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Popular Landscaping Plants

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Popular Landscaping Plants

But what about less famous but equally beautiful plants? The list below introduces 10 great landscaping plants you may not know about, in hopes of getting the word out to beginners. Gardening junkies will recognize these choices right away, but even they might learn a thing or two by clicking on the links below, which will take you to in-depth articles on those particular plants. Selections were made with an eye to variety (perennials, vines, bushes and trees are all represented) and four-season interest.
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Popular Landscaping Plants

With a warm year-round climate and abundant rainfall, it’s no wonder that the tropics are home to some of the world’s most stunning plants. It’s also no wonder that those of us who live in less tropical climes want to incorporate these exotics into our landscapes — but often the harsh reality is that many tropical plants aren’t hardy beyond USDA Zone 8. Container gardening is always a safe bet, you can overwinter the potted plant indoors then return it to your landscape once the last threat of freeze has passed. Check this handy guide for 8 popular tropical plants and tips for growing them.
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Popular Landscaping Plants

Thanks to a sophisticated method for storing water in their roots, stems and leaves, succulents (which includes cacti) have managed to thrive in the most inhospitable environments. This toughness also makes them incredibly easy to maintain and ideal for desert landscapes. The increasing popularity of xeriscaping, or landscaping that reduces or eliminates the need for irrigation, has brought attention back to these water-saving plants — but their habitat needs (sandy, loose soil, infrequent rain and year-round warm temperatures) limit their use to mainly the Southwest. The most popular exception is the prickly pear cactus which has been known to survive as far north as Canada. Find the best succulent for your zone in our plant finder.
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Popular Landscaping Plants

Hydrangeas, as a general class, are well-known for being one of the best landscaping plants for summer, but the names of some of the specific types most useful in the yard aren't household names. For example, folks often become frustrated in their search for a perennial vine that will grow well in shade, while the solution to their problem is readily available but flies under the radar: climbing hydrangea.
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Popular Landscaping Plants

Best for: The shady sides of your house. This mounding, silver-blue perennial has lavender to white bell-shaped flowers in summer that show up on tall stalks. Like most shade plants, Blue Angel enjoys moist, mulch-covered soil. It will grow clumpy and tend to overwhelm its home, so divide every 2-3 years — free plants!
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Popular Landscaping Plants

Defined as plants that retain their leaves year-round, evergreens add a bright spot of color to a winter landscape. Conifers, like pine, spruce, cedar and fir are what typically come to mind when we think of evergreens but magnolia, hollies and eucalyptus trees are also evergreens. Dependent on your planting zone, many blooming shrubs, like laurels, azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias and gardenias, retain their leaves year-round making them great foundation plants. Learn more about selecting an evergreen for your landscape.

Popular Landscaping Plants

Bayberry forms a beautiful semi-evergreen shrub that tolerates either wet or dry soils. The shrub also withstands salt spray, making it a good choice for coastal landscapes. Plants gradually spread from underground suckers, eventually forming a thicket. Pruning is rarely necessary. Bayberry has long been prized for its fragrant, waxy gray berries, which can be used to make candles. Plants are either male or female; to ensure berry production, plant several shrubs in the same landscape. The berries are also attractive to a wide range of songbirds.
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Popular Landscaping Plants

