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While flowering plants usually steal the show in home gardens, ornamental grasses can be great for filling in empty patches between flowers or for marking borders. Plant them under windows and up against outer walls where sun-loving flowers might not do as well. Taller species can also provide privacy and block excessive sunlight in exposed front yards. Find the kind that’s right for your home garden below.

Blue OaBlue Oatgrasstgrass:

This popular grass is deer resistant and tolerant of abundant sunlight. It will need to be watered about once weekly, and more frequently in intense heat. Other than that, care is a no brainer. Pruning is unnecessary but tolerated well if desired. Expect stalks to rise to between 2 and 3 feet.


Purple Millet:Purple Millet

One of the most striking specimens on our list, the deep purple tone of this grass makes it a real standout addition to gardens. Tall stalks rise from attractive burgundy foliage and terminate in long purple flower spikes (about 8-12 inches in length) that resemble cattails. The plant itself rises to about 4 feet high.



“Cordgrass” refers to 14 separate species of grass that have many practical, as well as ornamental, uses, including erosion prevention and livestock feed. Cordgrass tends to grow naturally in salt marshes, but can be planted in home gardens, making an attractive border plant.


Japanese Forestgrass:Japanese Forestgrass

The slght droop of the Forestgrass blades lend an elegant and graceful look to this popular ornamental plant. The bright green leafblades divide toward the ends, giving the plantings a bushy, full look. Small pale purple flowers emerge from leaf nodes sometime in midsummer, turning beige toward the end of the season.



One of the tallest and most impressive ornamental grasses around, Ravennagrass can rise to a full 12 feet high when healthy. Give it plenty of room to spread out and provide with full sun. Ravennagrass is fairly drought tolerant once established but likes slightly moist soil if possible. It will produce conspicuous purple-brown flowers in late summer.

Feather Reedgrass


Feather Reedgrass:

This common ornamental grass is recognizable by its feathery golden seed heads. Standly ridigly upright, blades will rise to a height of about 4-5 feet if not cut back. It thrives in partial to full sun and will require regular trimmings in early spring for optimal health.




This perennial warm season grass come in many different varieties, some with blades terminating in deep shades of burgundy, others in vibrant shades of pale sea foam green or blue.



Blue Fescue:Blue Fescue

The ever-popular Blue Fescue grows in mounds that resemble spiky blue-green pom poms. This grass works great as a border planting or make it a center piece in a mulched garden. It is deer and drought resistant and works great in rock gardens. Small light green flowers will emerge in summer.


Northern Northern Sea OatSea Oats:

Conspicuous flattened seed heads of this grass really steal the show with this grass. Plant Northern Sea Oats in full or part sun (full sun will turn the plant a lighter shade of green) and well-draining, moist soil. Stalks will grow to be roughly 3 feet tall.



Zebra Grass:Zebra Grass

Certainly one of the most attractive grasses on our list, Zebra grass features bright green blades with stripes of yellow spaced at irregular intervals, resulting in a unique and eye-catching pattern. Plant in well-draining but moist soil where it can get plenty of sun. Without pruning this grass will rise to about 5 feet high.



The bright cone-shaped flowers of the Lantana lie low to the ground but have strength in numbers – plant a whole bed for an eye-catching effect sure to beautify any garden in this hot and humid region of the States. Lantana oftentimes produces bi-colored flowers in shades of orange, yellow, pink and coral. Lantana enjoys full sun, plenty of water and well-draining soil. It is both drought and flood tolerant, making it an excellent choice for areas where weather swings between wet and dry extremes.


Mexican Mexican PetuniaPetunia:

Bright purple flowers top the tall, dark green stalks of Mexican Petunias during the blooming season from early summer through late fall. The petals are delicate and paper-thin, so be careful to handle flowers delicately. Mexican Petunias make great border plants for any southeastern garden and will drink up any excess water after regular watering, helping to reduce groundwater runoff. They can tolerate full sun but will also do well in partial-sun. When not in bloom, the stalks and sword-shaped leaves make attractive decorative plants – plant them in a thick line at the back of your garden to provide a pleasing backdrop for low-lying flowers.


