Dianthus deltoides, or Maiden Pink, is a lovely perennial carnation, which stays fairly compact at 30cm tall.
It produces showy, deep pink flowers, and will thrive in acidic, neutral, or slightly alkaline soil.
It’s also a fairly hardy choice, making it a great planting choice for solid color which will come back year after year, despite frosts.
Maiden Pink will thrive in full sunlight, in soil that drains well. You can also use it for containers, if you prefer.
Part of the Arctostaphylos plant family, translating roughly to ‘bear bunch of grapes’, manzanitas are evergreen shrubs and trees which come from western parts of North America and Mexico.
These plants are tough, surviving in very poor soil with little irrigation.
They make great statements in large gardens, where their orange or red bark is able to stand out among the twisting branches, and lime green foliage.
Their evergreen leaves are highly valued in gardens which don’t get a lot of rainfall, and you can also get them in smaller forms which are suitable for ground cover.
The berries of a manzanita tree are edible, and can also be used to add sweet notes to dishes.
Forming the Tagetes genus, marigolds are wonderful plants which hail from the Americas. Some types have naturalized across warmer parts of the world.
It’s worth noting that the common name, marigold, can refer to other plant groups, too.
Tagetes erecta is one of the most common species, known as the Mexican marigold, featuring finely-leaved plants with globular flowers in warm shades, each petal featuring a ruffled edge.
Marigolds from the Tagetes genus aren’t very fussy when it comes to soil type, as long as the soil drains well, and they get plenty of moisture.
These marigolds make the perfect cut flower, available in burgundy, red, yellow, and orange, or sometimes a combination.
The type you go for will dictate the height, which may be anywhere from 60cm to 120cm tall.
These annual and perennial plants are sun-lovers, so make sure you plant them in a sunny position. Regularly deadhead any dying flowers to prolong the blooming period.
Also known as Caltha Palustris, the marsh marigold or kingcup plant is a lovely perennial which comes from the buttercup plant family.
It’s not difficult to see the resemblance, with the sunshine-yellow flowers that this plant produces.
As the name suggests, the marsh marigold likes constantly wet soil, and can be found in the wild in marshes and wet woodland areas.
This is an interesting plant, because while it dies back during fall, the new buds will stick near the surface of the boggy soil.
Plants with this trait are called Cryptophytes, where the buds rest underneath the soil but close to the surface, and those that live in boggy or wet soil which do this are called Helophytes.
Because of this trait, it is a fairly hardy plant, staying a perennial in USDA zones 3 through to 7.
The marsh marigold will survive in both a fully sunny position and partial shade, as long as the soil is constantly wet.
The flowers appear in the last few weeks of March into the start of April, and make the perfect border plant for ponds, rivers, or fountains.
Part of the cacti plant family, the Matucana genus is endemic to Peru, and there’s about 20 different species to choose from.
A Matucana cactus forms a small column, featuring some spines. The color of the leaves, and how many spines the plant has depends on what type you go for.
It’s worth knowing that some species belonging to this genus are threatened due to over collection, so you need to be careful where you source your plants from, otherwise you may do more harm than good.
Most Matucana species are compact, only reaching a maximum of 30cm tall.
Because these striking cacti are only hardy in zones 9 through to 11, they are also grown as houseplants.
The species will dictate flower color. Matucana aureiflora produces bright yellow flowers, and Matucana madisoniorum flowers in shades of orange or red.
These striking plants are very easy to grow, best planted in a container, in the brightest and warmest position possible.
Helianthus maximiliani or the Maximilian sunflower is a wonderful perennial which is sure to provide your garden with a wealth of cheery lemon flowers.
These flowers are much smaller than you would expect from a sunflower, but what they lack in bloom size, they make up for in the number of flowers these plants produce.
Depending on where you grow them, these beautiful plants can range in height anywhere from 3 to 10 feet tall, spreading between 2 and 4 feet wide.
It’s not a sunflower which is suited to smaller beds or containers, as it likes to spread out. This plant is also valued for its ability to attract plenty of wildlife into your garden, including bees and butterflies.
The Maximilian sunflower will bloom in the last few weeks of summer, easily carrying through into fall, usually lasting about six weeks.
Known as creeping mazus, Mazus reptans, is a creeping plant which is often used as a ground cover in wet soil.
