Sometimes you need a small border plant to finish off your garden bed, or maybe you need to define the border of a walkway or your yard. Whatever the reason, the low-growing border plants we’ll feature here are ideal for creating a border anywhere on your property.
In this article, we look at our top picks for low-growing perennial border plants. They add color, texture, and interest to the garden borders. Moreover, they stay lovely for long periods since they grow back yearly. The selections below will delight you whether you are looking for blooms or interesting leaves.
Pussytoes (Antennaria plantaginifolia)
Pussytoes blossoms are not very noticeable, yet birds and butterflies adore and love them. The blooms are small, fluffy, white, and overall one-of-a-kind, like cotton balls, which look attractive as ground cover. And its leaves grow to be half a foot to a foot high and are the major attraction of this mat-like perennial for your border.
Pussytoes are an excellent choice for a low-maintenance and visually appealing, short, ornamental border plant. Pussytoes can withstand drought and poor soil and are seldom affected by pests or diseases.
Eastern Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla patens)
Pasque Flower or Prairie crocus, a lovely early blooming plant, lights up the spring garden with its conspicuous blue to purple or white blooms. Butterflies and bees look forward to the emergence of this bloom because it provides an abundant food supply, which is much desired after the winter chill.
Every flower of the Eastern Pasque Flower plant forms individually above a tiny green stalk, yet they burst in bunches to form a vibrantly colored show. Zones 4-7 are suitable for this perennial border plant.
Dusty Miller (Jacobaea maritima)
Dusty Miller (also known as Silver Ragwort) leaves are grey or silver, almost white, with a felted texture, making it another plant valued for its distinctive, ornamental foliage. The foliage is delicate and looks intricate and lacy. And usually, people remove the little cream or yellow blooms that appear on the plants since they don’t have aesthetic appeal and distract from the eye-catching leaf spectacle.
Dusty Miller plants do wonders for the scenery by dialing back dramatic or vibrant colors and patterns. They make an excellent ground cover surrounding the flashier plants in the border. That’s not to say it won’t become hidden in the shady regions of your landscape, though. Dusty Miller plants can stand on their own due to their unique display, and they can also serve as the ideal accent for deeper or more colorful blooms.
Dusty miller, which is a Mediterranean native, is tolerant of dry and hot conditions, and so it thrives in full sun in USDA Zones 8-11.
Rose Vervain (Glandularia canadensis)
Rose Vervain, Rose Mock Vervain, or Verbena, is a small (5-10 inches tall), spreading perennial with beautiful blue or purple blooms. Rose Vervain produces thick mats of vividly colored blooms that look like they’re floating above the leaves. Rose vervain is very beautiful when planted in big groups on a border. It thrives in pots, too!
This natural plant gives a stunning colorful sight whenever it’s in bloom, drawing hordes of bees and butterflies. The leaves are hairy, deep green, and toothed, providing the perfect backdrop for the vibrant blooms.
Woolly Yarrow (Achillea tomentosa)
Woolly Yarrow does not grow as tall as other yarrows. Woolly Yarrow is a semi-evergreen perennial plant that grows in thick bunches—it has woolly leaves and an appearance reminiscent of a fern. Its bright yellow flowers blossom in large groups from spring until summer, making this plant highly ornamental and great for the border. Woolly Yarrow is drought-resistant and simple to establish and keep healthy.
Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)
Gaillardia, popularly called blanket flower, is a perennial with daisy-like blossoms that are simple to raise and look attractive as a border plant. Its flowers have bright red petals with yellow tips, a color combination that makes masses of the plant delightful to see whenever you pass by your garden borders.
The Blanket Flower plant develops into a gradually expanding blanket, and the popular name may reflect its ability to spread gradually and fill a space. The plants reach a height of approximately 2 feet and a spread of around 20 inches.
Dwarf Goldenrod (Solidago)
Goldenrod will give your border a golden glow with its lush, golden-yellow flowers from the end of summer to autumn. This dwarf herbaceous perennial has one to two-foot tall stalks, so it is now too low. They require full sun, moderate soil, and good drainage and will be ideal for your edge or border if you like butterflies.
Stonecrop (Sedum sp.)
Stonecrop works well as a border plant. There are several sedum varieties, but they all have lush, fleshy foliage and little five-petaled rosette blooms. Stonecrops are short perennials that develop a blanket of green or blue-green foliage and explode with blossoms in their flowering season.
A feature that favors Stonecrop’s capacity to thrive when other plants perish is its capability to conserve valuable water storage. If you live somewhere with hot, dry weather, Stonecrop will do fine on your border!
Perennial Pinks (Dianthus sp.)
Perennial Pinks, also called Dianthus, are low-growing landscaping treasures that won’t give you a hard time with their maintenance. Dianthus varieties and cultivars come in a variety of colors, including white, red, purple, orange, and, obviously, many variations of pink.
