61 Low Growing Perennial Plants For Garden Edges and Borders
Are you thinking of adding some shorter perennial plants to your garden edges or borders? In this article, we examine 61 of our favorite perennial plants that are smaller in stature. These plants will return year after year, and give your garden a great look with the foliage that's closer to the ground.
There are many reasons to create a garden border, from aesthetics to actual use cases. Luckily, short perennials do an excellent job of rapidly filling in an area. Even better, you can use some perennials as vegetables or herbs depending on your climate.
However finding the right low growing perennials that will come back year after year can be a challenge without a little bit of guidance. You want to have the right balance of color and plant shapes in your yard so it doesn’t feel off balance.
So, whether you’re aiming to achieve a specific color scheme for your garden edge or you’re waffling about the look you’re going for, our 61 low-lying perennial recommendations below will undoubtedly help you narrow down your version of the perfect garden border.
- 1 Astilbe
- 2 Autumn Fern
- 3 Barrenwort
- 4 Bearberry
- 5 Blanket Flower
- 6 Bleeding Heart
- 7 Blue-Eyed Grass
- 8 Blue Star Creeper
- 9 Calla Lily
- 10 Catmint
- 11 Coral Bells
- 12 Creeping Mazus
- 13 Creeping Thyme
- 14 Daylily
- 15 Dusty Miller
- 16 Dwarf Abelia
- 17 Dwarf Fountain Grass
- 18 Dwarf Lobelia
- 19 Dwarf New England Aster
- 20 Dwarf Plumbago
- 21 Dwarf Purple Coneflower
- 22 Eastern Pasque Flower
- 23 European Wild Ginger
- 24 Foamflower
- 25 Garden Violet
- 26 Goldenrod
- 27 Happy Face Cinquefoil
- 28 Hardy Geranium
- 29 Heucherella
- 30 Hostas
- 31 Irish Moss
- 32 Japanese Aster
- 33 Japanese Forest Grass
- 34 Japanese Onion
- 35 Lady’s Mantle
- 36 Lamb’s Ear
- 37 Largeleaf Brunnera
- 38 Lavender
- 39 Low-Growing Perennial Pinks
- 40 Lungwort
- 41 Monkey Grass
- 42 Mop Head Hydrangea
- 43 Pigsqueak
- 44 Pussytoes
- 45 Roman Chamomile
- 46 Rose Vervain
- 47 Salvia
- 48 Scotch Moss
- 49 Sedge
- 50 Shasta Daisy
- 51 Small Daylily
- 52 Snowdrop Anemone
- 53 Spotted Deadnettle
- 54 Stokes Aster
- 55 Stonecrop
- 56 Toad Lily
- 57 Threadleaf Coreopsis
- 58 Veronica Speedwell
- 59 Vervain
- 60 Winecup
- 61 Woolly Yarrow
- 62 Final Thoughts
Scientific name: Astilbe
The beautiful Astilbe plant has spikey flowers that range in color from white to dark purple. There are many varieties of this flower, some with straight stems and others with arching stems.
Abstile plants grow best in the shade with one to two hours of sunlight per day. They like well-fertilized soil that drains well. You can cut their plumes back in the spring and expect flowers from spring to summer. Astilbe flourishes in USDA Zones 4-9.
Scientific name: Dryopteris Erythrosora
Autumn Ferns make for excellent green foliage along garden edges and borders in shaded or wooded areas. As youngsters, the autumn fern is copper-red before changing to green.
The slow-growing Autumn Fern gets up to 24 inches tall and needs moist soil, so you should water it weekly at a minimum. It spreads quickly via underground stems but is slow to reach maturity. Autumn Ferns grow in USDA Zones 4-9.
Scientific name: Epimedium Grandiflorum
The hardy Barrenwort grows up to one-foot tall and three feet wide, boasting flowers of pink, yellow, orange, and more colors in the spring. If you pick the right variety, this can be an evergreen plant, with its intricate veins offering a unique appearance.
Barrenwort needs partial or complete shade. It does an excellent job withstanding drought with the support of leathery leaves, making it an ideal low-maintenance short perennial. Barrenwort thrives in USDA Zones 4-8.
Scientific name: Arctostaphylos Uva-Ursi
If your garden contains sandy and rocky soil, Bearberry is an excellent fit. The low-lying plant uses rhizomes to create a thick mat where you plant it, and its white or pink flowers attract butterflies from April to June.
