo (Phyllostachys aureosulcata) is a an easy-growing, tree-like bamboo reaching 25 feet tall. P. aureosulcata cv. Aureocaulis is an interesting specimen with yellow stems and green stripes at the nodes. It is a vigorous grower and requires a barrier such as heavy gauge plastic to keep its growth in check. Alphonse Karr Bamboo (Bambusa multiplex cv. Alphonse Karr) is a clumping rather than running species of bamboo and does not require extensive containment to control spreading. It is suitable as a tall hedge or barrier planting when spaced 8 feet apart.
Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata), also known as Japanese creeper, is a rapidly growing deciduous vine. Its leaf color varies by cultivar, with colorful, burgundy leaf color displayed in the fall. Boston ivy is a climbing vine that clings with adhesive tips and commonly seen on masonry walls. Grow in evenly moist soil in sun to partial shade locations.
Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is a twining, evergreen vine that forms dense mats of foliage with highly fragrant, funnel-form, small white flowers. It is useful as a quick-growing groundcover and as a method of erosion control in steep soils. Japanese honeysuckle requires frequent pruning if used on fences or trellises. Grow in full sun or partial shade on various soils.
Cannas (Canna x generalis) are tall, upright perennials growing from thick branching rhizomes. Canna size varies by cultivar, from 1-1/2 feet to up to 5 feet tall, with large (up to 2 feet long) foliage and up to 18-inch, colorful, showy flowers of various colors, including: red, pink, yellow, white or variegated, held above the foliage on terminal spikes. Grow cannas in full sun or light shade, in various well-drained, nutrient-rich soils.