Government of New Brunswick

A perennial border requires a great deal of thought and planning. Plants are chosen for attractive color, period of bloom and height. A large border planting usually has low growing perennials in the front with several sections of taller perennials behind them. A small planting may have room for only low growing perennial plants if the planting is to seem appropriate for the site.

These low growing perennials range in height from 8 to 60 cm and provide some ideas for a low perennial border. All of these plants have been grown at the Agriculture Research Station in Fredericton, but may not be hardy in all New Brunswick locations.

  • Achillea ageratifolia (Yarrow) has silver gray finely cut foliage. These 10-15 cm plants produce small white flowers in May and June.

  • Ajuga genevensis (Bugleweed) produces 30 cm spikes of blue flowers in June. Cultivar "Pink Spires" tends to have evergreen foliage.

  • Arabis alpina (Rockcress) A profusion of white flowers from April to June and attractive foliage make these 20 cm plants a good selection for any rock garden. These plants require dividing every second year to avoid dead patches in the center of the clump.

  • Armeria maritima (Sea pink, Thrift) have 20 cm tall mounds of grass-like evergreen foliage and globular blooms of white, red or purple are evident from mid-May to mid-June.

  • Campanula spp. (Bellflower) White, blue, purple or yellow bell shaped flowers give a showy bloom in July and August on this 15-45 cm tall plant.

  • Centaurea spp. (Rose delight, Mountain bluet) Large delicate flowers of rosy lilac or cornflower blue are produced throughout the summer. These attractive plants grow to 60 cm tall.

  • Cerastium tomentosum (Snow-in-Summer) This 15 cm tall plant has distinctive silvery foliage and masses of small white flowers in June. Because of its rapidly spreading growth it should be severely trimmed after flowering.

  • Chrysanthemum coccineum (Painted daisy, Pyrethrum) In June and July these 30-60 cm plants produce red or pink daisylike blooms which make good cut flowers. Promote second bloom by cutting stems to the ground after first flowering.

  • Gaillardia x grandiflora (Blanketflower) is one of the easiest perennials to grow, this 30-60cm plant develops handsome red or yellow flower heads and will bloom all season if dead blooms are removed.

  • Geranium grandiflorum (Cranesbill) Large purple-blue flowers in striking 40 cm clusters and ornamental foliage make this a very popular plant. These 25 cm plants bloom from June to July.

  • Hosta spp. (Plaintain lily) are plants usually chosen for their distinctive foliage but they also produce small lily-like blooms in July. The plants range in height from 30-90 cm.

  • Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft) have neat evergreen hummocks of dark green foliage and masses of white flowers which form a 50 cm mound. Bloom period is in July.

  • Oenthera tetragona (Evening primrose) makes a colorful filler plant with its cup shaped lemon-yellow flowers on 60 cm tall stems in bloom from June to Aug.

  • Phlox sublata (Moss Phlox) develops a thick green mat, 15 cm high covered with red, pink, white or lilac blooms from May to June. It makes an excellent edging or ground cover.

  • Sedum spectabile (Showy Stonecrop) From August to frost the rosy pink flower clusters of this fleshy leaved 45 cm tall plant are visible.

  • Sempervivum tectorum (Hens and Chickens) is often planted as a companion for sedums. Foliage forms and colors differ with the species and the 30 cm midsummer flower colors vary.

  • Veronica spp. (Speedwell) From June to early August the 45-60 cm showy royal blue spikes of this plant are visible.

  • Viola spp. (Violet) are colourful low growing plants ranging from 8-25 cm tall. V. cornuta have the longest bloom period, from May to September while the fragrant V. ordorata blooms only in May and June.