What Flowers Are Best for Borders?

Flowers brighten any landscaped area but work particularly well as border plants. Flowers draw the eye to specific spots and provide graceful order along beds, sidewalks, driveways and other places that would otherwise look plain or cluttered. Varieties like spring bulbs pop up early, while shorter flowering plants fill in bare spots around the taller varieties growing behind them.


Plant tulips along borders where background plants bloom later. As some of the earliest spring bloomers, these bulbs flower in colors ranging from hot pink to white. Plants are slender, growing up to 2 feet tall. Foliage dies back after blooming. They grow best if planted in the fall, before the first frost, in well-drained, moderately fertile soil and full sun. Planting bulbs in groups of 10 or more and placing them a few inches apart will add maximum impact to any border. Blooms appear in the spring according to variety and have differing cup-like shapes.

Scented Geraniums

Not many flowers smell like cinnamon or lemon, but certain scented geranium varieties do exactly that. Like their traditional counterparts, these African natives also have attractive flowers but are primarily grown for their fragrances. A walk past a scented geranium border can rustle up scents like grapefruit and ginger. More than 100 varieties are cultivated and make for a multi-sensory flower border experience. Grow them as annuals, or over winter them indoors for planting the following spring. Plants prefer to grow in full sun and soil that is of average fertility and drains well. Water them when the soil becomes dry.


Impatiens are useful border flowers because they bloom reliably from early summer through warm fall days, and because they thrive in full sun or partially shaded areas. These annuals, which are African natives, feature blooms in a variety of soft and strong colors. They grow from 9 to 30 inches tall and the same size in width and spread well, making them good ground cover plants. Slightly acid to neutral soil that is fertile and drains well is best for growing impatiens.


Marigolds are cheery, hardy annuals often used to brighten up borders. They grow from 6 inches to 4 feet tall and about the same width size. The round, flat-headed buds, which include tightly layered petals, bloom in orange, yellow, red cream and maroon. They grow best in fine-textured, well-drained soil that remains consistently moist but not wet. Marigolds also prefer full sun, and deadheading flowers promotes more blooming. They should be planted in the spring or early summer after the danger of frost has passed.

Keywords: border flowers, flowers for borders, flowering borders

About this Author

Joy Brown is a newspaper reporter at "The Courier" and www.thecourier.com in Findlay, Ohio. She has been writing professionally since 1995, primarily in Findlay and previously at the "Galion (Ohio) Inquirer" and "Toledo City Paper." Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and history from Miami University.