Bearberry needs acidic soil with a pH ranging from 4.0 to 6.0. It does best in dry to medium soil moisture. This perennial also prefers full sun. Bearberry thrives in USDA Zones 2-7.
Scientific name: Gaillardia
Blanket Flowers are orange perennial flowers, that provide a wildflower look that lasts for much of the year. They’re native to the central U.S. and Mexico, so they have a high tolerance for both drought and cooler temperatures.
Most Blanket Flower stems grow between one and three feet, so they may require trimming to keep them short. In addition, they need full sun to produce their rich red and yellow colors. Blanket Flowers grow in USDA Zones 3-10.
Scientific name: Dicentra Spectabilis
The beautiful woodland Bleeding Heart enjoys shade, which allows it to produce heart-shaped pink or red perennial flowers with white tips in the spring. The shortest versions of bleeding hearts grow only six inches tall and one foot wide.
Bleeding Hearts need moist, organic soil and full or partial shade. They prefer slightly acidic soil ranging from 6.0 to 6.5, as they’re native to eastern Asia. Bleeding Hearts require USDA Zones of 2-9.
Scientific name: Sisyrinchium Angustifolium
Don’t let it fool you—Blue-Eyed Grass is a gorgeous perennial with purple flowers, not a grass species. Nevertheless, its sword-like, upward-growing leaves make it look like grass when it isn’t in bloom.
You can expect Blue-Eyed Grass to grow between eight and 20 inches tall, with a few centimeters of extra height added when the plant flowers. It thrives in rich, well-draining soil and full sunlight. Blue-Eyed Grass grows in USDA Zones 4-9.
Blue Star Creeper
Scientific name: Isotoma Fluviatilis
Blue Star Creepers make for excellent ground cover around garden edges and borders because they spread fast and grow no higher than three inches, creating a thick mat. In addition, they boast purple to blue star-shaped flowers that bloom from spring to summer.
They prefer full sun and hold up well in a range of soil pH from 6.1 to 7.8, taking the word “hardiness” to the next level since they can withstand foot traffic. The Blue Star Creeper flourishes in USDA Zones 6-9.
Scientific name: Zantedeschia Aethiopica
Resembling Christmas colors with its large, glossy green leaves and deep red trumpet-shaped flowers, the Calla Lily is a gorgeous staple to garden borders. That said, you can also purchase this plant in many other flower colors, including black.
Adult Calla Lilies grow up to 18 inches tall and are self-sufficient. They prefer full sun or partial shade and moist soil, when possible. The Calla Lily grows in USDA Zones 8-10.
Scientific name: Nepeta
As a member of the mint family, Catmint’s grayish-green leaves have a minty scent. The plant blooms several times throughout the year, offering pink, purplish-blue, or white flowers.
The sprawling nature of Catmint makes it an excellent perennial for garden edges, especially since it’s a deer deterrent. It’ll grow ten to 24 inches tall in full or partly shaded areas with dry and fast-draining soil. Catmint grows in USDA Zones 4-8.
Scientific name: Heuchera
Coral Bells are short perennials with thin wooden stems. They have tiny round flowers that dangle outwards, giving them the appearance of a bell or Christmas tree. You can choose to purchase this eight to 18-inch tall plant in coral, pink, or red colors, among others.
You should plant Coral Bells in full sun or partial shade. They require neutral to acidic soil and frequent watering with well-draining soil. Coral Bells grow best in USDA Zones 4-8.
Scientific name: Mazus Reptans
If you expect your border or garden edge to get some foot traffic, planting Creeping Mazus is an excellent option as it’s hardy and feels soft to the touch. If you plant it in warm climates, you can expect it to maintain beautiful green leaves year-round.
You can plant the Creeping Mazus in just about any soil type and pH. However, make sure it won’t be around standing water. The Creeping Mazus grows in USDA Zones 5-8.
Scientific name: Thymus Serpyllum
If you’re looking for a short perennial for your garden border that you can also use in cooking, Creeping Thyme is an excellent choice. It has a vine-like nature, making for fantastic ground cover. It also has pink, white, or purple flowers that bloom in the summer.
You should plant Creeping Thyme in loose soil with rocks or sand and a neutral pH. You can expect this plant to grow two to six inches tall. Creeping Thyme requires USDA Zones from 4-9.
