Low Growing Perennial Border Plants

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.

Primrose (Primula)

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.







Narrow Border Planting Plan

A narrow border in the landscape is an arrangement of closely spaced plants. In other words, the plants themselves form a natural barrier around an area of small proportions. The plants will typically grow together tightly packed, creating a visually attractive and practical barrier in your garden.

The plants in narrow border planting plans are usually filled with attractive foliage and simple yet colorful flowers. This guide will help you create a beautiful, low-maintenance landscape design, filling every border of your yard, no matter how thin.

Lavender (Lavandula)

A row of lavenders is ideal for a compact border; even the slimmest borders can provide enough space for tiny lavender varieties like ‘Wee One,’ ‘Little Lady,’ and ‘Compacta.’ The lavender’s pleasant fragrance is unparalleled, and whether you use this plant to line a walkway or border or to make a short barrier, you’ll smell the plant immediately as you pass by it.

To maintain the plants’ small size, orderly appearance, and thriving growth, you should trim lavender at least two times per year, in the fall and spring.

Red Hot Pokers (Kniphofia)

Red hot poker also referred to as the red hot poker lily, tritoma, or torch plant, is a hardy, stunning plant that survives in the blistering heat, bright sunlight, and arid land. It works nicely on narrow borders because it’s one of the showy blooming plants that will give your borders a pleasant look with its spikes’ bright colors of red, orange, and yellow.

You must space the red hot pokers appropriately, so they have enough space when they reach their maximum size. While poker plants aren’t picky about the soil in which they are grown, they do need moisture control and will not endure extreme wetness.

Fleabane (Erigeron)

Erigeron flowers are low-maintenance blooming plants that withstand deer munching. The best thing about them is they bloom profusely for several months, and you can utilize them as a ground cover or cushion landscape borders.

Fleabane grows well in small gaps and fissures; therefore, a thin border is ideal for this plant. Because it is an excellent self-seeder (a plant that reproduces independently), this would slowly but surely cover your slender border.

Honeysuckle (Lonicera)

Honeysuckle is among the best-smelling vines, climbing freely over trellises and inundating the surroundings with its enticing aroma. Suppose your thin border is along a walkway or another spot you pass by regularly. In that case, delightfully scented plants like honeysuckle would be ideal!

Honeysuckle is a wonderful ornamental plant you can choose for a narrow border, with its amazing smell and pretty flowers. You can find this plant in all climates, but it prefers a sunny location and well-drained soil. You will need to train it to a trellis if you want it to be upright and narrow.

Beardtongues (Penstemon)

Penstemon, or beardtongue, is a good pick for a striking and long-blooming plant with minimal water needs and impressive variety, with hundreds of species imaginable. They cover any small border with foxglove-looking blooms in almost every color—orange, pink, blue, red, white, purple, and yellow—in the summertime, shortly after your springtime bloomers have gone.

Penstemons love direct sunshine, so they need it to thrive. They also require highly well-drained soils and cannot grow in soggy soils, particularly in the wintertime.

Ferns (Tracheophyta)

You’ll love ferns if you have a narrow border in a shady spot in the yard. They add a lush, green backdrop to any space in the landscape, but they also add some much-needed color and texture. For small borders, the petite painted fern may be the best answer.

These low-maintenance plants are ideal for shady, moist areas where a few plants thrive. Their delicate foliage complements several other shade-loving plants; for example, when combined with other perennials like hostas, ferns provide a textural variation.

You should keep an eye on the soil, so it does not become too dry for your fern. If this happens, add water by spraying it with a spray bottle or sprinkler.

Foxglove (Digitalis)

Foxglove is another excellent, easy-to-maintain plant for narrow-border planting. It is a majestic flower with long beautiful spikes of bell-shaped blooms that birds and bees like.

Foxglove grows in dappled shades and small spaces, and it brightens up any gloomy space since it produces lots of clusters of tubular flowers, which come in different colors, including white, purple, pink, yellow, and red.

Japanese anemones (Eriocapitella hupehensis)

Japanese anemones are admired for bringing the late-season appeal to narrow borders far into the fall. They yield saucer-like white or pink blooms on tall, thin, branching stalks. When established, these hardy perennials are simple to maintain and adaptable, flourishing in sun or moderate shade and growing quickly.

Overall, these are hardy perennials that aren’t too picky with their environment, although they are enormously prolific in shady and dry conditions.

Fortune’s spindle (Euonymus fortunei)

Planting the Fortune’s Spindle or Winter Creeper plant on a narrow border is a great way to add interesting foliage to your garden.

Euonymous fortunei climbs if supported when planted as ground cover for the spectacular leaves. This plant, like a woody vine, may generate new rootlets when its limbs come into touch with moisture. Furthermore, when this vine grows up trees, it develops aerial rootlets along its stems.

I would only suggest this plant for a wider border that you are able to trim and prune regularly or that is tightly bordered by hardscapes to keep this plant in check.

Bearded iris (Iris × germanica)

Bearded irises are widely used in classic and contemporary landscape designs. These gorgeous plants require a small amount of space and flourish in a border where the sun hits the most.

Bearded irises come in almost every color, so you can use them to complement various garden color combinations. You may raise these low-maintenance plants in your yard if you have well-drained soil and a brightly sunlit location.

Espalier training trees

Trees are extremely beneficial because they provide shade, sustain and protect animals, and serve to control water runoff. To set up a narrow border, we recommend espalier-trained trees. These are perfect for compact landscapes and tight locations where spreading trees or bushes don’t fit since these usually woody trees take up minimal space and still grow flowers, leaves, and fruit when placed against the wall. Plus, these trees are a great way to conceal bland-looking walls in the landscape!

The classic espalier foci are pear and apple trees since their spurs survive for years bearing fruit. Nevertheless, you can also consider apricots and peaches as trees that you can train in this manner.


A Libertia plant is an excellent addition to any garden. They are known for their beautifully structured and textured green foliage, making them plants for narrow landscape borders.

Libertias are graceful perennials with leaves that resemble swords and light stems that carry white blooms. Libertia chilensis is a commonly used plant in landscaping since it prefers a sunny location and damp, well-drained soil, making it easy to care for. It’s perfect for narrow borders because of its clumping habit and eye-catching flowers and foliage. The same as the iris, it starts from rhizomes and grows gradually.


Almost any plant that holds its shape well can be squeezed into a narrow border, especially if you are an avid and regular pruner. The less that you like to prune and maintain, the smaller the full-grown plant should be.