5 Problem-Solving Plants

Let the gardening experts sway you when it comes to these functional beauties. We turned to the editors of The New Sunset Western Garden Book and learned that these five basic plants fix many common gardening problems.

Above: The Geraniaceae ‘Johnson’s Blue,‘ as well as other cranesbills, offers a colorful and polite way to cover empty ground; they will not choke other plants in their path; $7 at Geraniaceae.com Image via Sunset.

To cover a shady corner without spending a fortune, consider planting some Hosta ‘Saint Paul‘; these affordable plants spread quickly and send up floral spikes each summer; $11.99 at Amazon. Image via Sunset.

Stop erosion on a slope: Symphoricarpos Coral Berry will grow happily on a steep hillside and will flower in spring or early summer; $16.99 at ShrubSource. Image via Old Blue Crow.

Although often dismissed as a common hedge shrub, the Waxleaf Privet deserves credit for its ability to protect tender garden plants from being damaged by high winds; $44.98 at Amazon. Image by Mary Richmond via Flickr.

Anchor a flowerbed with a rose that blooms all summer. The Rosa ‘Molineux’ shrub has a long blooming season and is disease-resistant; $23.95 at David Austin Roses. Photograph by Jim W. via Flickr.

To learn about more plants that will solve your gardening dilemmas, visit Remodelista.


Elena B.
Elena Bonati4 years ago

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Bryna Pizzo
Bryna Pizzo4 years ago

Thank you for the list of beautiful plants and shrubs!

Dale Overall

While there is nothing wrong with planting native plants, unless a non local plant is a problem like the beautiful but deadly Purple Loosestrife that chokes out native plants in wetlands and changes the environment I see no problem in planting plants, bushes from other areas of the world like Barbara G. implies. What are the problem unless one variety is invasive?
Variety, colour and plants are the spice of life, enjoy them and their beauty!

Clare R.
Clare R5 years ago

Good info, thank you!

Anastasia J.
Anastasia J5 years ago

Don't mean to sound like a garden snob, but there are better options out there than most of those listed above, especially considering the different climates readers live in. Best thing is to go to a reputable garden centre and speak to staff who have worked in the gardening business for at least a few years about plant selection for your location. Also, look into native species for you region and try to incorporate them as much as possible - more beautiful than you'd think plus they're often hardier.

Richard T.
Richard T5 years ago


Kath R.
Kath P5 years ago

Spreading perennials are a good investment...just remember to keep them contained.

Gary C.
Gary C5 years ago


Shelly Peterson
Shelly Peterson5 years ago

I love the Sunset Gardening books and is like "a Bible" for gardeners!! Check out what works in your area and ask the fred meyers, your Home Depot, if Lowes still exists in your area....ask them to order what you want and the local nurserys ...this is for price points..with the economy, nurserys have had to "up" the price, but what they "usually sell" works in you are...BUT BECAREFUL, IF YOU DO NOT KNOW!!!..here in the N.W> USA, it is all plants from California..so they only last the season and have to be replaced and do not florish in our climate ..(which I live, can be very different 30 miles away!!)..I was accepted into Master Gardeners back in 1979..I know!..and like I said, no matter who you are, get your self one of these books, readup, investigate and ask, before you spend your hard earned $$$ and do the work...Be happy, not diaappointed..( and unfortunately with the economic downside, the people in the main stores, might not nessicarily know plants at all..so do some reading, so that you can enjoy what you buy and plant!!!)

Carol Ann O.
Carol Ann O5 years ago

You should never HAVE to spend a dime on perrennials.. if you have a friend with them. I have landscaped at least three others yards . If you don`t thin them they will not be as healthy.. Born to share plants !