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Great Perennial Edging Plants

By Kay Abbot ; Updated September 21, 2017

Edging plants, if chosen carefully, can create the perfect frame for a garden or flower bed. Choosing perennials as edging plants makes your job easier. Perennials need be planted only once to create blooms over multiple seasons. Choose low-growing plants for edging so the taller plants in the center remain visible and are highlighted.


Phlox is a classic garden-edging perennial. This creeping plant is suited to gardens that employ decorative stones to retain mulch and topsoil. Phlox will cascade over rocks, creating a natural look in gardens that may otherwise appear over-manicured. Phlox comes in a number of colors including purple, white, pink, orange and red. Creeping phlox is also ideal for rock gardens. According to the National Gardening Association, some types of phlox prefer full sun while others grow best in the shade.


Creeping forms of thyme are known for their drought resistance. This is a hardy plant with small flowers. Thyme blooms in a variety of pinks, purples and yellows. It creeps around rocks and other plants, making an excellent groundcover. Thyme is grown as much for its fragrance as it is for appearance. Thyme is a versatile herb, growing both in sun and shade. Plant in well-drained soil and keep moist. It can grow from 6 to 15 inches tall.


Stachys, or lamb's ear, adds texture to garden borders with its soft leaves. The foliage of this plant has an almost fur-like texture-thus the nickname "lamb’s ear." The pale green of the leaves highlights other flowers around it. The small lavender flowers of lamb’s ear are often cut off because they attract bees. Plant lamb’s ear in well-drained soil and full sun. Lamb's ear spreads easily and grows from 12 to 18 inches tall.


Artemisia, or silver mound, is grown for its foliage rather than blooms. The flowers produced are unremarkable. It is the soft tufts of greenish-white foliage that make silver mound an attention-grabbing edger. The pale greens of Artemisia's lacy foliage are ideal for bringing out vibrancy and color in surrounding flowers. Plant silver mound in full sun and well-drained soil. Depending on the variety, it grows from 9 to 36 inches tall.


Dianthus plants have gained the slightly deceptive nickname "cottage pinks." They do come in shades of pink ranging from pale to vibrant, but they are also available in shades of white, red, purple and yellow. They do well when planted close to phlox. Plant dianthus in full sun and water them sparingly. They grow 10 to 15 inches tall and have blue-green foliage.


About the Author


Kay Abbot began writing professionally in 2004. She has written articles for Garden Guides, eHow Home & Garden and Answerbag. Kay has a degree in psychology from the University of Phoenix.