The Best Plants for a Garden

Gardens filled with a mixture of plants helps to create a well-balanced design. Garden plants also help accent the home with their lush foliage and colorful blooms to create an inviting landscape, that when viewed from any angle, is attractive. Oftentimes the best plants for the garden are those that grow in the garden's USDA zone and have qualities like drought, heat and frost tolerance. Having the ability to grow in a wide range of soil varieties also makes for an ideal garden plant.

Purple Coneflower

Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus') is a perennial flower that grows best in USDA zones 3 to 9. It has a clumping growth habit and moderate growth pace. Purple coneflowers grow up to 6 feet tall and have a spread of 1 to 3 feet wide, creating an ideal flower to grow along the back of the garden bed for height. The 7-inch-wide, daisy-like flowerheads are made up of the pink rays that surround the dark orange cones that attract butterflies and birds to the garden. Purple coneflowers begin their show in midsummer to last into fall. They are drought tolerant and withstand heat, humidity and poor soils, ideal qualities to have for a garden plant. Purple coneflowers grow best in full sun to part shade and well-drained, deep soil. To promote a long flowering season, deadhead the spent purple coneflower blooms as soon as they are visible.

Butterfly Bush

Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) is a perennial shrub that grows best in USDA zones 6 to 9. It has an upright, clumping growth habit and vigorous growth rate to keep the garden in bloom in a short period of time. Butterfly bushes grow 6 to 10 feet tall and wide, and are ideal planted in the landscape as a specimen plant. The panicles or clusters of flowers grow in a wide range of colors including purple, white, yellow and pink and attract butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden. The gray to green lance-shaped leaves on butterfly bushes grow 10 to 12 inches long and have a white or gray coating on the underneath side of each leaf. Butterfly bushes have a long blooming season; they begin their emergence in July and last into October. Butterfly bushes grow best in full sun ad and well-drained soil. They are also deer-tolerant plants.

Fountain Grass

Fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) is a hardy, warm-season ornamental grass that is suitable in USDA zones 2 to 4. It has an upright, open form that is mounding and looks attractive when grown in groups along the garden. The bright, arching green leaves on the butterfly bush hold the dense inflorescence or blooms that emerge in mid summer to last into fall. Colors of each bloom range from creamy white to dark purple and beige. Fountain grass has a moderate drought tolerance to withstand limited moisture within the garden. Their strong architectural form and highly textured foliage make them an ideal accent plant. Fountain grass grows best in full sun to part shade and well-drained, fertile soil.

Keywords: best garden plants, purple coneflower, butterfly bush, fountain grass

About this Author

Callie Barber has been writing professionally since 2002. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate indoor and outdoor living environments. Her articles have appeared on Travels.com and GardenGuides.com. Barber holds a Bachelors of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina.