ornamental plants

Top 21 Ornamental Plants To Grow in Your Garden

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Did you know that ornamental plants can be grown inside and outside of your house? They are, in fact, very adaptive to where they are planted.

However, if you are looking into planting your flowers, trees, or shrubs for the first time, then you should always take into consideration the climate you live in as they tend to have specific requirements.

Ornamentals are so common nowadays that it’s very likely you either have one inside your house or someone close to you have one as well!

They are grown for display purposes, thus, they have gained popularity within the last couple of years, especially since the words ‘sustainability’ and ‘permaculture’ have come into public display.

ornamental flowers

However, some plants can be ornamental and functional, but more often than not, ornamental plants tend to be the ones that do not have any utility to humans, so we tend to think of them as beautiful and attractive, but that’s it.

They give our senses some joy, thus, they only serve a decoration purpose. As a result, ornamental plants come in a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes, and they usually adapt well to different climates as well.

In addition, some ornamental flowering plants are known for showy foliage. This foliage can be deciduous (which means it will change colors throughout the seasons), or they can simply be evergreen (as the name indicates the foliage remains green throughout the year).

But, which ones are the best ones to grow in your garden? Continue reading and find out, I’m sure you’ll go to your local nursery in no time after reading this article!

colorful ornamental garden

Why Should You Grow Ornamentals In Your Garden?

Whenever you are growing, maintaining, or simply buying a plant because of its color, fragrance, foliage, shape, or design, then you are getting an ornamental plant.

This type of plant tends to catch everybody’s attention because they tend to be truly beautiful, but, at the same time, they can bring fresh air into your home, and, in some cases, they can even act as a repellent for mosquitoes or any other types of bugs. 

Ornamental horticulture is a great way to add life and vibrancy to your home decor. By choosing the right garden plants for your climate (think about how much sun, full sun or partial, your garden plants require, as well as their ideal temperature) you can create a low-maintenance display that impresses your guests and boosts your mood.

Although you might feel overwhelmed when you first start ornamental gardening – after all, there are hundreds of garden plants to choose from!

This guide can help break down the different types of plants to choose from that will suit your specific ornamental gardening needs.

Types of Ornamental Plants with Names and Pictures

There are many types of ornamental plants. These are the most common ones that you could easily grow in your garden either in a pot, flower beds or as sidewalk and border plants.


beautiful pink roses

One of the most common and loved ornamentals in the world, this is why they are often called the ‘’Queen of Flowers’’. There are so many rose species and cultivars that you can pick.

Roses are easily grown, they come in a wide range of colors, and if you would like your garden to have a more vibrant space, then have you considered growing some roses? 

These full sun garden plants are great for landscaping! Choose your favourite type from rose bushes, rose shrubs, and even climbing roses.

Desert rose

desert rose succulent

Desert rose (Adenium obesum) is a low-maintenance flowering succulent which is very easy to grow. It has pink and white trumpet-shaped flowers and you can find many different hybrids of this plant in many nurseries.

Desert rose can be planted in the ground or inside a pot. Because of its easy-to-shape characteristic, it is often trained as a bonsai plant. Desert rose bonsai is a good choice for bonsai beginners.


lavender shrub

Another variety of ornamental plant you definitely need to have in your garden. Even though you can make oils or decorate food with lavender, they are often considered an ornamental plant precisely because of the way they can grow in any garden. 

Lavender will also enhance your outdoor space with distinctive aromas that could potentially attract hummingbirds or pollinators in general.


purple sage flowers

If you are looking into diversifying your garden with different varieties of ornamental plants then have you considered growing sage?

It’s not only easy to grow but you could also even use it in the kitchen! Its unique flavor will sure bring your plates into life. Sages can be purple, white, and even blue!


yellow marigold

An all-time favorite plant for those who love to design their landscapes! Marigolds are known for bringing lots of color into any garden!

These full sun garden plants have a mixture of colors, including, red, gold, yellow, and copper. If you decide to plant Marigolds, make sure you have patience as this type of plant will bloom in late summer!



Everybody knows about mint, but not everybody is aware of how easy it is to grow! In fact, in some places, this plant is considered to be a weed because it easily spreads everywhere. 

