Our mission is to share the wonders of the natural world by publishing books from experts in the fields of gardening, horticulture, and natural history. Grow with us.

Why Grow That When You Can Grow This?: 255 Extraordinary Alternatives to Everyday Problem Plants

By Andrew Keys

In this accessible book, Andrew Keys suggests 255 problem-solving alternatives to plants that, while popular, can be invasive or difficult to cultivate.

Martha Stewart Living

It's a tired turn of phrase, but the grass is always greener on the other side. And for gardeners, it's not just the grass — it's the flowers, the shrubs, and the trees.

No longer! Pining to grow lilac but lack the full sun? Try the fragrant pink and white flowers of Korean spice viburnum. Love the drama of canna but need something hardier? Try the bold foliage of variegated fleece flower. Why Grow That When You Can Grow This? offers hundreds of all-star alternatives that replace — and often outshine — popular problem plants.

Garden designer Andrew Keys makes it easy to skip over the fussy plant prima donnas. Each profile shows the problem plant and offers several alternatives with similar characteristics that are destined to be the new stars of your garden.

Media reviews

"In this accessible book, Andrew Keys suggests 255 problem-solving alternatives to plants that, while popular, can be invasive or difficult to cultivate."

Martha Stewart Living

"It's nice to have this as a source book for choosing plants for my garden when I'm tired of pandering to something I already have or I'm ready for a change. Andrew's book can be a help towards gardening smarter, not harder!"

—Kylee Baumle, Horticulture

"Landscape designer Keys lends helpful guidance for shaking up the standard fare in a garden with exciting alternatives. ... This is a lively, helpful guide offering needed redress for the tired garden — and gardener."

Publishers Weekly

"Offers a plant option for just about every spot in the yard and garden."

Grower Talks Magazine

"This may be my favorite new book this year."

Halifax Chronicle Herald

"Whether you suffer from plant envy, and are looking for regionally appropriate alternatives to grow instead, or you just need a little help climbing out of a plant rut, Andrew's got you covered."

Blue Planet Garden Blog

"This book is best suited to experienced gardeners who need a nudge to try a less common plant, or who are tired of the typical garden standbys and crave something different. Newly transplanted gardeners ... will also find it useful as they wrestle with the desire to plant beloved species from a far distant region and begin looking for regionally appropriate substitutes."

Digging

"Inspires readers to think outside of the tried and not necessarily true garden stalwarts that we all have a tendency to buy. I wholeheartedly endorse the message of breaking out of a rut, trying something new and mixing it up."

Studio G blog

"Keys has done a remarkable job in spotlighting less common plants that deserve a place in your garden, wherever you live."

American Gardener

"Keys has done a remarkable job in spotlighting less common plants that deserve a place in your garden, wherever you live."

American Gardener

"Gardeners looking for vibrant inspiration will revel in Keys' innovative recommendations."

Booklist

"A fun, helpful tool for gardeners looking to expand their plant selections."

The Gardener

"Don't give up on growing your dream plants! With 250 suggestions, let this book be your guide to successful substitutes."

Garden Gate

"Whether you are looking for trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, grasses, or groundcovers, you will find a way to have what you want. ... Plenty of humor and lots of good suggestions will make this a popular choice for new homeowners as well as experienced gardeners."

Muskogee Phoenix

"Written in his hallmark playful, smart, and slightly tongue-in-cheek style, Keys' book compares some popular garden plants to the cast of characters we all remember from our high school days."

Garden of Possibilities blog

"The key to Keys is the way he nudges us out of our box, and gets us thinking. ... This is 'teach a man to fish' stuff that will hold its value, no matter which new plant alternatives come along."

Toronto Gardens blog

"Seriously, this is funny stuff, while at the same time providing lots of creative substitutes that will give your garden more bang for its buck."

Gossip in the Garden

About the author

Andrew Keys

Andrew Keys is a writer, designer, consultant, and lifelong gardener. The host and producer of Fine Gardening's Garden Confidential podcast, his writing has appeared in Fine Gardening and other magazines, as well as on his blog, Garden Smackdown.

Read more about Andrew Keys

Want this author to speak at your event? Visit the Timber Press Speakers Bureau

View large jacket image

$24.95

You can also buy this book from these online retailers: (TimberPress.com discounts do not apply)


In the media?

Jacket image

Download a hi-resolution version of the book jacket (2400×2700 px, 1.3 MB).

Request a review copy

All fields are required. U.S. addresses only.

See more information about this book