It’s a fast-growing perennial which has a mat-forming growth habit.
While it grows quickly, it’s not considered invasive, but you may want to plant it at the edges of borders, where barriers such as large rocks or walls will stop it spreading to places you don’t want it to grow.
Creeping mazus is perfect for rock gardens, as well as softening the spaces between stepping stones, as it will weather some foot traffic without problems.
It hails from the Himalayas, growing just under 6 inches tall. In both spring and summer, creeping mazus produces purple, blue, or white flowers, with splashes of white and dots on the flowers.
Persicaria bistorta, common bistort, European bistort, or meadow bistort is a lovely plant which, while not native to the US, has naturalized in many parts.
It’s easy to mistake this plant for Bistorta vivipara, which is the native bistort species. You can tell the difference in the size of the inflorescence, as meadow bistort is much bigger.
The native bistort is also an alpine species, only found in the wild in places above 1,000 meters.
This bistort comes from the dock plant family, Polygonaceae, and it’s also known as snakeweed or Easter-ledges.
This striking perennial can grow to a maximum of 80cm tall, though some species will stay fairly compact at 20cm.
Meadow bistort produces a tall inflorescence of flowers in a soft pink, usually in May and June.
This plant can be found in damp meadows, fields, and even along roadsides.
In the North of England, it goes by the name pudding dock, as it was a key ingredient in an Easter dessert.
Forming part of the Thalictrum genus, meadow rue is a versatile perennial.
This plant is suitable for cutting gardens, container gardens, and also holds its own in gardens which suffer from rabbit problems.
Meadow rue is a great plant to fill in large gaps in your garden, and has an extended blooming period, providing your garden with a plethora of lavender all the way through summer.
While the plant looks fairly delicate both in terms of its stems and its flowers, this is a strong plant which will hold its own in windy gardens.
It’s a hardy plant in zones 3 through to 8, although you could treat it as a summer annual in colder parts.
To add plenty of height into any border or rockery, meadow sage should be on your grow-list somewhere.
This perennial produces deep purple to blue flowers, thriving in full sunlight and well-draining soil. You can get this striking plant in light pink, too.
You may also see it labeled under Salvia pratensis, and this plant makes a statement in any garden, acting as a perennial in zones 4 through to 8.
It helps that meadow sage is a plant perfect for beginners, as it is easy to grow, and will tolerate some drought, too.
Depending on how much room you have, your meadow sage may reach between 3 and 5 feet tall.
It’s worth mentioning that some states consider it a weed, and it has been banned due to its adaptable nature, capable of naturalizing easily.
It can withstand temperatures as low as -4°F (or -20°C).
Known as the melon cactus, or the Turk’s cap cactus, this plant has unique flowers which are shaped like hats, appearing on the top of the spined cactus.
The Melocactus genus comprises roughly 40 different species, some hailing from Mexico, the Caribbean, and parts of Brazil.
Like all cacti, melocactus plants don’t require a lot of watering, and as long as you give them freely draining soil and full sunlight, these plants are easy to look after.
Once the flowers have finished, this cactus also produces fruit, which are edible.
Mexican Fire Barrel Flowers
Ferocactus Pilosus, or the Mexican fire barrel cactus, is perfect for gardens in USDA zones 9 to 11, or as a houseplant.
The Mexican fire barrel cactus produces yellow flowers if you give it sunlight for as long as possible.
The plant itself is capable of reaching up to 6 feet high with its sturdy columns, though this is likely to be about 60cm as a houseplant.
It’s a slow growing cactus. The spines, which cover pretty much all the columns, emerge in shades of red, slowly aging to a soft gray, and curving over the surface of the plant.
Mexican Giant Cardon Flowers
Pachycereus Pringlei, the giant cardon, or elephant cactus comes from Northwestern parts of Mexico.
It’s a slow-growing cactus and very tender, so you will need to grow it indoors unless you are lucky enough to live somewhere warm all year round.
In its natural habitat, the Mexican giant cardon can live for hundreds of years, eventually reaching an impressive height of over 32 feet tall.
Avoid placing your Mexican giant cardon cactus in humid places, and allow it to dry out in between watering.
Tithonia rotundifolia, or the Mexican sunflower, is a lovely annual plant which loves a very sunny position and well-draining soil above all else.
