Known as Stachys byzantia, the lamb’s ear plant is a silvery perennial which is famed for its soft foliage, covered in white down.
It’s a very easy plant to grow. In fact, the trouble you’ll have with it is that it will spread quickly, and you’ll need to divide it.
Lamb’s ear prefers full sunlight in well-draining soil, and only requires the occasional watering. It’s a great ground cover plant, as some leaves get very large, filling in any gaps with ease.
Lady Finger Cactus Flowers
Also known as the gold lace cactus, or Mammillaria elongata, this is a member of the Cactaceae family, hailing from Central America and Mexico.
The golden yellow or pink flowers appear in spring, if given enough sunlight.
It can reach up to 20cm tall, and about 30cm wide. It’s cold tolerant down to 20°F (or -6.7°C). It’s often grown as a houseplant in colder areas, going dormant during the winter.
The lady finger cactus will produce offsets regularly, making it an easy cactus to propagate.
Forming a big part of traditional medicine, this plant is also known as Alchemilla mollis or Alchemilla vulgaris.
It’s a unique perennial which has scalloped leaves, producing reams of frothy yellow flowers above the foliage.
It makes a great ground cover plant, helping to suppress weeds with its tightly packed growth habit, while also making a good border plant (see also Plants Perfect For Borders).
It is a vigorous plant, and can take over if you don’t keep it in check.
It’s easy to grow, and prefers damp soil and cool temperatures in summer, where possible.
It will grow in a sunny position, but it does better in regions of partial shade if the weather is consistently hot.
Lady’s Slipper Orchid
Lady slipper orchids (see also Dancing Lady Orchids) are fantastic plants, easily recognizable by their modified labella flower parts, which are shaped like slippers.
These modified lips of the flower act to trap insects. This helps pollination, as the insects have to climb past the staminode part of the flower to get out.
They’re native to different parts of the world, and are found in many different habitats, including woodland, meadows and prairies.
Lady slipper orchids make great houseplants, or good feature plants in warm areas.
This coreopsis species is native to North America, and grows well in both sun and shade.
It forms part of the sunflower family, as a species of tickseed.
Its bright green foliage is very attractive, and it produces large clusters of white daisy-like flowers in late summer and autumn.
It’s best planted in full sun, although it will tolerate some light shade too.
A tropical American and African shrub or herbaceous perennial, lantana is commonly used for ornamental borders, providing huge color.
It’s hardy down to 28°F (-2°C), so if you give it a sheltered position, it should thrive, provided that you don’t get any frost.
It’s a popular garden plant, grown ornamentally in warm parts of the world for its gorgeous flowers. These blooms can change in color as they grow older.
You’ll also see them referred to as shrub verbenas. In warm parts of the world, they have naturalized.
Lantana can grow between 1 and 6 feet tall, depending on the type you go for.
These beautiful plants need at least six hours of direct sunlight in order to produce the best flowers they can.
Also known as annual delphiniums, these plants form one of the most familiar groups of flowering plants.
There are hundreds of varieties available, and they come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from tiny sprays of pink to larger clumps of lavender or royal blue.
They’re native throughout Europe and Asia, and were introduced into North America during the 19th century.
Larkspurs prefer moist, fertile soil, and do well in a range of conditions. They’re often grown as bedding plants, and are excellent for attracting butterflies and bees.
They can range between 1 and 3 feet tall, depending on the variety you go for.
Larkspurs are low maintenance, make great container plants, and do well as cut flowers. They also have the added benefit of being resistant to deer.
Lavatera is also known as the tree mallow, perfect for adding both drama and color into any garden.
Lavatera provides a great deal of structure into any garden as an upright shrub, bathing any garden in showy flowers in shades of red, white, and pink.
The shape of the flowers is similar to the hollyhock, or the hibiscus. Lavatera has been around since ancient times, and was originally cultivated by the Egyptians.
Lavateras require a sunny spot with plenty of moisture, but not much water once established.
They’re easy to grow, and like a rich, loamy soil. The shrub varieties will handle cold weather or very mild frosts, but none handle freezing temperatures very well, and not for extended periods.
This fragrant flower is widely used in potpourri, and is especially good for fragrance gardens. Not only that, but bees and butterflies love lavender.