Giant saucerlike flowers on 5-foot plants make this one of the most dramatic perennials in the garden. Easily grown in wet or dry soil, these showy flowers attract butterflies, not deer. Individual blooms are short-lived, but plants bloom prolifically until frost. Zones 4-9.
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Drenching the air with a fruity scent, butterfly bush’s flower spikes are an irresistible lure to butterflies and hummingbirds all summer long. The plants have an arching habit that’s appealing especially as a background in informal flower borders. In warmer climates, butterfly bushes soon grow into trees and develop rugged trunks that peel. To nurture butterfly bush through cold Northern winters, spread mulch up to 6 inches deep around the trunk. Plants will die down, but resprout in late spring. Prune to the ground to encourage new growth and a more fountainlike shape. Avoid fertilizing butterfly bush; extra-fertile soil fosters leafy growth rather than flower spikes. Remove spent flower spikes to encourage new shoots and flower buds. Note: Butterfly bush can be an invasive pest in some areas; check local restrictions before planting it.
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Hosta Few plants can brighten even the toughest dry shade like these rugged and varied perennials. Superstars include ‘Pandora’s Box’ with green-edged white leaves and ‘Frances Williams’ (pictured) with large rippled blue-green foliage and chartreuse edges. Zones 3-9.  Read about 5 hot hosta plants. Tags: Garden, Garden Ideas, Spring gardening, Summer gardening
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House Huggers There is something unsettlingly stark about the intersection where house meets land—it begs to be softened with greenery. But just hiding that juncture with a tight fringe of evergreens isn’t the answer. Neither is a one-scheme-fits-all formula. “Two conical things on either side of the front door with two tall things on either end of the house with lower things in the middle—that’s a dated approach,” says Anne F. Walters, a landscape architect in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “The right foundation planting for most houses is a nice mix of evergreen and deciduous material, with dwarf varieties in order to keep window views open, some repetition of plants for a unified look, and an overall casual, naturalistic feeling.” Shown: Curved, asymmetrical beds hide open space under the porch and provide color and interest with a mix of flowering and evergreen plants. A mophead hydrangea greets visitors at the stairway with big orbs of color in the summer, while a blue juniper and a fine-leaved azalea anchor the bed in every season. Hanging baskets with trailing ivy soften the porch posts and frame the entry. Red flowers in the baskets echo the foundation planting’s blooms.

There is something unsettlingly stark about the intersection where house meets land—it begs to be softened with greenery. But just hiding that juncture with a tight fringe of evergreens isn’t the answer. Neither is a one-scheme-fits-all formula. “Two conical things on either side of the front door with two tall things on either end of the house with lower things in the middle—that’s a dated approach,” says Anne F. Walters, a landscape architect in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “The right foundation planting for most houses is a nice mix of evergreen and deciduous material, with dwarf varieties in order to keep window views open, some repetition of plants for a unified look, and an overall casual, naturalistic feeling.” Shown: Curved, asymmetrical beds hide open space under the porch and provide color and interest with a mix of flowering and evergreen plants. A mophead hydrangea greets visitors at the stairway with big orbs of color in the summer, while a blue juniper and a fine-leaved azalea anchor the bed in every season. Hanging baskets with trailing ivy soften the porch posts and frame the entry. Red flowers in the baskets echo the foundation planting’s blooms.
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Hardy hibiscus Giant saucerlike flowers on 5-foot plants make this one of the most dramatic perennials in the garden. Easily grown in wet or dry soil, these showy flowers attract butterflies, not deer. Individual blooms are short-lived, but plants bloom prolifically until frost. Zones 4-9.   Tags: Garden, Garden Ideas, Spring gardening, Summer gardening
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Giant saucerlike flowers on 5-foot plants make this one of the most dramatic perennials in the garden. Easily grown in wet or dry soil, these showy flowers attract butterflies, not deer. Individual blooms are short-lived, but plants bloom prolifically until frost. Zones 4-9.  
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The acrobats of the plant world, climbing plants allow you to take your garden to new heights when planted alongside a trellis, arbor, wall or fence. Although a few vines, like morning glory and nasturtium, are annuals, most are perennials, coming back year after year to completely cover their supporting structure with blooms, fruit or leaves. Thanks to the variety of colors available, clematis is a popular climber. Other good choices are bougainvillea, blackberry, gloriosa lily, honeysuckle, jasmine, mandevilla, trumpet vine and native wisteria. Find the best vines for your zone in our plant finder.
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If your yard includes a steep bank or bare patches under trees where grass refuses to grow, planting a hardy groundcover could be just the solution to your landscaping woes. These low growers creep along the ground quickly forming a dense mat that’s resistant to weeds. With so many varieties to choose from, the key is matching the plant to its location, either sun or shade. For sunny areas, good choices are creeping phlox, goldmoss sedum, ice plant, plumbago, creeping juniper and lemon thyme. For shade, try periwinkle, euonymus wintercreeper or English ivy. Find the best groundcovers for your zone in our plant finder.

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