5 Self-Sowing Beauties That You Won’t Regret Planting!

The best present that a gardener can receive is plant division from a compatriot. The worst thing a gardener can receive? Same.

You know what I mean. Some spreading plants are horrors that keep coming up everywhere, are difficult to pull out, and look like weeds as they grow. Fall blooming clematis (Clematis paniculata,C. maximonowicziana,C. terniflora, or C. dioscoreifolia) and Japanese anemone (Ane­m­one spp.) come to mind.

Both of these plants are beautiful, especially in the autumn, when there is a dearth of bloom. But, in my yard, these pants grow everywhere and are near impossible to pull out completely.  The deer eat the anemones down, so I never get the benefit of the bloom.

However, if those examples are the yin, let me offer the yang. Here are five of my favorite self-sowers/spreaders that I couldn’t live without.

Ostrich Fern

Ostrich fern Matteuccia struthiopteris
Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris)

Some might consider the Ostrich fern one of those horror spreaders, but not me. They grow under the trees and the deer don’t eat them! They do need to be watered during drought, though. Otherwise, you end up with ugly, dry, brown hay.

Straw Foxglove

Straw foxglove (Digitalis lutea)
Straw foxglove (Digitalis lutea)

I’ve written about this foxglove before, because it is absolutely deer-proof. It is also a prolific self-sower and grows in dry shade. Two thumbs up!

Rose Campion

Rose campion (Lychnis coronaria)
Rose campion (Lychnis coronaria)

Rose campion is bright and beautiful. It is described as deer resistant, but I’ve had trouble, so it is growing inside the garden fence. I love the color of this flower, and it looks spectacular in a cut flower arrangement with blues and yellows.

Lady’s Mantle

Lady's mantle (Alchemilla mollis)
Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis)

Here’s another vigorous spreader. Lady’s mantle has a glowing chartreuse flower that looks frothy as it spreads in the border. The deer will sometimes eat the leaves but don’t seem to like the flowers. Hooray!


Yellow fumitory (Corydalis lutea)
Yellow fumitory (Corydalis lutea) 

Yellow fumitory is my garden workhorse. It skirts the leggy roses, keeps weeds out between the peonies, shows off sunny yellow flowers and delicately cut leaves, mounds beautifully, etc., etc. This plant is a no-brainer. Go and get yourself some today!

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