If you’re put off by the smell, it’s worth knowing that different types of lavender have different scents, some of which are very different to the lavender fragrance you get in cosmetics.
It’s native to Southern Europe, where it was first cultivated by the Romans.
It’s now grown worldwide, and there are over 200 cultivars to choose from. Lavenders can be found growing up to 3 feet tall, and you can get dwarf varieties if that kind of size doesn’t suit your garden.
Lavenders prefer full sunlight with good drainage.
Lechenaultia plants come from Australia, usually hailing from the Southwest.
Like many other members of the Goodeniaceae plant family, they either form as sub shrubs or herbs. Lechenaultia hortii will reach about 40cm tall.
As long as the soil drains well, Lechenaultia will thrive in either dappled shade or full sunlight, blooming in various shades of pink in summer.
Famous for its citrus-scented foliage, lemon balm is a great herb that also produces lilac or ivory flowers during the summer.
Lemon balm is a very easy plant to grow, even from seed, and will thrive in full sunlight or dappled shade.
You may also see it labeled as Melissa officinalis, and there are many varieties to choose from.
It has a clumping growth habit, reaching anywhere from 30cm to 60cm tall. Lemon balm does best when planted in a slightly acidic soil.
Thyme is one of the most popular culinary herbs, and is also useful as a medicinal herb, as well as adding ornamental value in your garden.
It’s best known for its use in cooking, but it’s also used in perfumes, soaps, and medicines.
Lemon thyme produces tiny bright purple or lilac flowers in summer, and is part of the mint plant family, Lamiaceae. The flowers feature a lot of nectar, drawing in bees and butterflies.
Lemon thyme prefers full sun, and should be watered regularly. It grows easily from seed, and will tolerate light frost.
Known as Doronicum orientale, this is a lovely herbaceous perennial which will brighten up any garden.
The flowers are very similar to a daisy, and this plant also features heart-shaped leaves for a romantic look.
Leopard’s bane holds its own in a mixed border. Depending on what type you go for, they can reach between 30 and 90cm high, flowering in the middle of spring, through to the first few weeks of summer.
The leucadendrons are a group of flowering shrubs and trees from South Africa.
These beautiful plants will hold their own in zones 9 and 10, otherwise needing a sheltered, warm position.
Leucadendrons can reach anywhere between 3 and 8 feet tall, depending on the species you go for.
They are perfect for cut flowers, and resist drought with ease. You may see the flowers in yellow or red, appearing in either spring or winter.
Leucadendrons require as much sunshine as possible, with well-draining, acidic soil.
This root is used medicinally all around the world, and is often added to teas and candies.
It’s also an ingredient in many herbal remedies, such as cough syrups and throat lozenges. Licorice root is available in both fresh and dried forms.
Licorice root comes from the roots of Glycyrrhiza glabra, a perennial legume native to Western Asia, Northern parts of Africa, and the Southern parts of Europe.
Licorices are hardy perennials, bearing purple flowers and an abundance of bright green leaves.
This striking plant grows well in fast-draining soil, in full sunlight. If you’re looking to harvest your own licorice root, you’ll have to be patient, as it can take a couple of years for the roots to get the right size.
A member of the olive plant family, Oleaceae, Lilacs are some of the easiest plants to grow (see also Lilac Types And Care). They prefer rich, moist soil, and need little water once established.
There are many different types of lilacs, but the common ones include the hybrid ‘Moonshine’, which bears white flowers; the double form ‘Double Moon’; and the single form ‘Soleil’.
If you picture a large flowering tree when you think of a lilac, you’re not far off, but there are dwarf types available which will suit containers or smaller gardens.
Lilacs are also known for their fragrance, and they produce a sweet scent that attracts birds and insects alike.
Lilacs do best in full sun, in well-draining soil, and should not be overwatered. They can tolerate temperatures down to -10°C (-14°F), although they won’t bloom if the temperature drops below this level.
Lilies are among the most popular ornamental plants out there. They make excellent container plants as well as focal points in any garden, as long as the soil drains well.
They are easy to care for, provided that you keep them out of the ground after a year or so.
Depending on where you live, you may have problems with lily beetles living in the soil, which will decimate the leaves on your lilies.
