Versatile plants?! You are probably wondering what that means and what they are! If you are new to gardening, choosing plants for your garden can be quite challenging.
So I came up with 5 plant suggestions you may want to consider.
In this article, I’ll talk about 5 versatile plants to consider growing in your garden.
What does versatile plants?
In my (own) definitions, they are plants that can be used in more than 3 ways. Like furoshiki wraps, I like a plant that offers lots of usage with different outcomes!
More specifically, I grow them due to their practicality for sustainable living.
5 versatile plants you should grow
Plant Choice #1 – Sunflower (the tall one)
Some sunflowers are huge like this one I had last year. As you can see, it was very tall and the stem was thick and strong. There are at least 3 ways you can use them.
Who doesn’t like some sunflowers in a vase? They most definitely give you joy and add some colour to your space. Additionally, these huge leaves can be used as a bouquet wrap!
Eat/Feed the seeds
Many people roast sunflower seeds to enjoy their flavour. Others feed the birds and squirrels. It’s fun to watch how squirrels eat the seeds but they are such messy eaters!
Use as a trellis
This is why I mentioned ‘the tall one’. What you can do is grow some climber plants like beans, peas, or cucumbers next to a sunflower. Since the stem is solid, it provides great support for vines. Either fresh or dried, they are great helpers for other plants to grow.
The Sunflower surely makes the list as one of the versatile plants for its practicality.
Plant Choice #2 – Lavender
It’s one of the easiest plants to grow. And many benefits come with lavender. Although it’s a natural repellent for bugs like mosquitoes, it attracts many pollinators like bees and butterflies.
There are 4 different ways you can enjoy lavender.
Accessories for a gift
As you can see in the picture, lavender adds nice colour as an accessory. It’s always nice to use lavender since it doesn’t wilt as quickly as a rose. But like a rose, it’s fragrant and people enjoy the eco-friendly look.
This is quite obvious, but it makes such a pretty bouquet/arrangement to add colour to your life.
Since lavender is edible, many people use lavender for cooking & garnishing. If you add it as a garnish, your dish might look like it’s from a five-star restaurant!
Brewing lavender tea for relaxation is also another way of enjoying lavender.
Make Aroma oil/Sachet/Soap
If you are a DIY enthusiast, you can create your own aroma oil, sachet, and soap. As you can imagine, it would be a great gift for any occasion.
Lavender should definitely be one of your plant choices because of its diversity.
Plant Choice #3 – Climbing Beans
Just like lavender, climbing beans are easy to grow and produce tasty beans. Unlike peas, you don’t have to worry about diseases or bugs except for deer!
Here are 3 ways you can enjoy climbing beans.
Eat Fresh Beans
As I mentioned earlier, climbing beans are low maintenance as long as you put a pole/trellis for them to climb upon. They produce tons of beans that you’ll want to share with your neighbours.
One thing I have to mention is that the beans are hard to see. So if you want tender beans, make sure to look at the beanstalk from different angles.
While some people eat them raw, they should be cooked to avoid upset stomachs, e.t.c.
Another way to enjoy beans is to dry them. When you harvest the fully grown beans, simply leave them somewhere cool and dry.
Just to clarify, you need to keep the bean pods inside the shell. Once the beans are dry, you will see the colour change, hear the rattle, and the shell will open up by itself.
It’s a great way to preserve food for winter.
Craft with Bean Stalk
If you like crafts, this is a must-have plant just like lavender. For instance, you can easily make a sustainable wreath base with the beanstalk. With the base, you can create an Eco-friendly wreath that is fully compostable.
Beanstalks are also fun to use as a wrapping accessory and even in a flower arrangement.
As useful as in the story “Jack & The Bean Stalk”, climbing beans give you many different options.
Plant Choice #4 – Fruit Trees
Just like other versatile plants, a fruit tree is a must-have in your garden. Even just because it produces lovely fruits with rich flavour. But what else can you do with a fruit tree that put it on the versatile plant list?
Here are 4 ways you can benefit from growing a fruit tree. In my case, it’s matured apple trees.
Eat Fresh Fruit
Without any doubt, simply eat freshly picked apples. As the old
This is also quite obvious. Apples are great for making desserts like apple pie, apple sauce, and apple crumble. Some people use a dehydrator to make apple chips as well.
Use branches for DIY Projects
When you have a fruit tree, you need to prune it. With straight branches, you can create a trellis and other crafts like a unique vase.
Use as compost/mulch
Whenever I find non-edible apples or the core & peels after making sauce, I use them as mulch in my garden. They keep moisture and eventually decompose. Since my apples are all red ones, a garden bed becomes a focal point in autumn.
Any fruit tree you grow, you’ll discover more things you can do with it: truly versatile!
Versatile Plants #5 – Bamboo
Finally, the last yet highly recommended choice is bamboo. Not only is it versatile, but it’s also a practical plant to have for sustainable living.
Some of you might have used bamboo poles in your garden. It’s so easy to work with, and the thick ones are quite solid yet light. So you can create things with waxy stems.
Believe it or not, bamboo is great for making tools like instant chopsticks! My son also made a spear with the stem for fishing. But it turned out to be a great tool for harvesting plums. In Japanese culture, bamboo is highly valued for making tools.
Use as a Protection
You might have had a problem with cats in your garden. Whenever I start the new growing season, cats come and leave their droppings. Simply place skinny branches in a garden until the plants grow big enough to cover bare soil.
Use for Craft
Similar to making tools, bamboo stems are great for crafting. For example, you can connect stems(same length) with jute twine to create a placemat.
As you can see bamboo provides multiple different opportunities for your needs.
In conclusion, what you plant is based on your preference. What you can do is think about the versatility of plants and prioritize. If a plant offers more than three outcomes, it’s worth spending your time & money.
For me, sunflower/lavender/climbing bean/fruit tree/bamboo are all versatile plants. They certainly help me become more sustainable.
Please let me know when you discover your versatile plant!