Scientific name: Hemerocallis
Daylilies are a favorite for garden edges and borders because of their large, orange-yellow flowers with six petals. They bloom anywhere from spring to fall, sometimes multiple times throughout the year. That’s a positive, given the Daylily flower’s petals drop after one day.
The hardy Daylily can withstand poor soil conditions, drought, and sporadic amounts of sunlight, although it prefers full sun and slightly acidic to neutral soil. Daylilies grow in USDA Zones 4-9. Daylilies are an invasive flower type, so make sure to keep their growth controlled so they don’t overtake your garden.
Scientific name: Senecio Cineraria
The Dusty Miller is a classic short perennial for garden edges and borders, given that it grows six to 18 inches tall. It has head-turning silvery-white leaves that remain that way from the time you plant them. In the summer, pretty yellow flowers form.
Dusty Millers need full sunlight and prefer a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.0. They don’t need super organic soil, but it should be well-draining. The Dusty Miller grows in USDA Zones 8-11.
Scientific name: Abelia X Grandiflora
The Dwarf Abelia is an attractive small shrub, with the smallest varieties reaching up to two feet tall and three feet wide. It has deep green leaves with a central rib. In the spring, white flowers adorn the bush. In the fall, the leaves turn orange-red.
The low-maintenance Dwarf Abelias need moderate amounts of water and full sun or partial shade. Dwarf Abelias thrive in USDA Zones 5-9.
Dwarf Fountain Grass
Scientific name: Pennisetum Alopecuroides
The fluffy Dwarf Fountain Grass has long, wispy arches of green stems during the spring and summer, which turn brown in the fall. The grass has white flowers on its tips, and you can expect it to sprawl up to two feet wide.
Dwarf Fountain Grass is self-sufficient, requiring little water and fertilizer. However, it needs to be in full sun to thrive. Dwarf Fountain Grass flourishes in USDA Zones 4-11.
Scientific name: Lobelia Erinus
If you’re looking for short perennials with many tiny flowers, the Dwarf Lobelia is an excellent choice for your garden edge or border. Its flowers come in brilliant blues and lilacs, although you can also choose white. The plant grows four to six inches tall.
Dwarf Lobelia prefers semi-shade. It likes slightly acidic soil that’s moist and well-draining. Dwarf Lobelia grows in USDA Zones 2-10.
Dwarf New England Aster
Scientific name: Symphyotrichum Novae-Angliae
The late summer and fall are when Dwarf New England Asters offer their stunning purple flowers. Traditionally a wildflower, the dwarf version of this plant grows between 12 to 24 inches tall.
From clay to sand, the Dwarf New England Aster can thrive. They prefer full sun and an average amount of soil moisture. The Dwarf New England Aster grows in USDA Zones 3-8.
Scientific name: Ceratostigma Plumbaginoides
Dwarf Plumbagos are fast-growing plants with deep green leaves and spiral-like stems, and it produces richly colored blue flowers in the summer to early fall. Because of its spreading nature, this is an ideal short perennial for large border areas.
You can plant Dwarf Plumbago in full or partial sun. They need water at least once per week and even more than that in hot conditions. The Dwarf Plumbago requires USDA Zones 5-9.
Dwarf Purple Coneflower
Scientific name: Echinacea X Purpurea
The beautiful pink flowers with a chocolate-colored central cone attract gardeners to the Dwarf Purple Coneflower. Although its flowers grow up to three inches in diameter, the plant itself only grows up to 18 inches tall.
You’ll need to plant your Dwarf Purple Coneflower in sandy, chalky, or loam-like soils. They prefer full sun with any kind of soil pH. Dwarf Purple Coneflowers grow in USDA zones 4-8.
Eastern Pasque Flower
Scientific name: Pulsatilla Patens
The Eastern Pasque Flower is the provincial flower of Manitoba, Canada, and for a good reason—its large buttercup-like flowers draw heads with their light purple to blue hue and a deep yellow center.
These plants thrive in grassland-like conditions. So, they should have lots of sun and dry conditions with a narrow pH soil range of 6.8 to 7.2. Eastern Pasque Flowers prefer USDA Zones of 4-7.
European Wild Ginger
Scientific name: Asarum Europaeum
The tropical-like European Wild Ginger has gorgeous round, glossy leaves with a three-inch diameter. You shouldn’t get this six-inch-high perennial for its flowers, for they bloom for a short time in the late spring, but its leaves cover the white buds.
