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12 Colorful Plants for a Stunning Border Garden

Stunning Border Garden

When planting a mixed border garden, there are tons of wonderful plant varieties to choose from. The easiest (and often most economical) choices for planting in your border garden are hardy perennials and fast-growing annuals. The annuals and perennials in the following list make colorful border plants because they look great together. Additionally, they are low maintenance, have similar growing requirements and offer plenty of color throughout the growing season. They are the perfect addition to any garden design.

1. Angelonia

Angelonia is also known as the "summer snapdragon," although it is not related to true snapdragons. This annual plant is drought tolerant and thrives in heat, blooming all summer long. For a cool look in a warm garden, try 'Angelmist Dark Plum' (shown here) or 'Archangel Dark Purple,' two varieties with beautiful purple flowers. Grow them in drifts of multiple plants for a more stunning effect.

2. Astilbe

Astilbe (Astilbe sinensis) is a versatile and hardy perennial with ferny leaves and attractive summer flowers in shades of pink, purple and white. For example, 'Visions' (shown here) has beautiful pink flowers. If you want something in the back of your border garden, plant 'Purple Candles', whose upright bright purple flowers reach about 4 feet tall when in bloom.

3. Caladium

Caladiums offer stunning foliage that complements the colorful flowers around them. Plant caladiums outdoors in the spring after temperatures have warmed and the danger of frost has passed. In cold winter areas, you can use caladiums as annuals or transplant them into a pot in the fall and keep them as a houseplant until the following spring.

4. Creeping phlox

Spilling over rocks and forming mounds of bright purple flowers, creeping phlox (Phlox subulata) is also known as moss phlox. These easy-care perennials are perfect for the front of border gardens, with their low, creeping growth habit and bursts of flowers in late spring.

5. Dahlia

Dahlias come in countless sizes, shapes and colors, and many varieties make beautiful, colorful border plants. For example, 'Hypnotica Orange' is an eye-catching plant for the front of your border garden. Regular dead-heading and plenty of moisture will keep it looking its best throughout the growing season.

6. Lamb's Ear

Commonly called lamb's ear (Stachys byzantina) because of the shape and texture of the leaves, this slow-spreading perennial adds a touch of silver to landscape border gardens. Do not water the plants once they have grown. Flower stems can be allowed to go to seed to help fill in empty spots over time.

7. Verbena

Verbena is a summer favorite with bright colors of purple, red, pink and white flowers. This plant has an excellent ability to bloom throughout the season, attracting a variety of pollinators along the way. Its low-growing stems make it a good choice for edging your border garden.

8. Purple Coneflower

Native purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) make beautiful border garden plants and are pollinator magnets. Some newer varieties, like 'Powwow Wild Berry', offer a longer bloom time, producing stocky, purple flowers all summer long. Deadhead blooms early in the season for a long period of time, then leaves on plants late in the season to provide food for birds in the fall.

9. Panicle hydrangea

Panicle hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata) are easy-care shrubs that help anchor the back of a border garden. A popular variety is the 'Vanilla Strawberry' hydrangea (shown here) with white flowers that fade to pink. For smaller spaces, 'Strawberry Shake' is another option. Its white flowers slowly turn pink for a beautiful two-tone effect. Provide adequate water during the hot summer months.

10. Salvia

In general, annual and perennial salvias are drought tolerant, nearly immune to rabbits and deer, and very attractive to all types of pollinators, so they are well worth adding to the border garden. Although they come in many warm hues, many salvias are perfect for adding cool color. For example, the classic 'Victoria Blue' (shown here) and 'Saliphon Blue' mealycup sage (Salvia farinacea) are easy-care options with purple and blue flowers, respectively.

11. Black-Eyed Susan

When it comes to black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida), one of the most popular varieties is 'Goldsturm', thanks to its abundant yellow flowers, elegant habit and drought tolerance. Other varieties offer different colors and sizes. Flowers can be de-headed or left on plants to provide food for wild birds.

12. Stonecrop

Stonecrop (aka sedum) is another classic garden plant, especially 'Autumn Delight'. This variety is an excellent choice for adding late-season color to your border garden. Requiring only minimal care, 'Autumn Delight' produces flowers in late summer that turn bright pink to subdued bronze in fall. Leave the flower heads intact for winter interest.

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