What are your favorite edging plants?

momof2luv2garden(Z8Summerville,SC)May 22, 2008

I need some ideas for plants to edge with. Something that won't spread too much over and out of the beds and into the lawn. However I do like Nepta Walkers Low but since it spreads 3 feet I'm not sure how far in from the edge of the bed to plant it. Some plants that I already have as edging are: carnations, daylilies, and wave petunia (which I'm afraid may wonder into my lawn). Ok, now I need your help with more. For some reason I always have trouble with this area.


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I'm still in the learning stage, but I'm trying verbenas such as Biloxi Blue and Homestead Purple, dianthus, and veronica royal blue, just to name a few. I also have one area that has phlox emerald blue, which is beautiful in spring (and evergreen year round).


    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 8:48AM
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Due to the long edges that I have to keep our meadow out of garden, I mix it up a bit so that I don't use one plant all the way around, but rather groups along the edges of the longest edge. We also have many paths through the garden where I've used some loose edging. On my longest edge, I have a curve of gaillardia, a grouping of coreopsis, some rudbeckia and cotoneaster mixed, a mix of nepeta with tithonia (annual). I intersperse ornamental grasses in big spaces to provide breaks in the edging so that I don't get really long rows of the same thing.

In smaller spaces, I use the same plant along the edge. Heuchera is one of my favorites for part-shade. I have also started some perennial geraniums in part shade along one small section of path.

In some places, I don't use edging plants, but repeat colors or plants throughout the edge.

The large nepeta does require space to be edging. I would say to use it only in a large enough space that it doesn't block your pathway. Mine hang over our sidewalk by about 1 foot. I also use nepeta out in the larger garden to edge one side (along the outside of the fence line). These are Walkers Low, planted last year:

Inside the fence, I use cottage pinks for edging on a very narrow bed. Those bloom in spring, but provide (for my zone) evergreen foliage year round.

Lavender edges a portion of the walkway, overlapping a bit in front of the KO roses. Spanish lavender gets the size of a small shrub. Munstead is a smaller size lavender, loosely blooming structure. The foliage of Munstead is very grey in winter, then is a nice green in summer.

Along the front walk, I'm in the process of creating an ice plant edging on one side. Ice plant is easily propagated by pinching sprigs and sticking them in the wet soil after a rain. That's why it is "in process" as I don't need to buy enough plants to cover the space. I will gradually move out the nandina placeholders as the ice plant (delosperma cooperii) expands. In our zone, it is evergreen, blooms all summer and is deer and rabbit proof. It likes dry soil and full sun.

I don't have a view shot of my lamb's ear to show it as edging, but it works well. I'm working on a small bed using lamb's ear (by dividing when I can...again, patience since I don't need to go out and buy all the plants at once for an immediate look).

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 9:16AM
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I looked through your album and boy, do you ever have a beautiful house and yard. Do you use only the one type of lavender? I see that Bluestone has several kinds available in their sale and I think I'd like to get some.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 1:27PM
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Most of my lavender is Spanish and it gets quite large (allow 3 feet of space). You may want to look into Grosso, Godwin Creek or Hidcote.

I have some Munstead that is just now blooming. It's a bit more wispy and more like what is used in soaps and such.

Here are some pictures of Munstead:

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 2:18PM
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abrodie(z6 ON)

Alchemilla mollis - great all summer. It needs to be cut back if you don't want it to self seed but I like it moving around on its own.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 4:03PM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

Cameron, those are just luscious photos! I love all that purple and violet and you have such inviting paths.

I like moonbeam coreopsis, nepeta, hardy geraniums, silver veronica, fleece flower, and campanula blue clips.

Good luck

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 5:41PM
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faltered(Hamburg NY Z5/6)

Some of the things that have worked well for me:

creeping phlox
small hostas
short daylilies
lamb's ear

Also annuals like ageratum, are super easy and inexpensive to grow from seed and they produce amazing results.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 6:59PM
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Nell Jean

Sisyrinchium (Blue Eyed Grass). When He-Who-Mows runs over it with the mower (Looks like grass to me.) it comes back thicker than ever. It isn't a grass, it looks like a tiny iris plant, but the blossoms are not iris-like. Native. Cheddar pinks. I use Bath's Pink. Liriope. Not the running kind, but the clumping, for a big island, keeps the grass out of the beds.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 7:18PM
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friend(z6a NJ)

I'm glad that Faltered mentioned annuals.. i like to switch it up and try new things..
ageratum is GREAT for edging and also am I crazy- impatients..??
I edge one area with those- it's part shade area those.. it does get full sun from about 1-4 and then gets shaded again and it does fine :)

but you cna play with annuals for the colors and heights you want and then if you realy like something, you can try to find a perenial that mimics it

also- forget me nots in a really ncie area in spring and how abut those johnny jump up violas? lovem!!

Oh and those mini hostas they came out with.. sooo adorable- i have to find a reason to need those.. hahaha!!

oh and hardy geraniums- great idea.. i need to use those somewhere- they'd be a good edger :)

stinking ice plant.. i love it and it never comes back for me!!! if you could grow it- that would be fabulous..

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 8:07PM
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gardengirl_17(z5 OH)

I like Dianthus 'Bath's Pink', Geranium sanguineum (it's a lovely light pink), Heuchera, and Veronica allionii.