You’ll find lilies growing in a range of colors, including white, pink, orange, yellow, brown, and black.
The most famous type of lily is the Asiatic Lily, Lilium Asiaticum. It has a unique shape, with a trumpet-like flower head at its top.
Most lilies like full sunlight.
Lily Of The Valley
This beautiful bulbous plant produces a cluster of small white or pink flowers in early Spring.
It’s one of the earliest bulbs to bloom, signaling the start of spring.
It’s easily recognizable with its pendant bell flowers, with frilled edges on the petals. These flowers also have a lovely fragrance.
Also known as Convallaria majalis, the lily of the valley is found naturally in woodland areas in Europe and Asia, making it the perfect plant to fill in bare soil between shrubs and trees.
Convallaria majalis is classed as a major pest in some parts of North America, in which case, you need to go for Convallaria majalis var. montana, which hails from North America.
You might also see it called Our Lady’s tears, or May bells.
It’s worth mentioning that it’s extremely poisonous, so it’s not suitable for gardens with pets or children, in case they eat part of the plant.
Linderheimers Beeblossom refers to a group of perennials that grow into clumps of tiny white flowers, fading to pink, on top of reed-like stems.
You may also see them labeled as Gaura lindheimeri, or whirling butterflies.
It provides a wealth of texture and sparks of bright white into any garden, usually flowering from summer well into fall.
This plant also attracts plenty of bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds into your garden, too.
These plants love full sunlight and well-draining soil. They are very robust plants, capable of resisting deer, rabbits, heat, humidity, and drought.
Linderheimers beeblossom is perfect for rockeries, pots, or natural-looking planting schemes.
They hold their own as individual plants, and look stunning when planted as a group.
Lisianthus are an interesting genus of perennial plants often grown as annuals, and hail from South America and the US.
They produce large clusters of fragrant white or purple flowers in late summer and into fall.
Lisianthus is not the easiest plant to grow and care for, but it’s among the most striking. It helps that this plant is a very popular cut flower.
It can tolerate shade, but prefers full sun.
It needs regular watering during dry periods, and should never sit in water.
While you can grow lisianthus from seed, they are notoriously slow growing, taking as long as six months to mature and flower, so many people buy them as established plants.
In USDA zones 8 and above, you can grow this plant as a perennial.
Living Rock Cactus
Also known as Lithops, living stone, or the living rock cacti, these plants are certainly strange.
Hailing from South Africa, these plants are commonly grown as houseplants, and in the right growing conditions, they produce daisy-like flowers, which only adds to their unique appearance.
These succulents, despite their appearance, are a great starting point for anyone wanting to get into growing plants, as they are undemanding.
Lithops require bright light, well-draining soil which doesn’t have a lot of nutrients, warmth, and only the occasional watering, every three weeks or so.
If you want to start growing lithops, they are readily available from plant nurseries. You can also grow them outside if you live somewhere consistently warm, which doesn’t get a lot of rainfall.
Lobelias are members of the Campanulaceae plant family, and hail from warm parts of the world.
There are over 400 species of lobelia, all of which are easily recognized by their beautiful flowers.
You can find them in perennial, annual and even shrub forms. Some lobelia species are sensitive to frost, and are best grown as annual plants in colder areas.
Others will weather freezing temperatures with ease, so make sure to choose a lobelia suited for your garden.
The flowers come in many forms and colors, including royal blue, dark purple, pink, and white. Some forms look completely unrelated to each other, such as Lobelia boninensis, which resembles flowers from the legume plant family, rather than the Campanula plant family.
Whatever type you go for, lobelia is sure to provide your garden with plenty of color, and it will also attract lots of pollinators.
Loosestrife (or loosestrifes) are a type of herbaceous perennial or annual, native to parts of Europe and Asia.
It has naturalized throughout the US, both through people introducing the plant, and accidentally through cargo ships.
Loosestrife is classed as an invasive weed in some states, so do check before you plant it in your own garden.
The name loosestrife comes from its loose, feathery foliage, which looks like grass.
Part of the Lythraceae plant family, loosestrife is easily recognizable by its square stems, short foliage, and flower spikes which produce starry flowers in white, pink, and purple.