With so many varieties to select from, it’s simple to cover all your borders and even rock garden with just Perennial Pinks and be completely satisfied! Besides, pink is one of the most popular colors used in borders because it combines well with other colors in the landscape.
Pigsqueak (Bergenia purpurascens)
Pigsqueaks are some of the small, vibrant pink or magenta perennials available for your garden border. Whether or not it’s blooming, this plant makes a beautiful statement with its huge, lustrous, deep green leaves. And with its fall blooms, you’ll always have a lively border.
Pigsqueaks love shaded regions and soils with a broad pH range and excellent water retention. These ornamental border plants thrive in USDA Zones 4 through 9.
Dwarf Lobelia (Lobelia erinus)
The Dwarf Lobelia is a wonderful option for your yard border if you want low-growing perennials with several small blooms. The plant is particularly admired for its exquisite leaves and multitudes of blooms in strikingly bright blues, brilliant violets, and white. The plant attains a height of 4-6 inches and enjoys partial shade. It prefers somewhat acidic, humid, and well-draining soil and is hardy in USDA Zones 2–10.
Primroses or primulas are stunning, low-growing perennial plants perfect for your border plantation. They appear in pink, yellow, orange, and various colors, with the majority of them blossoming in the springtime and others flowering far later. Primulas are multipurpose plants that you can grow in borders or pots and would work well in formal and relaxed planting designs. Usually, primroses thrive in part shade with damp soil.
Japanese Aster (Kalimeris incisa)
With its dense growth and 1 to 1.5-foot height, a border of Japanese Aster (also known as Blue Star Kalimeris) looks like little daisies because, on separate stalks, enormous clusters of white blooms with golden cores sprout from the plant’s long, slender leaves.
Plant Japanese asters in direct sunlight since they will not blossom well in shady areas. Japanese asters tolerate drought well enough and need minimal irrigation. USDA Zones 5–9 are ideal, and a plant can achieve maturity in 2-5 years.
Foamflower (Tiarella sp.)
Foamflowers thrive in gloomy areas, which makes them ideal for planting near larger border plants. These low-growing perennials have unique and lovely, frothy, starry blooms; however, the leaves are what stand out—they can resemble hearts, oak leaves, or stars, and they are green with rich red or black patterns.
Typically, foamflower plants do not reach heights taller than 12 inches; however, several varieties exist, each with a unique leaf variegation and form. Nevertheless, its magnificent leaves persist in their lively color all year, occasionally becoming a darker tint in the wintertime.
Largeleaf Brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla)
With its heart-shaped foliage and small bright blue flowers that lie atop thin stalks throughout the spring, the Largeleaf Brunnera, or Siberian bugloss, is a charmer. This hardy, low-maintenance plant has often been quite a beloved shade plant.
Largeleaf Brunneras will take a little while to cover your landscape border section. However, once it develops, it will offer a dense ground cover. The more unusual variegated types develop slowly but add beauty throughout the season.
This plant can grow up to 12–18 inches tall and is suitable for USDA hardiness zones 3-8.
Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
Bearberry (or indigenous kinnickinnick), in addition to being an excellent ground cover, often looks great as a border plant, with its delicate white or pink blooms hanging from the stalks like small lamps in the springtime. Furthermore, small, edible berries appear after the flowers do, offering a vital food supply for wildlife (especially bears, hence the name!). And in the wintertime, the leaves become a beautiful dark coppery color, adding year-round beauty to the environment.
Consider planting Bearberry in an area where many other flowers fail to flourish because of low-quality soil or too much shadow. This low-growing shrub grows where other plants cannot, and Bearberry is a little shrub that stands out due to its stunning dark green shiny foliage and reddish stems.
Blue-Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium)
Blue-Eyed grass, even though it is called that, isn’t grass. It is a beautiful perennial with starry, blue-violet blooms. Nonetheless, when not in flower, its thin, skyward leaf blades give it the appearance of grass.
This border plant will reach between 8 and 20 inches in height and flourishes in well-drained soil and direct sunshine. One tip to reduce soil water loss is to protect the soil surrounding plants with a couple of inches of mulch. USDA Zones 4–9 are suitable for growing Blue-Eyed Grass.
Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata)
Creeping phlox is a prolific flowering plant ideal for the landscape border because of its pretty candy-colored blooms. Creeping phlox is a low-growing, evergreen perennial that thrives even in harsh conditions. It’s ideal for adding a burst of color to a garden border or edge.
Be cautious while selecting plants since creeping phlox may grow up to four feet tall, which is well beyond what you’d expect from a little plant. When the blooms fade, you’re left with sharp-looking green leaves that make an attractive background for other plants along your border.