List of Ornamental Plants & Flowers

Ornamental plants are the basic building blocks of all successful home landscapes, according to Texas A&M's County Extension horticulturist Vince Mannini. Find ornamental plants that meet your yard's specific needs. Ornamental groundcovers, for example, may prevent erosion and fill in where grass won't grow. Vines and shrubs can grow into eye-catching privacy screens. With the right ornamentals, you'll create a landscape as functional as it is beautiful.

Creeping Barberry

Creeping barberry (Mahonia repens, Lindl.) works as a low ornamental shrub or ground cover. Where it grows wild, in open woods and on hillsides from western Canada south to Arizona, the plant seldom exceeds 10 inches in height. In home gardens, however, it will reach between 1 and 2 feet. Its evergreen foliage--in pastel green, orange and pink--provides year-long color. The show doesn't stop with its leaves. Between April and July, it has fragrant clusters of small yellow blooms, with purple berries following. This cold-and-drought-tolerant plant solves a common garden problem by thriving in partially shaded areas, according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Give it acidic (pH below 7.0), rich, well-drained sand, loam or clay soil and protection from drying winds. It suffers in high heat.

Autumn Sage

Autumn sage (Salvia greggii) is a mounding, perennial mint family shrub. Standing between 2 and 3 feet high, it makes an eye-catching low ornamental hedge, according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Mint-scented foliage is evergreen in warmer parts of the plant's central and west Texas native range. Plants bloom from early spring until the first autumn frost with spikes of fragrant, tubular hummingbird-attractive flowers. Wild plants usually produce red blooms. Cultivars with white, orange, pink or purple flowers are also available. For best performance, plant this disease-and pest-resistant ornamental in dry, rocky limestone-based soil and full sun. It also tolerates sand and loam. Established autumn sage does not need fertilizer.

Inland Sea Oats

An ornamental grass, inland sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) thrives in wet, shady spots--even those with poor drainage. Forming clumps between 2 and 4 feet tall, it has greenish-blue leaves similar to those of bamboo. Where the grass gets some sun, its foliage may provide golden yellow autumn color. Attractive, nodding green seed heads appear in May, becoming ivory by summer and brown before dropping in late fall or winter. Seed stalks work well in dried floral designs, says the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Cutting the plants to their basal leaf clumps in February reinvigorates them. Inland sea oats colonizes readily in moist, loamy locations. Use it along streams for erosion control. It likes acidic soil. Plants in sunny spots will have yellow foliage.

Keywords: ornamental plants, ornamental landscaping, flowering groundcover, flowering shrubs

About this Author

A freelance writer, Judy Wolfe has owned Prose for the Pros, a freelance writing business, since 2006. She's been an inveterate traveler since 1961 and draws on her travel experiences to provide articles for such websites as Chincoteague Island Vacations and Berlin Dude. Wolfe holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature from California State University at Pomona.