When it comes to selecting the best plants for edging borders, there are hundreds of options to choose from, depending on your preferred style.  Neat and tidy formal hedging will create well-defined structure to your borders, whilst summer perennials will soften their look and feel.  Here we share our favourite plants for edging borders.

What is a good plant for edging borders?

Before choosing which plants will work best for edging your borders, it’s worth considering your borders’ position and soil type.  Then, think about style, structure and colour.  Here’s two of our favourite best plants for edging borders:

Buxus ‘Sempervirens Suffruticosa’

Traditional Buxus has been used to edge garden borders for centuries, and there’s no surprise why.  This incredibly hardy shrub is evergreen, compact and slow-growing, making it perfect for creating formal, ornamental hedging.  Buxus ‘Sempervirens Suffruticosa’ is a lovely variety bearing glossy green and yellow foliage, and pale yellow flowers in spring.  Like all good Buxus, it can easily be clipped into a tidy shape and its distinctive scent attracts bees for miles.  Tolerant of most soils and lighting conditions, it has to be one of the best plants for edging borders.

Hosta ‘Emerald Charger’

For softening the edges of your borders, you can’t go wrong with a hosta or two.  Hardy hostas, with their low-growing habit and hardy nature, are a classic garden border edging plant that grow particularly well in shady positions.  The zingy, lime-green and yellow striped foliage of Hosta ‘Emerald Charger’ will perk up any dim spot.  In summer, its lavender coloured flowers are adored by pollinators.  Plant in well-drained soil and expect this wonderful hosta to reach over half a metre in height and width.

How can I make my garden borders look good?

Creating beautiful garden borders is often a matter of personal taste.  Whether you prefer formal, structured garden schemes, or wispy, softer styles, it’s a good idea to consider the edge of your border.  Some plants will help create a strong, clean boundary line, whereas others will form a more relaxed perimeter.  There’s a huge variety of ornamental shrubs and perennials that will help you to achieve your preferred style.

Nepeta ‘Walkers Low’

Lavender is often chosen as one of the best plants for edging borders.  But a great alternative is to try planting Nepeta, or catmint as it’s commonly known.  It bears a similarly beautiful soft texture, fragrance and colour to lavender, but has a longer flowering season, making it a great choice for edging garden borders.  Like lavender, Nepeta is low maintenance, very drought tolerant and ideal for attracting pollinators into your outside space.  Nepeta ‘Walkers Low’ has gorgeous lavender coloured blooms that will flower from early summer to autumn.

Alchemilla mollis ‘Thriller’

With its sweet scented flowers, attractive foliage and effortless spreading habit, Alchemilla mollis is a good choice of plant for edging borders.  Alchemilla mollis ‘Thriller’ is a lovely variety with honey scented blooms that float like clouds above lime coloured, fan shaped foliage.  It has the robustness and tolerance of any good lady’s mantle, and will happily grow in full sun or partial shade.  This particular perennial has a strong, upright, spreading habit, easily reaching up to half a metre in height and spread.  Ideal for any low maintenance border.

Male Fern ‘Dryopteris filix mas’

The attractive, feathered fronds of native ferns makes them an appealing plant for edging borders.  Position several along the edge of your border to create a heavily textured, woodland-style boundary.  For a fast-growing fern with a border-edge friendly clumping habit, look no further than the majestic Male Fern ‘Dryopteris filix mas’.  Native to the UK, it’s a hardy option that can tolerate full sun as well as shade.  Keep its soil moist and it will easily reach up to a metre in height.  It’s no wonder that this woodland wonder has been granted a Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit.

What you can plant in a low maintenance border?

Keeping your garden low maintenance is more straightforward if you choose the right plants to edge the borders.  Here’s three plants that will not demand too much of your time, but will command lots of attention.

Sagina subulata ‘Lime Moss’

Irish moss, heath pearlwort or lime moss.  Whatever you choose to call it, Sagina subulata has to be one of the best plants for edging borders.  A wonderfully versatile herbaceous perennial, it’s perfect for creating much-needed groundcover in low-maintenance gardens.  Grown along the edge of a border, path or rockery, it will slowly creep into every nook and cranny, softening hard edges and adding vibrant colour.  Sagina subulata ‘Lime Moss’ is an eye-catching variety, with its emerald shade and resemblance to moss.  In summer its lush, evergreen carpet will blossom with small white flowers.

Lamb’s Ear ‘Stachys byzantina’

To add soft, fuzzy texture and wonderful colour to the edge of a border, look no further than heavenly Lamb’s Ear ‘Stachys byzantina’.  Brilliant for adding to low-maintenance borders, this hardy, evergreen perennial easily carpets the edge of borders with its thick, textural, silver foliage and stems.  In summer it blooms with pretty purple flowers that bees cannot resist.  Often used at the front edge of a border, Lamb’s Ear brightens everything behind it and is best grown in full sun.  A fabulous plant for edging borders, with a long-lasting lifespan.

Phlox subulata Fabulous Collection

Phlox subulata has a reliable, creeping habit that is ideal for edging a low maintenance border.  A hardy, evergreen perennial that will add groundcover to the front of a border all year round.  Phlox subulata needs little care, but will thrive in a sunny spot, and in well-drained soil.  Phlox subulata Fabulous Collection includes a trio of varieties, each with the promise of adorning your garden with masses of small, long-flowering blooms from spring to summer.  This particular collection includes flowers with heart-shaped petals in soft, blue, pink and white pastel colours.  Perfect for any style and size of garden.