What makes a plant a good buy? It's not purchase price alone. Value is best measured by how a plant performs once it's in the ground. "A bargain doesn't need lots of attention, isn't prone to disease or insect problems, and spreads on its own," says Lexington, Kentucky-based landscape designer Jon Carloftis. And while there's no question that annuals deliver the most bang for the buck in a single season, perennials, shrubs, and trees provide long-lasting structure and color to the landscape. We polled our go-to garden experts for their hardy and inexpensive favorites in all four categories.
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