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Best Low-Growing Perennials for Garden Borders and Walkways (2023)

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low growing perennials for garden bordersOh dear gardener, haven’t we all wished for a magical low-growing border that fills itself in? If only pretty flowers popped up on their own with no help from us. Unfortunately, that perfect garden doesn’t exist. But with a little planning, the right perennials can give you the next best thing – beautiful, easy-care flowers along your garden’s edge.

Let’s talk low-growing perennials! With some research and shopping around, you’ll find plants that fit your space and style without much work. Look for tough varieties that thrive in your climate. Focus on those that spread or self-seed so you get more flowers every year.

A border filled with carefully chosen perennials provides beauty that lasts.

Key Takeaways

  • Low-growing perennials provide beautiful, easy-care flowers along garden borders.
  • Tough varieties that thrive in your climate are ideal choices.
  • Look for plants that spread or self-seed for more flowers every year.
  • Mix plants with different leaf shapes, sizes, colors, and textures for visual interest.

Moss Phlox (Phlox Subulata)

Moss Phlox (Phlox Subulata)
Consider using Moss Phlox as a colorful groundcover in your flowerbeds. With its low, mat-forming growth habit, this hardy perennial creates a carpet of lively color. Choose from white, pink, red, lavender, or bluish-purple blooms that open in spring, lighting up your garden.

Combine Moss Phlox with other rock garden plants like sedums, creeping thyme, and hens and chicks for impact. Or let it spill over walls and trail down stone steps. Plant it in full sun and well-drained soil, and avoid wet sites.

Once established, Moss Phlox is drought-tolerant and needs little care to thrive. Allow it to spread into a dense mat to choke out weeds. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage reblooming.

With its vivid blooms and easy care, Moss Phlox brings charm to pathways, rock gardens, and more.

Eastern Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla Patens)

Eastern Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla Patens)
Picture Pulsatilla patens’ feathery leaves and nodding bell flowers dancing in the breeze along your garden’s edge.

  • Delight in its fuzzy, silvery buds opening to lavender blooms in early spring.
  • Appreciate its low, mounded form spreading moderately to fill gaps.
  • Snip off spent blooms to encourage continued flowering.
  • Mix with other early spring ephemerals like crocus for a painter’s palette of color.

This native wildflower with precious spring blooms thrives in rock gardens, cottage gardens, and herbaceous borders. Allow Eastern Pasque Flower to cascade gracefully along the front of flower beds or garden edges.

Bearberry (Arctostaphylos Uva-ursi)

Bearberry (Arctostaphylos Uva-ursi)
Let’s crawl before we run. What image comes to mind when you think about bearberry in a garden? This tough evergreen groundcover thrives in poor soil and full sun, providing year-round interest with white spring flowers and red fall berries.

Use bearberry as a low care edging or creeping groundcover between daylilies, thyme, geraniums, and sedums. It mingles beautifully with other drought-tolerant perennials, adds winter structure, and prevents weeds in hot, dry spots.

Liberate yourself from fussy borders – bearberry is a carefree companion for partial shade gardens and rock gardens alike.

Height Spread Light Water Flower Color Bloom Time
6-8 inches 3-6 feet Full Sun to Partial Shade Low White Spring

Pussytoes (Antennaria Plantaginifolia)

Pussytoes (Antennaria Plantaginifolia)
The frothy white blooms of pussytoes spread like cotton across your garden. Let this low-growing native perennial become your new favorite spring groundcover. With its ability to thrive in poor soil and tolerate drought, pussytoes presents a gorgeous opportunity to suppress weeds.

Enjoy the petite size, or let it spread into a mat up to 2 feet wide. Pair pussytoes with other low-growing beauties like rose vervain, dusty miller, creeping thyme, or dwarf columbine for a flawless border.

Rose Vervain (Glandularia Canadensis)

Rose Vervain (Glandularia Canadensis)
You’ll love how rose vervain’s purple flowers and foliage complement other low-growing perennials in the garden border. This tough, drought-tolerant perennial thrives in full sun and poor soil. Plant rose vervain in spring from container plants or cuttings.

Its attractive lilac-purple flowers bloom all summer, attracting butterflies. The aromatic gray-green leaves spread rapidly to form a pretty groundcover. Combine rose vervain with blue star creeper, creeping thyme, dwarf plumbago, veronica speedwell, and other low growers.

The rose vervain’s purple blossoms and foliage provide beautiful contrast and color.

Stonecrop (Sedum Sp.)

Stonecrop (Sedum Sp.)
You’ve gotta delight in those brilliant stonecrop blossoms that’ll splash vivid hues across your beds.

Choose from over 600 sedum varieties, like Autumn Joy or Dragon’s Blood Stonecrop, for gorgeous evergreen foliage and late summer blooms.

Let stonecrop become your go-to succulent groundcover and drought-tolerant filler with its sunshine-loving and low-maintenance nature.

Enjoy spectacular color variations from green to red to purple and appreciate its unique, thick leaves that form carpets between pavers or soften hard edges.

Pair stonecrop with lavender, thyme, dusty miller, or euphorbia for contrasting shapes and textures that harmonize beautifully.

With sun-warmed stonecrop as an essential evergreen element, you’ll design borders with year-round visual delight.

Perennial Pinks (Dianthus Sp.)

Perennial Pinks (Dianthus Sp.)
Add eye-catching color to your garden with perennial pinks’ cheerful blooms. These vibrant flowers, also known as Dianthus varieties, are the perfect addition to any landscape arrangement.

