Many people try growing plants along the border in their gardens but find it too difficult because of the maintenance involved. The good news is there are tons of great border plants that are attractive and simple to grow. And now, you don’t have to be a green thumb to get the look you want for your garden borders, which means you’ll have more time to relax and enjoy your life!
So, whether you prefer to plant a flowering or non-flowering plant, it’s a good idea to check out the list below to find the perfect easy-to-grow border plants for your landscape. These specific plants can offer any garden border much-needed color, shape, and texture.
Table of Contents
Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
Alyssums are the plants to choose if you wish to add more timeless elegance to your flower gardens but don’t have time to baby your plants. These annuals don’t need much care as long as you place them in a nice sunny spot where they are happy.
While alyssum is low-maintenance, it does poorly in swampy areas and regions with insufficient rainfall. It has minimal insect issues, although it can suffer foliage and stem problems in excessive shade where the foliage and soil do not dry sufficiently.
This ground-covering plant prefers full sun; however, it will benefit from moderate shade in drier and hotter conditions. It grows best in USDA zones 5-9 and enjoys warmer climates, although severe temperatures can kill it. They will typically cease blooming in the heat of summer, but don’t worry. They will likely liven up your borders once more in the fall—alyssums like well-draining soil.
Euphorbia is an erect, thick, clumping herbaceous perennial that is extremely showy, quick, and simple to grow and is ideal for brightening up any garden border. They add vibrant color and intrigue with beautiful springtime flowers in yellow, bright green, and orange. Some euphorbias have evergreen leaves, providing a distinctive structure throughout the year. So, they readily fall into the list of the best border plants.
Euphorbias grew successfully in a wide variety of environments, from highlands to deserts to tropical woods, making them very non-fussy plants. There are several species and varieties, providing a diverse range of options for people all over the country. There are sun-loving and shade-loving types, as well as those that prefer either dry or moisture-rich soils.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
The lavender plant is an easy-to-grow perennial and will provide you with a fragrant and colorful display of flowers throughout the summer. You can even grow Lavender in containers if you don’t like planting it directly in the soil.
Lavender is a favorite border pick because of its pastel shades and low, trail-bordering height of 1 foot. A profusion of Lavender provides a striking, flowery informal border and entices anyone who passes by with its pleasant smell, so you can’t go wrong with Lavender!
Several ferns are incredibly simple-to-maintain border plants that thrive in damp soil and partial full shade in Zones 3-9. Ferns are among the best stress-free accent plants or backdrop plantings you can have in the landscape. And since ferns have such a wide variety of colors and textures, there’s almost something for everyone! However, if you want a more purposeful look, select low-growing varieties at the front of a planting bed.
Stay cautious, though: certain ferns expand rapidly; if they seem to intrude on surrounding plants, you can split them, but be aware that some of the more aggressive growers, such as Ostrich ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris) might quickly overtake the adjoining gardens and creep out into the lawn.
The Boxwood is hardy, resilient, and effortless to grow, and it adds interesting texture, strong shape, and lush color all year. With its maximum size reaching 3-5 feet tall and broad, it’s perfect as a hedge, edging, or border plant. You can also use Boxwood as accent plants in the middle of larger shrubs. It grows best in partial shade, in uniformly damp, well-drained soil.
You can cultivate Boxwood as a tiny tree or big, dense shrub because you can quickly trim it. It has thick, evergreen, glossy leaves with a deep green shade above and yellow-green beneath, making it an attractive plant that has adorned garden borders for many, many years.
Tricolor Sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Tricolor’)
Sage is one herb we should not ignore. This lovely tiny herb is quite easygoing, and it thrives best in USDA zones 6-9, preferring lots of sunlight but accepting moderate shade in hotter climates. And it is drought resistant once fully established.
Tricolor sage gives a splash of color to your landscape and home with its unusual leaves that come in three colors: bordered in white or purple and with a green base.
As the flowering season approaches, tricolor sage will show off its beauty with its colorful leaves and violet blossoms even more. And these purple hues complement a wide range of shades and textures, so they’ll work nicely in most garden beds.
Additionally, ants hate tricolor sage. So, this plant is an excellent natural solution if you are experiencing an ant situation in one of your landscape areas.
Sutherland Hebe (Hebe ‘Sutherlandii’)
Sutherland hebe is a compact, thickly branching, small evergreen shrub with spikes of white blooms with blue anthers that contrast with the masses of pale, sage-green leaves. It’s one of the toughest plants you can place in the border, plus its small, spreading form is a nice feature for small spaces. You’ll especially love it if you live in sunny, coastal areas since it flourishes in that kind of environment. However, some Hebe varieties are cold-hardy.
This shrub produces a sleek appearance. It appears to have been hand-clipped into a casual type of shrubbery but takes almost no maintenance. Hebe ‘Sutherlandii’ can be used in a variety of planting techniques, such as in groups as an informal hedge or to anchor the edge of a plantation area. It has short white blooms that bees love in the summertime.
Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)
These resilient bushes provide a great deal of elegance with little effort. Hydrangeas of the Annabelle kind have always been popular landscaping plants, and they shine in the shady garden due to their enormous white blossoms. Incorporate them with other shade-loving plants, such as ferns and hostas, but be aware that these hardy growers are likely to spread over time which can make them a challenge to keep.
Hydrangeas thrive in USDA zones 5–9, and they require full sunlight to bloom dependably in temperate zones but may tolerate some moderate shade in warmer ones.
Please remember: your hydrangeas will require a lot of water as they are growing. They will, however, endure the rare dry season after they have established themselves. It’s important to know you should hydrate these plants more often in warmer regions, but just don’t flood the soil.
Hosta (Hosta spp.)
Hostas are low-care landscaping plants that look nice even with little planning or care. This verdant delight is a herbaceous plant that grows well in a range of environments.
Hostas feature eye-catching leaves that capture the attention without overwhelming the entire garden. They produce attractive blooms in the summer months, which draw a significant number of pollinators. There are a plethora of hostas that come in a wide range of hues, such as the famous blue hostas. Whatever you choose, you’ll have a visually appealing border. As hostas mature, they will grow in size and may need to be separated to maintain an evenly sized border.
Hostas are low-maintenance plants that thrive in USDA zones 3-8. They don’t mind the temperature and may thrive in a variety of conditions. They flourish in partial shade but may flourish in complete shade in hotter regions.
One tip to reduce a splotchy appearance is to group many pieces of the same cultivar. By grouping them, you give them greater visual impact and prevent them from seeming like something done on a whim.
Daylillies (Hemerocallis ssp)
Daylillies are another wonderfully easy-to-grow border plant that comes in a wide variety of colors and sizes and can be effortlessly introduced to create a lively and colorful border. The daylily, like the hosta, will undoubtedly increase in size and can overtake a border bed without proper separation over the years.
Most daylilies love the sun, and they are hardy enough to survive most soil types and can take quite a bit of abuse.
Zinnia (Zinnia sp.)
Zinnias are flowering plants that won’t give you a hard time growing from seed. Zinnias are some of the simplest annuals to cultivate since they grow rapidly and produce a lot of blossoms. Furthermore, they will bloom until the first heavy frost of the season.
These pretty flowers come in a variety of shades and sizes. And certainly, you can have a vibrant border plant arrangement from smaller, dwarf kinds or seed mixtures like ‘Dreamland Mix,’ ‘Magellan Mix,’ or ‘Thumbelina.’ Zinnia flowers may provide a colorful accent to your landscape, so give them a shot.
Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum Nobile)
Roman chamomile, which is pretty neat if you like the look of Italian flower fields, is a brilliant, fuss-free plant suitable for a border. It grows in chilly, dry areas and doesn’t need much upkeep. When their roots are fully developed, these plants need relatively little care and should be planted in a bright, exposed location. And because Roman chamomile is a perennial, it will readily start growing again each year.
With the Roman chamomile, you can make a statement with your border! However, there are several ways to incorporate these delicate gems into your landscape. You can even plant them in containers, given you elevate the pots to allow water to drain well.
Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides)
Fountain grass, which is a perennial in so many areas, is an appealing ornamental border plant with a thick, clustering habit. Fountain grass contributes form, movement, soft texture, and fall color. With so many advantages, keeping this decorative grass at the border is worthwhile.
This short grass grows well in most soils and prefers direct sunlight, but it may take partial shade. Even though it favors dry soils and is drought-resistant when set, it will thrive in damp, well-drained soils too.
Armenian Cranesbill (Geranium psilostemon)
With its hot pink blooms with a black center carried aloft on a massive plant, this Geranium is ideal for the background of a brightly sunlit border in hot climates. This resistant Geranium is dependable, simple to grow, and gives long-lasting brilliance for just about any landscape, bringing on a wonderful sight from late spring through late summer and you’ll like its excellent fall color too. This perennial grows upright in clumps and reaches a height of 3-4 feet.
Creeping Thyme (Thymus praecox)
Creeping thyme is a bushy, perennial thyme plant that makes a good border in sunny sections of the landscape. This newbie-gardener-friendly plant has fine-textured leaves that spread throughout the soil, bearing blooms in a wide range of colors (because there are many varieties). This ornamental groundcover plant can withstand considerable foot traffic and is commonly used as a border on garden beds and paths.
While less suitable for food output, creeping thyme is still safe to eat. The best part about creeping thyme is that it doesn’t require much maintenance once it is established in your garden or landscape.
Things to Keep in Mind when Growing Border Plants
Size underestimation of a potential landscaping feature is a common error when picking all sorts of plants, but it’s especially troublesome when it applies to border vegetation. If you plan to plant them near other plants or trees, choose ones that won’t crowd them out.
To stay on the safe side, choose drought-tolerant plants that will not get too tall. Taller plants can compete with other plants in your garden and possibly shade them out.
Also, consider how much sunlight your border plants need. Some need full sun, and others can handle partial shade. If you need help determining which type would work best for your garden, ask your local nursery first! Choose plants that will grow in a variety of soil types and conditions. You don’t want to plant a plant that requires acidic soil or prefers full sun if you live in an area with cloudy or cool weather.
One of the challenges with border plants is that borders can often be long and winding, so it may be challenging to find one variety of plant that will grow well in your given border as it winds its way across your property.