More Than Beauty: Plants That Perform Double Duty


As much as we love the ornamental value that decorative plants bring to our gardens, it’s pretty nice when they give back a little extra. There are so many garden plants that have multiple uses and benefits to take advantage of—from edible parts to pest-prevention powers, and so much more! Plus, when they’re perennials and hardy shrubs, you can enjoy them year after year. If you want to get the most out of your garden, opt for these popular garden plants that perform double duty!

8 Pretty And Powerful Plants 

These lovely plants are total powerhouses—they don’t just sit around looking pretty, they have so much to offer! You’ll get plenty of use out of them if you add them to the garden. Here are six favorites you should add into the mix this year:

Knockout Roses: Roses have developed a bit of a reputation for being finicky and high-maintenance, but this particular variety is much easier to manage! Knockout roses are self-cleaning, so you don’t need to pinch off any spent blooms, and they’re super resistant to pests and diseases. As far as pruning goes, it’s a good idea to trim it back a bit in the spring so you can get the most blooms, but even if you leave it be, it will continue to grow up to 4 feet tall. They make great hedge borders, they love sunshine, and are hardy to zone 5, but they’re a bit sensitive to the cold, so you’ll want to cover them up over the winter. 


Citronella Geraniums: Citronella grass has been a popular pest repellant for years—it sends many insects running for the hills! Mosquitoes especially hate it, which is why people burn citronella coils in the summer. Now, botanists have created a fabulous hybrid plant that carries the citrus scent and mosquito-repelling properties of citronella grass, but with the beauty and vibrance of geranium flowers. 

Citronella geraniums are great for adding colorful accents around the yard, especially in the shadier spots, since geraniums don’t do as well in full sun. Pinch off a few leaves and rub the oils on your skin for a natural mosquito repellent that lasts for several hours!

Marigolds: These sunny golden blossoms are so easy to grow, and they make fantastic container plants, so if you want to brighten up your patio with a fun burst of color, marigolds are a must. Interestingly, marigolds are also powerful pest repellers, and adding them into your vegetable garden will help to keep annoying bugs from munching on your fruits and veggies. Whiteflies and harmful nematodes are no match for this fragrant flower, and the heavily-perfumed varieties also help to keep rabbits away!

Bee Balm: This distinctive, colorful flowering plant has a lot going for it. Its showy blossoms look like little bursts of fireworks, and the scent they release is absolutely intoxicating. Bee balm, as the name suggests, is especially popular among bees, but that’s not the only visitor you can expect if you plant these in your garden! Butterflies also love snacking on the flower nectar, and hummingbirds are particularly fond of the red flowered varieties. We recommend deadheading the spent blooms in spring, because this can encourage a second round of flowering later in the season. 


Lavender: The purple spears of lavender flowers are so dreamy and elegant, and it’s no secret that they have powerful aromatherapeutic properties. The soft scent of lavender is a potent sleep aid that helps alleviate stress and anxiety while promoting relaxation and decreasing muscle tension. On top of all that, you can even use it in your cooking! Brewing up a lavender simple syrup is super easy, and you can add it to cold sodas, hot lattés, and tasty desserts for a delicate flavor and soothing aroma that’s second to none. 

Hardy Hibiscus: Tropical flowers and shrubs never cease to amaze with their electric colors and showstopping blooms, but they aren’t always equipped to deal with our chilly temperatures. Enter the hardy hibiscus: a tough-as-nails tropical plant with massive flowers—sometimes up to 12 inches across—with so many different color combinations to choose from. Some hardy hibiscus plants keep to a more compact 2 feet tall, whereas others can grow as high as 10 feet! 

Their prominent, pollen-coated stamens are very attractive to pollinators, and they’ll bloom their brightest if planted in full sun, in well-draining soil with plenty of organic material. No need to over-fertilize—go easy on the soil amendments, and only use them if a soil test indicates that your soil is lacking in nutrients like phosphorus. You can also plant this stunning flower in water!


Catmint: This feline favorite is most obviously known for its effect on our cats, but it actually provides plenty of other benefits for us as well. You can brew up catmint tea, blended with other wellness herbs like chamomile and lemon balm, for an all-natural remedy that fights stress and insomnia. Catmint also has natural anti-bacterial properties, so it’s worth drinking regularly as a health supplement. In addition to its many health benefits, catnip keeps away annoying biting insects, and its lovely purple flowers attract bees and butterflies.  

Milkweed: We always recommend planting milkweed, because monarch butterflies are entirely dependent on this plant for survival! In recent years, their populations have been plummeting, and it’s more important now than ever before to plant milkweed so they can reproduce and thrive. They’re super pest-resistant, so there’s no need to use any pesticides—that will only hurt the baby monarchs who rely on the plant’s foliage for food. No pruning or fertilization is necessary, though the amount you need to water will depend on your chosen variety. When choosing a milkweed variety to plant at home, double-check with one of our experts to see if it’s a drought-resistant variety, or if it requires regular watering. 


For a garden that’s both pretty and practical, grab some of these powerful plants to add to the landscape! Feel free to place an order on our web store, and we can arrange for delivery or curbside pickup to make your shopping experience as simple as possible. 

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