Your European Wild Ginger will need lots of shade and prefers humusy soil. Make sure they have plenty of water but that their slightly acidic soil is well-draining. European Wild Ginger grows in USDA Zones 4-8.
Scientific name: Tiarella Cordifolia
The Foamflower has its origins as a wildflower and is among the best short perennials for fast-growing and low-lying foliage. These perennials create white blooms and have heart-shaped deep green leaves. Stalks rise from the earth bearing star-looking flowers in racemes.
Foamflowers need lots of shade and moist, preferably humus soil. They prefer neutral or acidic soil with a decent amount of organic material. Foamflowers grow in USDA Zones 4-9.
Scientific name: Viola Odorata
Garden Violets are an excellent choice if you want to create a beautiful garden edge or flower border while having a fragrance that will wow you every time you step out your door. They grow six to ten inches tall and have several different flower colors, from dark blue to pale rose.
The low-maintenance Garden Violets can handle full or partial sunlight. It thrives in any soil pH, and it will quickly spread on its own. Garden Violets grow in USDA Zones 4-9.
Scientific name: Solidago
Whether Goldenrod is a weed or wildflower is up for debate, but one thing is certain—its gold-colored flowers from late summer to fall are beautiful. The rest of the year, they have long, deep green leaves.
Goldenrods reproduce at a speedy pace with the help of rhizomes. Goldenrods live in USDA zones of 3-9. They need full sun with average soil that drains well. They are also well known to attract butterflies.
Happy Face Cinquefoil
Scientific name: Potentilla Fruticosa
The bushy short perennial Happy Face Cinquefoil makes for a colorful garden border thanks to its yellow flowers. It grows so many flowers that it often blocks the plant’s small green leaves. Best of all, the flowers remain from late spring until the first frost.
Small Happy Face Cinquefoils grow only two feet tall and require little maintenance. They hold up well in drought and salty conditions and can handle any soil pH level. Happy Face Cinquefoils thrive in USDA Zones 2-7.
Scientific name: Geranium
Bursting with colorful pink, magenta, blue, or white one-inch flowers, the Hardy Geranium will create a dense carpet in the area where you plant it. The plant often blooms a few times between mid-summer and fall.
The six to 12-inch Hardy Geranium requires full sun or partial shade. It enjoys a medium amount of watering and needs a soil pH between 5.8 to 6.3. Hardy Geraniums grow in USDA Zones 3-9.
Scientific name: X Heucherella
If pretty leaves make you swoon as much as beautiful flowers, you’ll appreciate Huecherella’s multi-colored green, red, and orange-colored foliage. The leaves have a heart shape and do an excellent job of filling borders, thanks to their fast-growing nature.
Huecherella’s roots are sensitive to moisture, so ensure you plant them in an area away from standing water. It prefers full shade, although some sun is okay if it’s in a cool climate. Huecherella grows best in USDA Zones 4-9.
Scientific name: Hosta
The leaf-based Hosta offers over 3,000 cultivars within its species. You can choose from solid grey to green leaves or leaves with a white outline. In either case, large stalks grow from this bush, producing flowers in season.
Aside from crown rot from poorly draining soil, it’s hard to destroy a Hosta. The amount of sun your plant needs will vary according to its leaf color—the darker its leaves, the more shade it requires. Hostas grow in USDA Zones 3-9.
Scientific name: Chondrus Crispus
If you’re looking for short perennials for your garden border that resemble grass but with a fancier appearance, Irish Moss is a great choice. It has stringy leaves that weave together. Small five-petal white flowers appear in the spring and summer.
Irish Moss is slow-growing, so it’s crucial to maximize its success by giving it full or partial sun in sandy or loamy soil. It thrives in USDA Zones 4-8.
Scientific name: Kalimeris Incisa
The Japanese Aster resembles mini daisies with its 12 to 18-inch tall bushy growth. Thick groups of white flowers with yellow centers protrude from the plant’s thin, long leaves on individual stalks.
You should plant Japanese Asters in full sun since they won’t flower as much if they’re in partial shade. Japanese Asters require little watering, as they handle drought well. They do best in USDA Zones 5-9.