And I have to say Cameron that your pictures are breathtaking!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 12:17AM
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Cameron what is that red bush in the third pic that has the color and leave shape of Japanese Maple? It is gorgeous! Love that color...great specimen plant.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 12:49AM
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Magnificent paths, Cameron! I like dwarf snapdragons for edging. I also like lobelia, or French Marigolds.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 3:18AM
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Cameron, I always love looking at your gardens. I love lavender but the only problem is I have amended clay soil and I think it is too heavy even though it is amended to grow it. However I have one spot were builders sand got mixed into the ground and that I amended that I think would work. Sooo I ordered the Munstead (thanks for showing a pic of it!) I also love ice plant and almost picked some of that up but wasn't sure how it would behave as an edger. I might go back now and get it. Gee if I can remember were it was I saw it!

Gottagarden- I have always liked Moonbean Coreopisis but was afraid it would get invasive. I read they have runners. How well does it behave for you? I also have thought about blue chips (came close to ordering it once) but I think here they need some shade and I have full sun.
I ordered Nepta Walkers Low, how far in should I plant it from the edge of the bed?

I've been looking at annuals but I just haven't found anything the really catches my eye. Violas I love but reseed everywhere and since it will be along grass I really don't want it everywhere. I bought white wave petunia since I needed some white. I was looking at Lambs Ear but wasn't sure (didn't have a lable) how much sun it likes. Mostly what I need has to be fairly compact and need full sun. I'm going to have to check out everyone's ideas to see if they work well were I need them. Thanks everyone for your help, lots of good ideas!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 9:37AM
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Here in my zone 7b/8a I have found a million bell that is working great as a border - this is the result of just two plants over 3 years - I am now propagating it by soft tissue to try other places

in another area I am using ice plant and then I just love any of the low growing sedumns - easy to control and very very easy to propagate plus they can take some foot traffic

Cameron - your gardens are just a delight to stroll through - every picture is eye candy.....


    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 10:43AM
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Wow, Lynne that's gorgous! Never heard of that before.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 11:01AM
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fammsimm(Z8 DFW)

Has anyone mentioned alyssum? It's super easy to grow from seed, fragrant and low to the ground.


Every time I see your beautiful album, I go out and buy yet another lavendar plant! :-) I love your garden!!


    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 11:20AM
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Cameron, I just bought some yellow, Basket of Gold Aslyssum, seeds. I've never seen yellow. The packet says it grows 8-12 inches tall. I like allysum, nice filler and sweet fragrance.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 1:39PM
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Japanese Maple -- Yes.

Nepeta spacing -- it needs 3 feet across, so if you plant it 1 1/2 feet in from the edge, you'll get some frilly edges slightly overhanging the path.

Munstead lavender -- grows more upright than the Spanish, taking less space. My son says that our Spanish lavender is the size of shrubs!

Glad you are enjoying the photos. If you're local to me, drop me an email sometime to walk through.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 4:27PM
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pfmastin(8 N. Carolina)

My favorite annual edging plants (today) are Evolvulus 'Blue Daze' and Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost'.
I'm a sucker for anything blue.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 8:05PM
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I agree with Blue Daze. Also, I forgot a couple. I like dwarf ruella (comes in purple, pink and white) and balloon flower (chinese bellflower). I also like this rosy groundcover type plant in this picture but I don't remember the name (can someone help me?).

Thanks for all your ideas. I have lots of border that I need to fill, too.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 8:36PM
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pfmastin(8 N. Carolina)

I can't see it very well, but could it be Calibrachoa...million bells?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 8:19AM
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My all-time favourite edging plant is white, dainty Sweet Allysum. Nothing edges a walk like Sweet Allysum as far as I am concerned, and although I have grown the new colorful varieties, I like the white old-fashioned one best. I like the way Allysum creeps out into the walk. Beautiful and super fragrant. It makes one want to linger-longer in the garden.

For slightly larger plants, I like Nasturtiums, California Poppies, Baby Blue Eyes, Tidy Tips, Sun Drops and/or Meadow Foam, Ageratum (in traditional baby blue), Convolvulus tricolor (fabulous little mini-morning glories), Cheddar Pinks, and Chinese Forget-Me-Nots, just to name a few of the flowers that I love. I wish I could keep them all growing in profusion like I did in California, but I am happy to be able to grow them in any number.

I also like to use succulents of all types, sizes and leaf variations. I love these, No-fuss-no-care plants that add texture and leaf colors of their own.

Although there are many top choose from, one that I noted no one mentioned was the humble Datura. It creates a spectacular effect in the garden and blooms on cloudy days or in the evening.

There are bulbs, grasses, mosses, strawberries, ferns, lichens, and so many more possibilities to choose from, whether you need plants that are shade-loving or sun worshipers.

Don't limit yourself to what garden centers and even professional nurseries offer as "edgers".

Texture is just as important in the garden as is colour.

~ sweetannie4u

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 11:15AM
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Nell Jean

Alternanthera ficoidea (Calico Plant, Joseph's Coat)

I just finished planting some Chartreuse Alternanthera that I saved as tiny cuttings over the winter.

Chartreuse alternanthera at UGA

Multi-colored in shade, the darker alternanthera turns red in sun in late summer and is winter hardy for me.
There is a purple, I want that, too.
The flowers on alternanthera are tiny and insignificant, so it makes an excellent non-distracting edging for plants with bright blossoms.


Here is a link that might be useful: Alternanthera ficoides

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 12:00PM
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The dwarf ruellias are small mounds of foliage with the same blooms as the tall but don't send out runners. There are white, pink or lavender versions. Does reseed some.


Here is a link that might be useful: dwarf ruellia

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 11:26AM
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No one has mentioned leaving spaces for winter heathers that invite you into the garden in winter and peep through the snow. These come in Ruby, deep pink, pale pink, lilac, white and shades of each. Only prune back every second year, not annually

    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 10:33PM
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