Here are five reasons why you should consider incorporating them into your low-growing perennial border:

  1. Companion plants: Perennial pinks pair beautifully with a variety of other plants such as lavender, rose verbena, and anise hyssop.
  2. Growing conditions: These hardy perennials thrive in well-drained soil and prefer full sun exposure.
  3. Maintenance tips: Keep these beauties looking their best by deadheading spent blooms and dividing clumps every few years.
  4. Design ideas: Use perennial pinks along the edges of garden borders for a stunning pop of color or create a charming cottage garden feel by planting them in drifts amongst other low-growers.
  5. Low-growing perennials like Dianthus sp. can provide both visual interest and easy maintenance for those seeking liberation from high-maintenance landscapes while still achieving mastery over their gardens.

Foamflower (Tiarella Sp.)

Foamflower (Tiarella Sp.)
Consider incorporating the delicate and dainty foamflower into your garden design to provide a soft, yet eye-catching element among the diverse array of perennial flowers. Foamflower, also known as Tiarella sp., offers numerous benefits for your borders.

Its low-growing habit makes it perfect for filling in gaps and providing groundcover, preventing weeds from taking over. With its attractive foliage and charming flower spikes that bloom in spring or early summer, foamflower adds visual interest to any landscape design.

To successfully grow foamflowers in your garden borders, follow these tips: plant them in well-draining soil with partial shade or filtered sunlight; water regularly to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged; apply a layer of mulch around the plants to retain moisture and suppress weed growth.

There are several varieties of foamflower available on the market today with varying flower colors such as white, pink or purple hues. Some popular cultivars include ‘Sugar And Spice’, ‘Pink Skyrocket’, and ‘Spring Symphony’.

Companion plants that pair well with foamflowers include barrenwort (Epimedium grandiflorum), spotted deadnettle (Lamium maculatum), lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis), and lamb’s ear (Stachys byzantina).

These combinations create beautiful contrast between foliage textures, shapes, and colors, making an eye-catching display.

Foamflowers can be propagated through division during early spring or fall when temperatures are cool enough for root establishment. These methods ensure successful propagation while maintaining genetic diversity within your garden space.

The stunning beauty combined with easy care requirements make this low-growing perennial an excellent choice for adding charm and elegance to any garden border arrangement.

Dusty Miller (Jacobaea Maritima)

Dusty Miller (Jacobaea Maritima)
Mixing in the Dusty Miller plant with other colorful and textured perennials will create a striking visual contrast in your garden. The silver-gray leaves of Dusty Miller provide a unique foliage contrast that adds depth and interest to any border.

This versatile edging plant isn’t just visually appealing but also drought-tolerant, making it an excellent choice for low-maintenance gardens. When selecting companion plants for Dusty Miller, consider options like barrenwort, largeleaf brunnera, salvia, astilbe, and autumn fern.

These plants will complement the silvery foliage of Dusty Miller while adding their own vibrant colors and textures to the mix.

Incorporating these varieties into your perennial border design will give you a garden that exudes power and mastery over its surroundings.

Woolly Yarrow (Achillea Tomentosa)

Woolly Yarrow (Achillea Tomentosa)
Plant Woolly Yarrow for a touch of softness and charm in your garden. This low-growing perennial is the perfect addition to any garden border, adding a pop of color and texture.

Woolly Yarrow, also known as Achillea Tomentosa, boasts beautiful clusters of bright yellow flowers that bloom from late spring to early summer.

The benefits of growing this plant are abundant – it attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies, requires minimal care with its drought tolerance once established, and is deer-resistant.

Pair it with lamb’s ear or silver speedwell for a stunning contrast in textures or consider companion plants like low-growing/dwarf Solomon’s seal or dwarf wild columbine for added variety.

When planting Woolly Yarrow, ensure well-drained soil and full sun exposure to promote healthy growth.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are low-growing perennials suitable for all types of garden borders?

To achieve garden border nirvana, low-growing perennials are a splendid choice. They bring harmony and balance to any landscape, like the final brushstrokes on a masterpiece.

How do I choose the right low-growing perennials for my garden border?

To choose the right low-growing perennials for your garden border, consider this interesting statistic: 80% of successful designs incorporate a mix of plants with different leaf shapes, sizes, colors, and textures.

What are some tips for maintaining low-growing perennials in garden borders?

To maintain low-growing perennials in your garden borders, regularly trim back any overgrowth and remove weeds. Provide adequate water and ensure proper drainage. Apply a layer of mulch to control weeds and retain moisture.

Can low-growing perennials be used as groundcovers in other areas of the garden?

Yes, low-growing perennials can be used as groundcovers in other areas of the garden. They provide a beautiful and functional solution by suppressing weeds, retaining soil moisture, and adding visual interest with their diverse colors and textures.

Are there any low-growing perennials that are particularly resistant to pests and diseases?

When it comes to low-growing perennials, there are several options that can resist pests and diseases. Consider plants like Lamb’s Ear, Foamflower, Stonecrop, and Veronica Speedwell for a beautiful border that is both resilient and stunning.


So, you’re looking for the best low-growing perennials for your garden borders and walkways? Well, look no further!

With a wide variety of low-growing options like Moss Phlox, Eastern Pasque Flower, Bearberry, and more, you can create a stunning and well-balanced garden that will impress any horticulturist or master gardener.

By mixing plants with different leaf shapes, sizes, colors, and textures, and strategically placing taller plants towards the back and shorter plants towards the front, you can achieve a visually appealing design.

Consider adding groundcovers like Foamflower to fill in gaps and prevent weeds, and don’t forget to incorporate Coral Bells, Hens and Chicks, and other eye-catching plants for added interest.

So go ahead, start planning your garden borders with these low-growing perennials and create a breathtaking landscape that will leave everyone in awe.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.