Japanese Forest Grass
Scientific name: Hakonechloa Macra
Japanese Forest Grass resembles a waterfall, with its long, thin green and white striped leaves cascading over one another. In the fall, its leaves turn an orangish-bronze color. Although it produces flower stalks in the mid-summer, this isn’t the kind of plant to purchase for them.
You should offer your Japanese Forest Grass full or partial shade with lots of soil moisture. It’s a slow-growing grass, so it’ll take time for it to reach its 24-inch tall adult height. Japanese Forest Grass grows best in USDA Zones 5-9.
Scientific name: Allium Fistulosum
If you love the thought of having a garden edge that you can occasionally pick to eat onions, the Japanese onion is an excellent option. Native to central China, the Japanese Onion has long, thick green leaves that protrude from a bulb.
Japanese Onions love deep, organic-rich soil with a medium but frequent amount of water. They do well in cooler climates with full sun. The Japanese Onion thrives in USDA Zones 6-9.
Scientific name: Alchemilla Mollis
Although the Lady’s Mantle produces yellow clusters of flowers in the late spring, it’s this plant’s leaves that make it such a great contender for short perennial garden borders. The mounding plant has wide, round leaves with attractive points.
The Lady’s Mantle grows 12 to 18 inches tall in full or partial shade. It likes acidic or neutral soil ranging from 5.5 to 7. It grows in USDA Zones 3b-8b.
Scientific name: Stachys Byzantina
Lamb’s Ear will leave any visitor crouching down to touch it, for it has a soft, hairy texture that covers its blue-green leaves. The fast-growing plant is famous for its leaves, but at times, large 12 to 18-inch spikes will come out of it, producing purple flowers.
You should plant Lamb’s Ear in full or partial sun with soil ranging from a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. It prefers well-draining soil and holds up well in dry conditions. Lamb’s Ear grows in USDA Zones 4a-9a.
Scientific name: Brunnera Macrophylla
The Largeleaf Brunnera is a stunner, with its heart-shaped green leaves and tiny blue centers that sit on top of thin steps during the spring. It’ll take some time for Largeleaf Brunneras to fill your garden border space. But once it does, it’ll provide a thick ground cover.
You can plant Largeleaf Brunneras in any amount (or lack thereof) of sunlight. They can also grow in just about any pH, but they prefer well-draining soil with a medium amount of water. Largeleaf Brunneras grow in USDA Zones 3-8.
Scientific name: Lavandula Angustifolia
Did you know that Lavender is in the mint family? The Mediterranean native plant offers garden borders a visual and sensory experience with its clump of purple flowers and fragrant smell.
Lavender requires dry and well-draining conditions with alkaline soil. The smallest varieties grow two-feet tall in full sun and four feet wide. Keep in mind that this plant is toxic to pets. Lavender grows in USDA Zones 5a-9a.
Low-Growing Perennial Pinks
Scientific name: Dianthus
Perennial Pinks are a group of low-growing flowers with a vibrant fragrance and beautiful blooms ranging in shades of pink and white. Perennial pinks grow six to 18-inches tall. Their flowers typically stay on the plant from May to October.
You should plant your Perennial Pinks along garden edges that receive a minimum of six hours of sunlight. They prefer nutrient-rich alkaline soil. Perennial Pinks grow in USDA Zones 3-9.
Scientific name: Pulmonaria
Lungwort has a double meaning—it has medicinal properties to treat lung issues, and its leaves have a lung-like shape. As an early blooming plant, lungwort is ideal as a garden border. It grows up to 18 inches tall and attracts humminbirds as well as other pollinators.
Consider planting Lungwort in areas that receive partial or full sun. It thrives in a range of pH levels, but you should ensure the soil remains moist. Lungwort grows in USDA Zones 3-8.
Scientific name: Liriope Muscari
Monkey Grass appropriately has the nickname “border grass.” It has narrow, deep green leaves that cascade out to the side. In the center, many stalks grow above the grass, boasting a series of tiny violet, white, or pink flowers.
Ideally, you should use Monkey Grass in challenging garden borders, such as those along hills. Monkey Grass can grow in just about any soil and sunlight condition, although you should prune it annually. It grows in USDA Zones 5-10.
Mop Head Hydrangea
Scientific name: Hydrangea Macrophylla
The beautiful Mop Head Hydrangea offers a colorful garden border, with its massive flower clusters ranging from blue to pink to white. You can expect them to bloom in the late spring or early summer and remain through the fall, where they dry and stay on the branch.
