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Perennial Border Plants

By Shelly McRae ; Updated September 21, 2017

Perennial plants are those that continue to thrive throughout several growing seasons. Unlike annuals that die back and need replacing after one season, perennials may go dormant and then grow and flower again. A border made up of perennials, then, will not need to be replanted each season. Plant borders around a vegetable garden, along the edge of your property, or along a sidewalk or driveway.

Blue False Indigo

Named the 2010 Perennial Plant of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association, the Blue False Indigo (Baptisia australis) grows 3 to 4 feet tall. These tall plants grow across a wide range of zones and are drought tolerant, so are able to withstand the warmer temperatures of southern regions. Their height and brilliant purple color make them excellent perennials for borders, and can be combined with other smaller flowers for visual interest.


An herb native to the Mediterranean region, the rosemary plant is hardy, long-lived and presents a shrub-like appearance that can be shaped. Rosemary plants may grow as tall as 3 to 5 feet, making them excellent perennials for lawn borders. You can trim and shape rosemary plants to resemble a hedge, or create topiaries for visual interest. Make teas and cook with the leaves from rosemary sprigs.

Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses, unlike turf grasses, have considerable vertical height and width, may send up flowers or stalks, and may provide color and texture to a winter garden.

Blue grama grass persists into the winter; the mosquito grass displays a warm and earthy tan color, while the Hachita blue grama brings a bluish-green color to the border. Both of these grasses are drought tolerant, and do well in the southwest regions.

The Ice Dance plant, a variegated sedge grass, remains green in warmer climates throughout the year. The leaves have a small white edging that brings visual interest to the border. A low-growing grass, it pairs well with taller plants, complementing flowers with brilliant blooms.

Ornamental grasses can be invasive; they spread quickly and may overgrow the border. The Gold Band pampas grass, however, has a well-defined vertical growth pattern of up to 6 feet, and the newer cultivars do not set seed, making this grass an excellent choice for lawn and garden borders.


About the Author


Shelly McRae is a freelance writer residing in Phoenix, Ariz. Having earned an associate degree from Glendale Community College with a major in graphic design and technical writing, she turned to online writing. McRae has written articles for multiple websites, drawing on her experience in the home improvement industry and hydroponic gardening.