The Best Landscaping Plants

Planting zones vary from state to state and so do the best landscaping plants for each zone. But there are those plants and shrubs that cover multiple planting zones and grow well in arid as well as humid climates. Their beauty is enjoyed by gardeners in a wider range of planting zones and favored by many landscape designers throughout the United States.

Large Shrubs

Crape myrtle is scientifically known as lagerstroemia crape myrtle, and was originally introduced into the United States from China. The versatility in this plant's height and color make it a favorite with landscapers. The three main varieties are Natchez, which blooms white; Tuscarora, a light red to a coral pink, and the Muskogee, which blooms lavender. The larger crape myrtles can grow up to 30 feet tall, while the dwarf varieties act more like a hedge. Crape myrtles love sunlight, the grow best in USDA Plant Hardiness zones 7 to 11 and are used in both residential and commercial landscaping. Elaeagnus, also known as Silverberry or Oleaster, makes a great end piece for a flower bed near the corner of a house or to frame a window, according to Chris Mhoon, owner of Environmental Services Lawn and Landscaping in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Famous for its silvery leaves in the sun, it blooms a white flower, very fragrant, in the fall and bears its small red fruit in the spring. It is hardy enough to grow in just about every state in the United States.

Small Shrubs

Indian Hawthorn is a favorite low-growing perennial shrub that when planted close together can make a nice hedge or used as an accent to a rock feature. This plant prefers direct sunlight; however it will grow in partial shade. It is drought tolerant but grows well in moist, well-drained soil as well. Gold-leafed barberry is a low-maintenance, low-profile landscaping plant that adds a bit of color for a good change-up. This deciduous plant only needs annual pruning to keep it looking good.

Ornamental Grasses

Purple fountain grass is a tall growing grass can add just the right touch to any landscape. The long grass turns a dark purple on the edges and near the tips while the center retains enough green to really show it off. It is treated like a perennial in planting zones 9 to 11 and as an annual in cooler climates. Miscanthus adagio grass is perfect for smaller gardens. It grows 4 to 5 feet and has a narrow green foliage that blooms with tall white blooms in the fall. For best results, plant in full sunlight in zones 6 to 10.

Keywords: landscaping plants, large shrubs, small shrubs, ornamental grass

About this Author

Mathew L. Zupan is a writer for and has been one of the feature writers for, Hawaii Wellness and CreationIS - Internet Services. He has been writing, designing and marketing websites since 1998 and has written one e-manual. He has also been a professional residential and commercial landscaper and worked as a professional caddy for several years with a passion for golf.