You should give your Mop Head Hydrangeas one inch of water weekly, and these plants prefer shade and rich soil. Mop Head Hydrangeas grow well in USDA Zones 6a-11a.
Scientific name: Bergenia Purpurascens
You guessed it—Pigsqueaks are among the pink-colored short perennials you can choose from for your garden edge. They have large dark green glossy leaves, making them an attractive plant even when the flowers aren’t in bloom.
Pigsqueaks prefer shade or partial shade in a wide range of soil pH. They also need soil with high moisture retention. Pigsqueaks grow in USDA Zones 4-9.
Scientific name: Antennaria Plantaginifolia
The most attractive quality about Pussytoes is their leaves, which have a velvety feel and grow along the ground. They do flower in the spring, with the stalks the white or pink flowers sit on growing as high as one foot.
These plants prefer full or partial sunlight and don’t need lots of watering—medium-dry to dry soil is ideal. Pussytoes grow in USDA Zones 3-8.
Scientific name: Chamaemelum Nobile
Roman Chamomile is a short evergreen perennial growing three to six inches tall. It produces an inviting aroma and white flowers with yellow centers from the summer to early fall. You can use its dried flowers to make homemade chamomile tea.
Full sun or partial shade is best for growing chamomile as a garden border. It likes a medium amount of water. Roman Chamomile grows in USDA Zones 4-9.
Scientific name: Glandularia Canadensis
The Rose Vervain doesn’t resemble the looks of a rose, but it has fragrant rose-pink-colored flowers with five petals. Often, Rose Vervain has hairy and small leaves with many notches around its edges.
Rose Vervains grow up to ten inches high and require a partly shaded environment. They excel in sandy, rocky, and acidic soil. They grow in USDA Zones of 5-9.
Scientific name: Salvia Diviorum
There may be more than one reason you want to grow Salvia as a garden edge—it has psychoactive properties. But aside from this, Salvia’s brilliant purple flower tubes and velvety leaves make it an attractive edging, as long as you keep it trimmed to within two-feet high.
Salvia plants are excellent for growing in hot, dry areas as they have a high drought tolerance. They don’t need nutrient-rich soil, and you can opt to prune their woody stems. Slavia grows well in USDA Zones 3-8.
Scientific name: Sagina Subulata
Scotch Moss is technically an evergreen, not moss. However, its one to two-inch high and ten-inch wide foliage can look like moss from afar. In the late spring and summer, it blooms with small white flowers.
You should plant Scotch Moss in nutrient-dense soil. It prefers a pH of 5.6 to 7.5 and full or partial sunlight. Scotch Moss thrives in USDA Zones 4-8.
Scientific name: Carex Pensylvanica
Sedge is a grassy plant ideal for covering large areas as garden edges. It has thick, arching blades that clump together, forming an adult height of around eight inches. Flowers appear in the late spring, but it’s the leafy foliage that draws attention.
Loose loam and dry or medium-wet soil are ideal for Sedge. It grows best under trees, so full or partial shade is best. Sedge grows well in USDA Zones 3-8.
Scientific name: Leucanthemum X Superbum
Shasta Daisy looks similar to how you’d expect it, with attractive white flowers and a yellow center. But the advantage of this daisy variety is that their smallest size grows up to only nine inches.
Plant Shasta Daisies in loamy soil with a neutral pH. You can expect them to bloom in the spring or summer and to have flowers until the fall. Shasta Daisies grow in USDA Zones 5-9.
Scientific name: Hemerocallis Minor
Daylilies can grow tall, but Small Daylilies (also called dwarf lilies) make for excellent short perennials for garden borders. They come in a range of flower colors with often a lighter colored hue in their center, blooming in mid to late summer.
They need full sun or partial shade and can grow in just about any time or soil except soggy dirt. Small Daylilies grow in USDA Zones 3-9.
Scientific name: Anemone Sylvestris
Snowdrop Anemones have a snowflake-like look, with white flowers and petals gently turned upward. It’s a fast-growing plant with underground stems sparking new growth.
You’ll need to ensure your Snowdrop Anemones have access to lots of water and shade. Furthermore, they need loose soil to spread their roots freely. Snowdrop Anemones grow in USDA Zones 2-9.
