49 Colorful Plants to Brighten Up Your Landscape
Want to add more color to your landscape this season? Start by incorporating one or more of these stunning landscaping plants into your plan.
Lamium (Lamium maculatum) is an easy-going groundcover beloved for its two-tone leaves and small, yet colorful flowers in spring. Sometimes called spotted nettle, it features tiny snapdragon-like flowers in pink, purple or white. The flowers are a bonus, though. It’s the foliage that shines all season long with a number of different variegation patterns and colorful hues. Lamium is hardy in Zones 3 to 8, depending on cultivar and is among great landscaping bushes.
This sun-loving, drought-tolerant perennial has a lovely fragrance. In the spring, cut back last year’s growth after new growth has started. This plant won’t take over your yard, but if you’re having problems with invasive plants, here’s how to stop them.
Very Berry Creeping Wintergreen
Very Berry creeping wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) is a tender perennial that’s hardy in Zones 6-9 but can be grown as an annual elsewhere. Very Berry offers glossy, dark leaves—the perfect backdrop for small, white, bell-shaped flowers in summer and bright-red, aromatic berries in early fall. The foliage later turns purplish, adding another bit of visual interest, so it’s great for container gardening. Available from Stokes Seeds.
Mint Julep Annual Geranium
Mint Julep could almost make you forget about flowers. Almost. Just look at the beautiful variegated foliage with broad swatches of white along the borders—that alone is reason enough to grow this geranium. By all means, enjoy the scarlet-red flower clusters throughout the summer. But when the time comes to deadhead your geraniums, despair not. You’ve still got the foliage. Mint Julep grows 1 ft. tall and wide and are great flower bed plants.
Bee Balm, Monarda
As the name implies, bees love the bee balm plant, and this spiky flower can provide some important exotic flavor to your yard. Unlike many of the garden plants and flowers on our list, the bee balm doesn’t mind wet soil and more marshy ground, making it more flexible when it comes to planting in clay or tougher soils.
Mock orange (Philadelphus spp.) will captivate you two ways: with its clear-white flowers and yellow centers, and with its sweet perfume, cast in late spring when you’re out and about in the garden and can enjoy it. It’s one of the more striking landscaping bushes when in bloom, and a good background plant of 6-8 feet in height the rest of the season. It’s hardy in Zones 4-7.
One touch of rosemary and you’ll be in seventh heaven because it’s one of the best landscaping plants. Run the palm of your hand over the evergreen-like foliage and then hold your hand up to your nose. You might not want to wash after that—the fragrance is that good! Rosemary (Rosmarinus spp.) is an evergreen shrub in Zones 8 and above, a tender annual herb in colder areas. You can grow it in a pot and bring it indoors for the winter if you have a bright southwest-facing window. See other container plants.
Coralbells (Heuchera) are becoming the foliage queens of the shade garden and landscaping bushes, thanks to ever-more-colorful cultivars hitting the market. This mixture of “Berry Smoothie” and “Forever Purple” coralbells makes a dynamic combination in the low-care shade garden. Like other coralbells, they also feature tiny bell-shape blooms in summer. Coralbells are hardy in Zones 4 to 9, depending on cultivar.
ColorGrass Spiky Blue Corynephorus
This upright perennial grass reaches about 1 ft. tall and 8 in. wide, so it’s a natural as a groundcover or front-of-border plant. But the blue-gray spiky foliage is pretty enough to hold a container garden. Better yet, ColorGrass Spiky Blue is heat- and drought-tolerant, so it will hold up with minimal maintenance as landscaping bushes. Hardy in Zones 6-9, it can be treated as an annual in other areas. Seeds available from Stokes Seeds.
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Don’t let the “weed” in milkweed bother you! Milkweed is a full-sun, drought-tolerant, perennial, also known as Butterfly Plant. It’s one of the best landscape plant ideas for a number of reasons. Milkweed attracts Monarch butterflies, which is another reason to plant it in your boulevard garden. It’s also a good idea to grow bee-friendly plants. Check out this list of 10 of the best plants for bees.