So, if you could either make sure your mint has a growing area where they can expand themselves or you will have a garden fill with mint, which is not a bad thing, especially when it’s one of the best mosquito repellent plants you can grow.


rosemary plant

This is a perennial evergreen shrub that stays green year round and has blue flowers. It is often used in the kitchen, as it has a very distinctive aromatic presence but also provinces a sweet flavor to any dish.

If you are thinking about growing rosemary in your garden, then do it! It is definitely one of the easiest ornamental garden plants to maintain. 


thyme herb plant

Thyme is another herb that is often used as an aromatic plant in many parts of the world. It’s also a top choice for ornamental horticulture. It has a strong and distinctive flavor, however, if you are not too keen on it you can still plant it as an ornamental type of plant.

There are many types of thyme, so, make sure you eat either the English one which is the most common one as well. 



If you are into pesto, then you are into basil! This ornamental plant is a fragrant herb that will add an exquisite flavor to any dish you cook. And would you like to know another great thing about basil? It’s so easy to plant and to maintain. 

In fact, you don’t need to do much to keep it healthy, just make sure you plant it before or during the summer as they don’t do well in a cold environment! There are also many types of this plant, for example, purple basil, sweet basil, and even lemony basil! These full sun ornamental plants are easy to grow and harvest.


red oriental lily

Lilies are one of the most beloved ornamental plants in the world. They are known throughout different cultures and they can grow all over the place as well, making them a top ornamental horticulture pick.

Plant some ornamental lilies in your garden and you will receive lots of birds and pollinators each day. They come in a wide range of colors, so pick your favorite between red, pink, or purple. These are full sun ornamental plants.


orange red tulips

How beautiful are they, don’t you agree? Tulip flowers can brighten everyone’s day as they have intense and vibrant colors! They will bloom once the weather is warmer and any sign of frost has disappeared. These plants are a top choice for ornamental horticulture.

Even though they are very tolerant of harsh climate conditions, they still prefer to grow in warm weather and full sun. These are ornamental flowers you definitely need to add to your list!


white daffodil flowers

Daffodils have a vibrant and bright yellow flower which announces that spring is about to, well, spring! These are some of the best plants for ornamental gardening.

Daffodils are hardy ornamental plants that could easily grow in most regions of the world if the right and basic conditions are met. So, if you plant them in autumn they will likely bloom in early spring

Onion Plants

onion flower

You are probably thinking, why is an onion plant in this list? Well, did you know that they can be an ornamental plant? Believe it or not, these are some of the best plants for ornamental gardening.

Just like thyme or basil, if you plant an onion that has some sprouts then they will produce green sprouts (the green leaves that grow) that are edible! These plants, like many other plants you might choose for ornamental gardening, does prefer full sun.

American Wisteria

wisteria flowers

This type of ornamental plant has a very fragrant vine that you will recognize from afar. It can grow up to 50 feet in length, and its flowers tend to be purple and dark blue. 

Wisteria prefers to be fully exposed to the sun, although if you live in a hot climate then you should plant them under partial shade. Though full sun is ideal, wisteria is another choice for ornamental horticulture that is highly adaptable.

This plant can also be trained as a bonsai tree. You can buy wisteria bonsai from many online or local nurseries.


pink petunia

Usually grown as an annual plant, they are very popular amongst gardeners who like to bring a wow factor into their landscapes.

They could be Grandiflora petunias (they have colorful large flowers), or they could be Multiflora petunias (they have abundant and colorful flowers). They tend to resist harsh climates, thus, they are a great option for any type of weather. 


colorful lilac

Lilac flowers are another type of ornamental plant. They prefer warm weather and they have such a sweet fragrance that once you smell one you will never forget about it. These full sun plants are absolutely gorgeous.

Lilacs can bring many pollinators to your garden, but they will also make your outdoor space look even better as they have a vibrant pink, yellow, and white color. 


orange amaryllis

Amaryllis is very easy to grow and maintain, which makes this ornamental plant perfect for any garden! They come in bulbs and they tend to have a long-lasting life. It grows well in full sun but is like most of the other garden plants on this list in that it can adapt to a wide variety of conditions.

