What Kind of Plants Are in a Whimsical Garden?

A whimsical garden invokes curiosity and amusement. Grow plants that invite questions and bring an element of fantasy to your garden. Along with these ornamental plants, incorporate water features and interesting yard sculptures to enhance the whimsical atmosphere. Feel free to be creative and choose plants with eye-catching characteristics.


Love-in-a-puff, also known as balloon vine, is a tender perennial vine often grown as an annual. It is a rapidly growing deciduous plant that produces small white flowers on a climbing vine growing to 10 feet in height. The inflated fruits of Love-in-a-puff look like papery lanterns and contain seeds with heart-shaped patterns. Love-in-a-puff prefers sunny locations and moist soils.

Shrimp Plant

Grow shrimp plants (Justicia brandegeana) for their white tubular flowers surrounded by reddish brown bracts (petal-like). They grow up to 4 feet tall and have a 6-foot spread. Shrimp plant flowers resemble shrimp, and attract butterflies and hummingbirds--additional elements well-suited to a whimsical garden. Shrimp plants prefer full sun for compact growth and better flowering. They require a good deal of moisture and fertile soils. Shrimp plant shrubs are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) zones 8b to 11.

Lemon Bottle Brush

Lemon bottle brush (Callistemon citrinus) is an evergreen shrub or small, fine textured-tree, growing up to 20 feet tall and with a 10-foot spread. Its 3-inch-long, stiffly pointed leaves have a citrus-like fragrance when crushed. Its flowers are dense, red cylindrical spikes composed of numerous 1-inch stamens which together, resemble 4-inch-long bottle brushes. Lemon bottle brush is a good accent shrub or specimen plant and is hardy to USDA zone 8b.

Bird of Paradise

Bird of paradise is an evergreen, clumping perennial or shrub, growing up to 4 feet tall and up to 10-foot spread. Bird of paradise has thick, waxy, channeled leaves that are 1 ½ feet long and 6 inches wide. Their large, 8-inch flowers comprised of blue fused petals and long orange sepals resemble birds in flight. Grow bird of paradise in light, drifting shade on nutrient-rich, acidic, moist soils. Bird of paradise is hardy to USDA zone 9.

Blood Lily

Blood lily (Scadoxus multiflorus or Haemanthus multiflorus), also known as torch lily, or paint brush, is a tender perennial bulb that produces large red spheres of long, skinny, tubular flowers attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. It grows 12 to 16 inches in height and is an accent plant hardy in USDA zones 8 through 11. Grow blood lilies in sun to partially shaded locations on various, well-drained soils.

Keywords: Whimsical garden, Whimsical plants, Whimisical ornamentals

About this Author

Marie Roberts is a freelance writer based in north central Florida. She has a B.S. in horticultural sciences from the University of Florida. Roberts began writing in 2002 and is published in the "Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society."