PlumbagPlumbago Auriculatao Auriculata:

Native to South Africa, where conditions are similar to those in Florida and surrounding states, Plumbago is a sun-loving shrub which sprouts beautiful lilac colored flowers on cone-shaped inflorescences (stalk-like terminal flowering parts of the shrub). The bush itself is a pleasing shade of light green and will grow quite prodigiously if left to its own devices, so keep up regular pruning to maintain the shape you desire. Butterflies and bees love the delicate purple blooms of the Plumbago, so expect some visitors to your garden on sunny days.



This flowering shrub is native to temperate, tropical and subtropical regions everywhere from Hawaii to India. In some parts of the world, hibiscus tea, made from the flowers is quite popular. This shrub likes plenty of water but will also tolerate extreme heat and full sun. Bright trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of red, yellow, white, purple and pink bloom in mid to late summer. Conspicuous stamens protrude from the center of the flowers, attracting beneficial pollinators to your garden. Hibiscus likes well-draining and slightly acidic soil; make sure it dries out between watering for healthy plants.



If you have the space for it, seize the opportunity to include this stunning flowering tree in your garden or backyard. The Magnolia is one of the oldest known flowering plants that still survives today, dating back many tens of millions of years ago. Magnolia trees do not bloom year-round but your patience will be greatly rewarded in late spring the magnificent creamy white flowers do open, releasing a heavenly scent reminiscent of vanilla or gardenia.



The star-shaped flowers of the Camass bloom in a delightful purple-blue with yellow centers. You will find them growing wild in open meadows but they do very well in home gardens, too. The Camass enjoys moist soil rich in humus and will do best when planted in partial shade. Plant bulbs during Autumn, about 5 inches deep and 6 inches apart.


Broadleaf Sedum:Boradleaf Sedum

The Broadleaf Sedum makes great groundcover, producing delightful, perky yellow flowers. It thrives in full sun and the well-draining soil of rocky habitats. It will grow to be about 6 inches tall. When the blooming season is through, the attractive silver-green foliage is still a standout groundcover in any garden. As an added benefit, sedum is great for warding off weeds.


BroadleaBoradleaf Lupinef Lupine:

Towering high above the ground at 2-3 feet, this gorgeous plant has very unique look to it. Rows of purple-blue flowers line the light-green stems, arranged in stacks that cover the top 8 inches or so. Lupines thrive in somewhat acidic soil and prefer cooler summer temperatures. You will find these striking flowers growing wild in the meadows and forests of the Pacific Northwest, but they do quite well in cultivation. Plant in partial sun for best results and water about once a week.



The pretty pink flowers of the Lewisia make their appearance in Spring and last well into the Summer. Lewisia can be found growing wild on north-facing cliffs in the Pacific Northwest, but can also be cultivated, and makes an excellent addition to backyard rock gardens. Just be sure to plant it in well-draining soil, Lewisia will not survive without excellent drainage (explaining its popularity in rock gardens).



The tall, showy stalks of this wild herb are known to attract hummingbirds and other pollinators. Fireweed grows wild in the pastures, and fields of the Pacific Northwest and can often be found popping up on the sites of recent wild fires – hence, the name “Fireweed.” The fuchsia flowers of this plant make it a garden favorite. Just be sure to plant in slightly acidic soil and give it plenty of room to grow, as it can rise to a full 5 feet. Full sun will yield the healthiest blooms.


AutumAutumn Sagen Sage:

Like most salvias, Autumn Sage will attract pollinators like butterflies, bees and even hummingbirds to your garden. Flowers bloom in shades of purple, red and pink and will last from late summer all the way through fall. The tall stalks will grow to be about two feet and make excellent border plants for gardens. This salvia loves the sun and will flourish in the well-draining rocky soil of the southwest.