They are very popular with many flower gardeners mainly because they can catch everybody’s attention with their different colors (you can find them in red, pink, salmon, and orange, to name a few). 


white pink scented geranium

Out of all the ornamental plants on this list, geraniums come in the widest variety of colors.

Most gardeners will agree on something: geraniums are perfect for any garden! Not only are they easy to grow but they are also so colorful that you will have a party full of pollinators every day in your garden. 

Geraniums also have a beautiful fragrance and they do well in different types of climates. These common ornamental plants prefer full sun.

Spider plant

chlorophytum comosum

Also known as the Chlorophytum comosum, this type of plant is very easy to grow! It prefers full sun but like many garden plants in our list of ornamental plants, it is flexible. It can be an adaptable part of your landscape design.

Its name derives from the fact that the daughters of the mother plan dangle down as if they were spiders on a web, which makes it such a unique sight. They also bloom into white flowers.

Snake plant

mother-in-laws tongue

The snake plant is one of the most gorgeous ornamental plants you can grow. Unlike most other ornamental plants, it does not need to be grown in full sun.

This ornamental plant is also known as Dracaena trifasciata or mother-in-law’s tongue, how funny is that? They are resilient ornamental foliage plants that will help you remove all the damaging toxins that can be found in your house or garden.

Most people place them inside of their houses because of their striking appearance and the many great health benefits they have, but they can also be planted in any garden. 

Golden pothos

epipremnum aureum

Also known as the Money plant, if you decide to have this ornamental plant in your garden then you won’t regret it. It’s super easy to take care for with distinctly colored leaves and they tend to grow fairly fast.

Out of all the ornamental plants you can grow, pothos is one of the best garden plants if you want a low-maintenance approach.

They will need to be under a shade as they don’t like to have direct sunlight on top of them and you don’t need to water them every day. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Ornamental Plants

Here are some of the most FAQ about ornamental plants:

Is it difficult to cultivate ornamental plants?

Not at all! Most ornamental plants require specific work such as pruning, however, most of them are very low-maintenance and are easy to propagate, if you wish to do so. 

Are there any differences between an ornamental plant and a utilitarian crop?

There are some differences between these two types of ornamental plants. For example, a utilitarian and crop plant will allow you to feed yourself, others, and any livestock you may have, so you are doing agriculture with those vegetable crops. 

On the other hand, even though decorative plants can also be edible, thus they will serve a utility for you, they are usually in your garden as a way to attract pollinators, beautify your outdoor space, and you won’t require them to do much, except to simply exist. 

How to choose the best ornamental plant for my garden?

Another important question about ornamental plants! You will need to study and observe your climate, so questions like, ‘’what’s the weather like where I am?’’ or ‘’do we have enough rainfall to water our plants?’’ are some things you should be answering. 

You will also need to look into what you like and how willing you are to grow what you want. Some ornamental plants will prefer one type of soil over others, so make sure you do some research before planting anything.

How to maintain an ornamental plant to keep it healthy?

Most ornamental plants will require you to fertilize them, prune them, and water them. You will also need to be aware that there are pests that will try to attack your plants, so, one solution for this may be to mulch them properly. 

Don’t worry though, you can have a low-maintenance landscape in your garden that will still be very beautiful for years to come. 

Final Words

Ornamental gardening is almost like going to therapy! Sometimes you may feel discouraged by all the information and things you need to do to grow healthy ornamental plants, however, more often than not, once you start seeing how your ornamental grasses and other ornamental plants are growing, you will find yourself with a sense of pride and inner peace that nothing else can give it to you.

The beauty of having a full sun garden filled with ornamental flowers is like nothing else! Of course, you will need to find flowers and plants that can help you with your purpose and that are right for the area where you live.

Lastly, if there is one thing I can assure you, is this: your reward and hard work will pay off once you start seeing all the different colors, when you smell the wide variety of scents, and when you welcome all the pollinators and birds right into your garden. And you will forever treasure this!

Up Next: Best Perennial Plants and Flowers for Your Garden

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