13 Best Border Plants For Edging

Border plants are a great way to complete a garden’s design, whether edging a walkway or finishing a flower bed.

We’ll share 13 beautiful border plants that need little care but are still low-maintenance. The plants can significantly enhance any outdoor area. In addition, some come with additional benefits that will increase the value of having living garden edging.

Also, some of the plants can withstand foot traffic. And on sweltering summer days, nothing beats walking on plants barefoot instead of hot pavement or stone.

Plants also provide numerous advantages to the garden, such as crowding out weeds, retaining moisture, minimizing soil erosion, and providing habitat for important pollinators.

These plants come in various sizes, from tall to short, spreading or compact, helping you create the appearance of professionally designed places in your garden.

1.) Alyssum

Alyssum planted in garden edging

Alyssum is a well-liked option for use in borders because of its attractively delicate blossoms, which can create an impression when planted in clusters.

These plants are compact in size, only reaching around 9″ tall. Making them versatile in that they won’t block out other garden plants.

The excellent characteristics of Alyssum are that it is fast-growing and low-maintenance. The downfall is Aphids can be a problem. If you notice an aphid problem, you’ll want to add or attract ladybugs, which will eat aphids and keep the pest at bay.

Growing: Does best in USDA zones 5 -9, with well-draining, slightly moist soil. It may need a little extra watering during low rain periods.

2.) Lantana

lantana flower plants for landscaping border.

Lantana is available in red, yellow, orange, and white varieties, injecting a blaze of color into the landscape, making it an excellent choice for an edging plant.

Blooms in summer and fall. The leaves have a rough sandpaper feel to them.

These plants give off a citrus smell that attracts pollinators like butterflies. One in particular that enjoys Lantana is the spicebush swallowtail.

Growing: Fast-growing perennial in USDA zones 8-11. Does best in full sun.

Caution: Lantana is known to be toxic to some animals.

3.) Firebush

firebush plant used in the garden.

Hamelia patens, the scientific name for the commonly known plant, firebush, is a perennial or semi-woody shrub.

The vivid red flowers of firebush are a favorite of gardeners and wildlife, drawing in pollinators like hummingbirds and butterflies, such as the zebra longwing and gulf fritillary. But, of course, those berries are a favorite food of songbirds, too.

Firebush displays evergreen leaves coated with red hairs during the summer, while the plant yields orange tubular blooms.

Thrives in USDA hardiness zones 8-11, with late spring or summer being the best time to grow a firebush. Full sun is ideal for growth and blooming but may also be grown in partial shade.

Gardeners in coastal locations may appreciate that it is also relatively resistant to salt spray.

Planting is easy and can thrive in almost any soil as long as it drains properly.

4.) Ixora

Ixora plant edging a garden.

Ixora, commonly known as West Indian Jasmine, creates a stunning display of flowers and leaves. Its blossoms appear in hypnotizing hues of pink, orange, and yellow.

Does best in USDA zones 9+. With well-draining soil that is alkaline.

5.) Canna

canna lily plants in a garden

Beautiful orange, red, and yellow blooms are displayed with the Canna plants. Also, sometimes called canna lilies.

Perennials that will give your garden a tropical feel.

Planting a rhizome in the spring after the last frost will cause it to wait a few weeks to sprout, but it will then develop rapidly and usually bloom in the first year.

Growing: Does best in USDA zones 6a-10a with slightly acidic soil.

6.) Hostas

hostas along a garden path.

The classic and attractive leaves of hostas make them a fantastic option for lining a garden path. Hostas are herbaceous perennial plants that can tolerate a range of conditions.

These edging plants for borders draw just the right amount of attention with their unique leaf shape and flowering blooms.

You can also get creative with hosta varieties. There is a wide range to choose from, even blue-colored varieties.

hostas planted in garden.

Growing: USDA zones 3-9 and grow best in partial shade to full shade. They are also water lovers. So ensure the soil stays moist or water regularly if needed. Outside of that, they are not too picky.

7.) Lavender

lavender plants in a garden.

Modest height and colorful blooms have made lavender a favorite edging plant. Not to mention the hypnotic scent the plant gives off.

Lavender is a classic garden plant that will look great just about anywhere.

As a bonus, you’ll attract more life to your garden as the plants attract beneficial insects. Such as bees and butterflies.

What’s great about lavender is that it often thrives in poor-quality soil. In addition, it doesn’t require much water and is considered a drought-tolerant plant. So, make sure it is in well-draining soil that is slightly alkaline.

This border plant requires a good amount of sun, so make sure not to plant it in a shady area. It also needs alkaline to mildly neutral pH soil. It is recommended not to add any organic soil when planting.

lavender plants

If you’re still not sold on lavender, check this out. A study was completed in 2002, showing lavender can be used to keep mosquitoes away. The study showed the essential oil of Lavender officinalis worked at keeping adult mosquitoes away.

8.) Ferns

ferns along a garden path of stone.

Ferns can be an excellent choice along wooded trails and pathways if you have a shaded garden.

Some of the world’s oldest plants, ferns thrive in temperate, tropical, and colder regions.

Numerous varieties available can grow in a range of growing zones. Just place them in full to partial shade with moist and rich soil.

9.) Moss Phlox

landscape edging with moss phlox plant

Also called creeping phlox, this plant produces small and colorful blooms making Moss phlox an easy-care, beautiful option for borders and edging.

It does best in loamy, sandy soil that is well-draining in partial to full shade.

Growing: USDA growing zones 5-9.

10.) Zinnias

zinnia used as garden edging.

Zinnias of varying heights and hues in a garden border provide a stunning visual effect. And it’s straightforward to cultivate and adaptable in a wide variety of situations.

zinnia plants up close.

One bummer about zinnias is that there are annual, not perennial. Although, you can save the seeds at the end of the year and replant the follower season.

Growing: Does best in USDA zones 3-10, in well-draining neutral pH soil.

11.) Begonias

begonia planted on the edge of a garden bed.

There is a wide range of begonias available, each of which is suited to a different kind of soil and temperature, making them a flexible choice for use as a garden border.

12.) Lady’s Mantle

ladys mantle plant in the garden along a path.

Beautiful groundcover, Lady’s Mantle is an excellent choice for shady areas like pathways and tree canopies. This is the plant to use if you need to soften the edges of your borders.

Featuring greenish-yellow blooms with a soft texture.

This border plant doesn’t like too much direct sun or heat. So, if you’re in a hot climate, you may want to mulch the base and plant in an area that gets some afternoon shade.

Growing Zones: Does best in USDA zones 3-8.

13.) Creeping Thyme

pathway with creeping thyme.
Creeping thyme was planted between the stone pathway (not in bloom).

Creeping thyme is another excellent border plant. It’s a fragrant ground cover with lovely purple blooms. The blossoms have a light, herbal aroma, releasing that perfume when crushed.

Great for brightening up garden beds and softening harsh landscape edging.

Another herbaceous perennial that stays company in size. Only reaches 6″ tall and reach about 18″ wide.

Creeping thyme is similar to lavender in that it doesn’t like much water (once established) and needs sun.

creeping thyme in bloom.

Tip: If you want your plants to be more “bushy,” you can regularly prune them. This will create more stems and also get rid of dead foliage.

Growing: Does best in USDA zones 4-9 with full sun.

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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.