Scientific name: Lamium Maculatum
The vibrant Spotted Deadnettle is an evergreen in warm climates and semi-evergreen in cooler climates. They have attractive dark green leaves that splay out into three triangles. They offer delicate pink, purple, white, or mauve-colored flowers from May to July.
Spotted Deadnettles grow three to 12 inches tall if you keep them in full or partial shade and plant them in acidic soil. They enjoy well-drained soil and average watering. Spotted Deadnettles grow in USDA Zones 4-8.
Scientific name: Stokesia Laevis
Stokes Asters make for a perfect garden border if you’re interested in a plant with unique, intricate flowers. Their purple, pink, and yellow petals, among others, create a gorgeous landscape above their leafy greenery.
You should plant Stokes Asters in a sunny area in a cool climate. They don’t need tons of water, as they hold up well in droughts, but you should offer them slightly acidic soil. Stokes Asters grow in USDA Zones 5-9.
Scientific name: Sedum
Many varieties of stonecrop exist, so you’ll want to ensure that you purchase a shorter version. Once you do, you’ll get to enjoy this plant’s star-shaped flowers that appear later in the season. It grows at a moderate pace, and its clumping nature makes for a unique border.
Stonecrops, or sedum plants, need full or partial sunlight. They thrive in acidic or neutral soil, and you can mix and match different color stonecrops to create a visually attractive border. Stonecrops grow in USDA Zones 3-10.
Scientific name: Tricyrtis Hirta
Toad Lilies will steal the show of your garden border, for the plant’s axels produce vibrantly colored flowers with different colored spots. In addition, these plants have arching stems and will remain small if they have access to little water.
You should aim to plant your Toad Lilies in hotter environments. They’re a delicate plant, so you should keep them away from wind-prone areas. Toad Lilies grow in USDA Zones 4-9.
Scientific name: Coreopsis Verticillata
You’ll get double your money for using the Threadleaf Coreopsis as a garden border; its leaves create a beautiful bush appearance and have pretty pale yellow flower clusters. The flowers bloom in the early summer and remain through September.
The Threadleaf Coreopsis has specific growing requirements. It’ll only survive in full sun, and it must have well-draining soil. The Threadleaf Coreopsis prefers USDA Zones 3-9.
Scientific name: Veronica Spicata
Rising up from wispy, leafy mounds, the Veronica Speedwell boasts large spikes bearing small star-like flowers. Together, it makes the plant look like it has huge spiky flowers from afar. You can purchase Veronica Speedwell varieties that grow as short as six inches.
You should plant Veronica Speedwell in well-drained soil with a neutral pH. Their pink, white, or purple-blue flowers will arrive in the summer if they have full sun. Veronica Speedwell thrives in USDA Zones 3-8.
Scientific name: Verbena Officinalis
The popular herb Vervain grows one foot or taller and produces small, deep purple flowers emerging from several stalks clumped together. The flowers appear at different times, making this an artsy-looking plant.
Vervains love to spread, and they’ll do so if they have full or partial sun. You should ensure they have well-draining and fertilized soil. Vervain grows in USDA Zones 4-9.
Scientific name: Callirhoe Involucrata
Winecup is a wildflower that—you guessed it—looks like a cup of wine thanks to its upward turning petals and deep pinkish-red color. These are excellent short perennials for your garden border, given that they have vine-like stems that create a mat ground covering.
You’ll need to give your Winecups plenty of access to full sunlight. They enjoy sandy soil but can withstand clay soil. Winecups prefer USDA Zones 4-8.
Scientific name: Achillea Tomentosa
The Woolly Yarrow boasts a bushy appearance with both its leaves and flowers. It blooms in the spring, keeping its dense yellow clusters through summer. It fills in nicely, making it an excellent choice for a garden edge.
Woolly Yarrows are low-maintenance plants that prefer sandy soil and little water. There’s little need to fertilize them, but you should cut the plant to its basal leaves after flowering if you want it to bloom in the fall. Wolly Yarrows grow in USDA Zones 2-9.
Whether your garden edges and borders sit beside a forest or in a dry, sunny area, you now know that there are many short perennials for you to select. From brilliant flowers to glossy green leaves, your garden border will surely draw the eye of any guest that visits your home.
So, what are you waiting for? Start planting those seeds or head to your local garden center to load up on your favorite short perennial from this list. If you need some additional guidance on other perennial plants, check out our perennial plant guides, and perennial flower guides.