What Are the Different Types of Fast-Growing Plants?

Jessica F. Black

There are many fast-growing plants, and varieties depend on the location, amount of sunlight, soil quality, and water availability. Some of the most common fast-growing plants are bamboo, ivy, ornamental grass, and the butterfly bush. Many vegetables are also fast-growing plants, including lettuce, spinach, turnips, and radishes. Plants often require a lot of attention, and growth could also depend on the caretaker. Some locations with certain climates may influence the speed of growth of plants, and other areas could require plant maintenance.

Ivy is considered a fast-growing plant.
Ivy is considered a fast-growing plant.

Bamboo belongs to the grass family and can grow in climates ranging from extremely cold to brutally hot. The rate of growth has been recorded at more than three feet (0.91 m) in one day, and it is usually not finished growing until the plant is four to six years old. Life spans of bamboo plants have been recorded up to 115 years. This plant spreads rapidly and seeds often dominate the garden area, making bamboo one of the most aggressive fast-growing plants.

Fast-growing plants need varying amounts of sunlight.
Fast-growing plants need varying amounts of sunlight.

Boston ivy is one of the fast-growing plants that people may recognize for covering large building structures. Japanese ivy or Boston creeper are other terms often used for this particular plant. The unique qualities of Boston ivy is its ability to grow in a variety of soil and light conditions. Calcium carbonate secretions give this plant its ability to climb and stick to walls or other vertical structures. This ivy has a relatively slower growth rate than bamboo, but usually reaches eight feet (2.43 m) per a year.

Radishes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow.
Radishes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow.

Ornamental grass has become increasingly popular for gardeners due to low maintenance, adaptability, and the ability to grow in a variety of soil. Different species of ornamental grass may require different care and have varied growth rates. This is a family of fast-growing plants, and can grow two to four inches (5.08cm-10.16cm) weekly. Increased care, including watering and pruning, may increase growth rate. Gardeners interested in this grass can research additional maintenance options on the Internet or in the gardening section at a local library.

The butterfly bush is planted for its beauty and ability to attract butterflies. This plant comes in a variety of colors and has become a popular garden hobby plant due to ease of care, growth rate, and attractiveness. Growth rates vary depending on the type of butterfly bush that is planted, and some can grow 10 feet (3.04 m) within a year.

Ivy is a common fast-growing plant.
Ivy is a common fast-growing plant.

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Discussion Comments


@croydon - There's no reason you can't have decorative and delicious plants. Cherry tomatoes grow quite fast and last for a while, as to capsicums and various chili plants.

Mushrooms aren't technically a plant, but they might as well be quick growing indoor plants and if you arrange them the right way they can look very interesting. In addition to that, they are delicious and some of the more exotic and colorful varieties are just as easy to grow as the standard button mushroom.


@irontoenail - I would encourage people to grow micro-greens as well, for the reasons you say, and because they are very healthy, but do remember that they also don't last very long. You plant them too close for them to survive more than a few weeks and the intention is to cut them before that and then recycle the dirt.

So if you want a plant that is going to be around for a while, micro-greens are probably not the way to go.

Bamboo is probably the fastest growing plant you can get that will live for a long time, but I don't think the decorative forms are going to be edible and vice-versa.


If you're looking for something fast growing to eat, the best thing to consider is sprouts or micro-greens of some kind. These have become very popular lately, so they are fairly easy to find in garden stores and even supermarkets. I'm growing some for the first time and I've been surprised how easy it is. I basically just punched some holes in a plastic plate, layered it with potting soil and then sprinkled the seeds over it.

I watered it (gently) and then wrapped the whole thing in a plastic bag for a couple of days until the seeds sprouted, then removed the bag and put it out in our backyard to get some sun. It's about five days on and the little sprouts look fairly healthy. Apparently they only take two weeks or so before you can start harvesting them and then you just snip them off and add them to salads and sandwiches and things like that.

It's easy and it's honestly a little bit of a thrill to grow something so quickly.

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