Plants for the Yard

With so many plant species available both through local nurseries and online stores, it can be hard to know where to start when adding plants to your yard. Beginners may want to start with a few tried and true plant varieties that will grow well even if they're occasionally neglected.


Peppermint (Mentha X piperita) is a vigorous member of the mint family that will grow quickly and easily with little to no attention. The perennial herb boasts pointed green leaves and small blooms, which appear in the spring. Peppermint is primarily grown for its fantastically aromatic foliage, which can be enjoyed in the ground or dried in a potpourri. The plant is commonly used to make herbal tea, or as a garnish in cooking. Peppermint grows with ease in USDA zones 3 to 7. The plant will grow in either partial sun or full sun, in a moisture-retentive or well-draining soil. The plant loves water and will do best in areas that get lots of rain.

Century Plant

A native of North America and Mexico, century plant (Agave americana) is a large species of agave that boasts enormous succulent leaves that can grow to be 6 feet in length. Though rare in cultivation, mature plants produce towering stalks of showy flowers. The plant looks lovely as a specimen plant in a rock or cactus garden, or in a row with others of its kind. Century plant is well suited to cultivation in USDA zones 8B to 11A. As a desert plant, century plant should be grown in full sunlight, in very well-drained rocky or sandy soil. Avoid watering the plant, as too much water will quickly cause harm.

Common Snapdragon

A member of the figwort family, the common snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) is a short-lived perennial native to North Africa and parts of the Mediterranean. Grown in temperate climates throughout the world, snapdragons are popular plants for borders and flowerbeds. Snapdragons boast upright clusters of blooms in a range of colors, from pink to red, orange, yellow, purple and white. Fast growing and versatile, snapdragons do best in USDA zones 4 to 11. The plant requires a well-drained, organic soil, and full sunlight if possible. Water the plant frequently until the snapdragon is established, then water occasionally to keep the soil moist to the touch.

Keywords: plant types, yard plants, plant species

About this Author

Michelle Wishhart is a writer based out of Astoria, Ore. She has been writing professionally for five years, starting with her position as a staff arts writer for an alternative weekly paper in Santa Cruz. She has a B.A. in fine arts from the University of California in Santa Cruz and a minor in English literature.