It's easy to become jaded against plants that are seen too commonly out in gardens. Common plants however are often common because they provide so many benefits to the garden, often proving themselves to be versatile, easy to grow and attractive to the eye. Mixing common tried-and-true yard plants with more exotic species will yield a unique garden any gardener can be proud of.
Morning glory (Ipomoea tricolor) is a fast-growing perennial vine native to the tropics of Mexico and Central and South America. The easy-to-grow vine boasts large, broad leaves and funnel-shaped blue and white flowers. The plant is best grown in full sun in USDA zones 10 to 11, though it may also be grown as a frost tender annual in temperate climates. Morning glory prefers a well-drained soil that is watered only occasionally. The vine can be largely left alone to scamper over trellises, fences and other structures where its showy blooms can be admired.
A member of the aster/daisy family, the marigold (Tagetes patula) is a hardy annual native to Mexico and Central America. Marigolds boast bushy blue green foliage accented by cheery orange, yellow or red blooms (and often a combination of all three colors). The plant is a common garden plant for its ease of growth and its remarkable lack of pests. Marigolds are best suited for cultivation in USDA zones 9 to 11, though they can be grown as tender annuals in almost any zone. Marigolds prefer full sunlight with a well-drained soil. Though drought tolerant, they should be watered occasionally. A weekly application of water-soluble fertilizer in the spring and summer will keep the plant flowering prolifically.
The common sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is a colorful annual native to Central Canada, North America and Mexico. The plant can be grown in just about any climate zone so long as it gets plenty of sunlight. Sunflowers boast huge yellow flowers atop tall, stiff stalks of greenery. The seeds from the flower are a popular commercial snack and also attract legions of birds to the garden. Sunflowers do best in a neutral to slightly alkaline well-drained soil. They won't do well in acidic soils, so add a little lime to bring down the acidity if necessary. Sunflowers are fast growing and easy to care for, making them popular plants.