Polka doPolka dot Cactust Cactus:

Like most cacti, Polka dot or Bunny Ears Cactus appreciates full sun and well-draining soil. It will produce small, cheery yellow flower in spring and summer. Although it is originally native to central and northern Mexico, the polka-dot cactus has become well-established in the southwestern United States. Technically a shrub, it will grow about 40-60 cm tall, a dwarf compared to some of the larger species of Opuntia. Although it does not produce typical cactus spines, watch out for the tiny yellow hair-like glochids, which may cause skin irritation upon contact. After initial planting, water about once a week for a few months. Generally speaking, this cactus needs little very little maintenance and needs almost no water once it becomes established.


Pine-lePine-leaf Penstemonaf Pentsemon:

The tall spikes of the Pentsemon bloom in a beautiful red-salmon color and are sure to attract hummingbirds to your garden. Like other southwestern flowering plants, it will do best when given full sun and is extremely heat tolerant. Plant in rocky or slightly sandy, well-draining soil for best results. The Pentsemon forms tall bushy mounds, making it another excellent border plant for home gardens.


CalifornCalifornia Poppyia Poppy:

Blooming in rich shades of orange, yellow, pink and white, this popular arid-region flower is the state flower of California. Tall stalks rise about 1 ½ feet high terminating in open-faced flowers with four or more flattened petals. Plant in early spring or fall and provide them with a decent amount of water at first. Once established, they will tolerate drier conditions. California Poppies do best in sandy soils that do not hold water well, too much moisture may cause root rot. Once the blooming season is over, the blue-green stalks and leaves make attractive ground cover.



If you’re looking for a flower that can go the extra mile, consider Tetraneuris: these cheerful little blooms will last from Spring until Fall if kept if given the right care. Provide your Tetraneuris plants will full sun and well-draining soil and give them some room to spread out. Foliage is low and bushy, with flower stalks rising up to a height of about 6-8 inches. This plant makes excellent ground cover and will fill in spaces between other plantings nicely. The small flowers resemble daisies with yellow centers and delicate pale yellow petals.


Golden Golden PhloxPhlox:

This hardy flower is extremely weather resistant and will tolerate full sun. It likes well-draining, slightly alkaline or neutral soil. In (season), Golden or “Goldeneye” Phlox will produce beautiful purple or pink flowers with a conspicuous golden ring around the center. Petals are flat and fused to form a tube shape in the middle.


Coral BelCoral Bellsls:

This popular perennial is a great choice for lining the borders of your garden and does well in the shade. Its flowers and leaves form short spikes and can be found in a dizzying variety of colors. The flowers range from red to white to pink, but for most gardeners the real beauty of this plant is in the foliage, which display colors with heavy sheens of gold and silver. One favorite is called “Purple Palace” and sprouts deep purple leaves with red undersides. Coral Bells prefer well-draining soil but are drought and flood-tolerant and generally require little care, making them an ideal low-maintenance garden plant.



This sweet-smelling perennial is native to the northern regions of Asia, North America and Europe. It typically blooms from May through June and will do well in most types of soil found in the northeast regions. It’s a hardy, drought-tolerant plant, often found growing wild in disturbed areas and in grasslands. It enjoys full sun but will generally do fine with partial sun if full is not available. Its strong sweet smell makes it great choice for attracting butterflies.


Wild AnWild Anemoneemone:

Though it’s called “wild” anemone, this delicate flower can easily be cultivated in the temperate northeast. It makes excellent groundcover and will spread to fill a sizeable portion of your garden in no time. Wild Anemone produces delicate white flowers with yellow centers, and thrives in moist, well-draining soil packed with plenty of organic matter. Partial sun is ideal for this plant. The blooms will grow to a height of about a foot, usually dying back in late spring or early summer.



The epitome of low-maintenance, Veronica tolerates full sun and thrives in well-draining soil but will also do fine in partial shade. Deadhead the flowers over time to maximize blooming and the health of the plants. It’s towering flower spikes bloom in shades of purple blue white and pink and may last from early spring all the way through fall. Veronica is actually edible and teas made from this plant have been found to ease bronchial distress associated with allergies and asthma.