While they are typically found growing near sources of water, they will withstand some drought when planted in your own garden.
The lotus is one of the oldest flowering plants on earth, dating back over 100 million years.
This plant belongs to the Nelumbonaceae family, and also goes by the names sacred lotus, Indian lotus, and Nelumbo nucifera.
It’s often confused with the water lily, which comes from the Nymphaeaceae plant family.
Lotus plants are commonly found in slow-moving waters, usually in flood plains or rivers.
Each plant is capable of reproducing both through division and through setting seed.
When it comes to the seeds, lotus plants can release a huge amount, though most are eaten by wildlife. Others germinate instantly, and some can remain viable in dry riverbeds or ponds for years.
They’re easy to grow, and while they may take up a fair amount of space, they don’t need much maintenance once established, not including the occasional division and making sure algae doesn’t stop them from flowering.
You can find seeds online, or purchase them at nurseries.
Ranging between 6 and 8 feet tall, lovage is a great perennial which produces unique, umbel flowers in different shades of green.
This plant contrasts well against more traditional ornamental plants such as dahlias and tulips, allowing you to notice the best traits of both.
The leaves are edible, resembling parsley, and smell a little like celery when crushed.
Unlike most herbs, lovage will not do well in poor soil, as it is a nutrient-hungry plant. You’ll also need to make sure you water it regularly.
It will thrive in both full sunlight and partial shade, and it can even manage in pots, if you prefer.
Love In A Mist
One of the most striking annual plants you can grow, love-in-a-mist can be sown in early spring straight into the ground. You may also know this plant as Nigella (see also Nigella Uses).
Hailing from North Africa and parts of the Mediterranean, this annual is instantly recognizable with its feathery leaves, impressive, many petaled flowers, and large seed pods.
While they are easy plants to grow, they do need well-draining soil, and a sunny position in order to thrive.
They are the perfect addition to any mixed bed or border, filling in the bare spaces between perennials.
Love Lies Bleeding
Forming a well-known part of the Amaranth plant family, love lies bleeding is also known as Amaranthus caudatus.
While it hails from parts of Central America, it is grown all over the world for its unique, clustered flowers which hang like tassels from the plant.
Love lies bleeding is an annual plant, so if you want more dramatic displays in your garden after it has finished flowering, you’ll need to buy another plant or sow more seeds.
Lungwort, or pulmonaria, comes from the Borage plant family, Boraginaceae, hailing from Europe and parts of Western and Central Asia.
You can easily recognize a lungwort, or pulmonaria by the light spots on the leaves of the plant, as well as the tubular flowers.
Most lungwort plants are herbaceous perennials, though you do get some which are evergreen, too.
In the past, because of the spotted leaves, it was believed that pulmonaria could help treat lung disease, as it was thought that the leaves bore a resemblance to diseased lungs.
This is where the name lungwort comes from.
Pulmonaria plants flower during spring, in shades of pink, purple, and white, among others.
They are great plants for providing long lasting foliage and structure into any garden, the deciduous types only losing their leaves in the last few weeks of winter, allowing for new growth to emerge.
As they vary in height, some types of pulmonaria are better for ground cover in dappled shade, helping to suppress weeds.
Lupins are grown all over the world as ornamental plants, admired both for their towering clusters of flowers in various shades, and their unique leaves.
Lupins add a wealth of color into any garden, with flowers usually featuring two different colors, though they may also be one solid color, available in shades such as pink, white, blue, purple, yellow, and red.
These flowers are great for any vases or as gifts, and if you cut them early enough, you may see a second flush.
These beautiful plants are also great at bringing more bumblebees into your garden, which not only helps support the pollinators, but also the health of your garden.
Lupins will do well in full sunlight or dappled shade, as long as you give them constantly moist, well-draining soil.
It’s worth noting that young lupins are very vulnerable to slugs, snails, and rabbits, so keep an eye on them!
A lovely shrub, fothergilla blooms in warm shades of yellow, orange, and red, depending on the variety you go for.
It’s a slow-growing plant, so don’t expect it to fill out any gaps quickly.
What it lacks in growth rate, it makes up for in its robust nature. It can weather dry spells or even wet conditions with ease, making it a good option for tricky gardens.