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Fast growing plants: the top 5

In the plant world there are some record holders for the speed of growth. But which tree grows the fastest? We introduce you to the 5 fastest growing plants.

When we think of plant growth, “fast” is definitely not the first word that comes to mind. After all, it takes most plants years to visibly increase in size. Even so, there are quite a number of plants that prove us wrong. Here we show the five plants that are hard to beat in terms of their speed of growth.

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1. Duckweed

The duckweed (Lemna minor), also known colloquially as "duckweed", is a small aquatic plant that can be found on almost every stagnant body of water. But the inconspicuous plant should not be underestimated - in fact, it is one of the fastest growing plants in the world. It can double its mass in less than three days. This ability makes it a horror for pond owners, after all it forms true carpets on the water within a short time. But the small plant can also be useful. Research is currently underway to find out how fast-growing plants can be used to generate energy, but also as animal feed or to clean water.

2. Giant sequoia

From very small to very big - the giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) is one of the tallest tree species in the world with a size of 95 meters. It is only surpassed by its close relative, the coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), which is the largest tree currently alive with a maximum size of 115.55 meters. Although they reach spectacular sizes and become tourist attractions, they are not among the fastest growing trees. In contrast, the enormous growth in width is all the more impressive. Annual increases of over 30 solid meters per hectare were not uncommon in forest science experiments, which is why the giant sequoia is still one of the fast-growing trees. And even if the coastal sequoia is considered the tallest tree in the world, the General Sherman Tree was the strongest tree of all time with a trunk volume of 1,486.9 cubic meters.

3. Eucalyptus

The eucalyptus (Eucalyptus) is not only useful in cough drops, but also shows impressive growth. In the Asian countries in particular, it is often grown in huge tree cultures for pulp and energy production and is one of the most frequently planted trees. No wonder, after all, the fast-growing tree shows an enormous speed and reaches a size of 30 meters after only ten years - that is three times faster than the oak native to us (Quercus). However, there is also a lot of criticism of the cultivation of the eucalyptus trees, as the fast-growing plant requires unbelievable amounts of up to 500 liters of water a day. But the eucalyptus not only sets negative records: the giant eucalyptus (Eucalyptus regnans) was even the largest deciduous tree in the world for a long time - in Tasmania one of these fast-growing trees is said to have reached a height of 123 meters.

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4. Kudzu

Kudzu (Pueraria montana) is a plant from the legume family, so it is distantly related to our beans. It is a robust, herbaceous climber that can cope with difficult site conditions. She is a real climbing artist. The light-loving kudzu climbs up to 20 meters towards the sun a year and overgrows everything that comes in its way. This makes the climbing artist one of the fastest growing plants. In the past, kudzu was often used as a food due to its high calorie content, but today it is rarely found in the kitchen. Instead, researchers hope that the fast-growing plant can serve as a raw material for bioethanol production in the future. The effect of the plant as a green manure is also interesting, as the kudzu can not only accumulate nitrogen in the soil, but also extend its roots up to 1.8 meters into the ground.

5. Giant bamboo

Anyone who thinks of a few centimeters growth when it comes to the grass variety is far from it. The giant bamboo (Dendrocalamus giganteus) is 40 meters high, making it the largest grass in the world. You can actually watch it grow: the fast-growing plant shoots up to 70 centimeters a day under optimal conditions. In its native Asia, the giant bamboo is valued not only for its rapid growth, but also for its stability, which is why it is a popular building material. But other types of bamboo are in no way inferior to their big brother and can show incredible growth in a short time. So put bamboo species of the genus Phyllostachys up to 30 centimeters a day in height - the sea-green flat tube bamboo (Phyllostachys viridiglaucescens) can even reach a height of up to ten meters within one season in Germany.

Native plants that grow particularly quickly

In addition to the duckweed, there are other native plant species that grow particularly quickly. A good example of a fast-growing plant is, for example, the black elder (Sambucus nigra), which not only shines with its splendor of flowers, but can also grow between 60 and 80 centimeters in height and 40 to 50 centimeters in width within a year. The summer lilac is also one of the fast-growing plants (Buddleja davidii), which can grow up to 150 centimeters at a young age, but loses its ability to grow with age. The native record holder for fast-growing conifers, on the other hand, is the Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), which can reach a height of up to 30 meters. Within a year it increases up to 50 centimeters in height, so that it is particularly popular in forestry.

Not quite as fast, but still at an impressive rate, are these 10 fast-growing vegetables that could find their way into your garden.

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Frederike

I am a student of agricultural sciences and a real village child. At home I have a small vegetable garden that I tend and look after, and I prefer to spend the time outside. When I'm not outdoors, I love to write. My love is not only for plants and writing, but also especially for the animal world.
Favorite fruit: currants and raspberries.
Favorite vegetables: salsify, savoy cabbage and potatoes.