It provides a wealth of cheerful color in bright orange, as well as adding height to any garden during the summer, capable of reaching 6 feet high.
Mexican sunflowers are also a nice option when it comes to summer flowers in a cutting garden, as they last a long time as a cut flower.
You will need to re-sow Mexican sunflowers in spring, waiting until all risk of frost is over before moving them outside.
Pollinators love the Mexican sunflower, and it also helps that this plant will withstand deer, too.
A popular container plant, Million Bells or Calibrachoa, produces flowers in abundance, resembling petunias in a miniature form.
These lovely flowers come in many colors, some of which are striped or speckled, or even bicolored.
This plant has a vigorous growth habit, spilling over the sides of containers or border edges, also making a great plant for a hanging basket.
You may also see it labeled under trailing petunia, or the mini petunia.
It’s worth noting that Million Bells is part of the Solanaceae plant family, which is the nightshade family of plants.
As a result, you should be cautious about growing this plant if you have pets or children, as plants belonging to this family are highly toxic.
Miss Willmott’s Ghost
Eryngium giganteum, or Miss Willmott’s Ghost, is a lovely perennial sea holly. As you might guess, there’s a story behind the common name of this striking plant.
Ellen Willmott was a member of the RHS, and a horticulturalist.
She received the Victoria Medal of Honour, and it was said that she cultivated more than one hundred thousand different plants during her lifetime.
But the name behind this particular plant comes from one of her great quirks, where she always carried plant seeds in her pocket, secretly scattering them across gardens whenever she would visit.
This striking plant loves full sunlight, remaining a perennial in USDA zones 4 through to 7, in well-draining soil.
You can also dry the flowers and use them in arrangements.
Missouri Evening Primrose
Oenothera macrocarpa, Missouri evening primrose, Ozark sundrop, or the bigfruit evening primrose comes from Mexico and southern parts of the central US, where it naturally occurs in prairies and limestone rocky outcrops.
This lovely perennial can reach 30cm tall, producing red stems, dark green foliage, and bright yellow flowers.
The flowers do carry some scent, so if you want to make the most out of this plant, you could situate it near seating areas.
It’s a useful plant for rockeries (see also Moroccan Mound Succulents for another option) or poor soil which contains a lot of stone, especially in winter, if you can provide it with a sunny position.
Philadelphus, or the mock orange plant, is a great choice for any bed or border crying out for more structure and color.
These shrubs, when in flower, give off a perfume similar to orange flowers, hence the name.
The vast majority of mock-oranges are deciduous shrubs, but you can also find some species which are evergreen, if you want color throughout winter, too.
It produces pure white flowers in the last few weeks of spring into summer, and can reach just shy of 10 feet tall.
Ophiopogon japonicus, monkey grass, or mondo grass is a great ground cover plant, requiring very little from you once it has established itself into the soil.
Many use it to border paths, flower beds, or even alongside ponds or streams. It can grow anywhere between 20 and 40cm tall, and makes a perfect lawn which you won’t need to mow.
As an added bonus, mondo grass produces flowers in summer onward, with petite white or baby pink blooms.
Morning glory plants are well-suited to pet and children-free gardens, where there is no danger of the plants being ingested.
This is because morning glory plants are highly poisonous.
Morning glory plants (see also Morning Glory Varieties) are extremely vigorous growers, capable of taking over parts of your garden quickly, so you will need to keep on top of them.
Most species will produce trumpet-shaped flowers in the morning hours, which often die before sunset.
These plants have a vining habit, and some species are capable of becoming invasive and killing neighboring plants, so do your research before you plant a morning glory in your garden.
Phlox subulata, moss phlox, creeping phlox, or mountain phlox comes from the Polemoniaceae plant family, in parts of central and eastern United States.
It’s a compact plant, often used as an evergreen ground cover, reaching about 12cm tall, spreading to about 50cm wide.
Moss phlox features tiny, hairy leaves, and petite flowers which bear five petals each, in shades of pink, white, or blue.
Moss phlox blooms from the later part of spring into the first few weeks of summer, providing early color while helping to suppress weeds.
While it can be treated as ground cover, it needs to be situated at the front of a border, where it can get the most sunlight possible.
Despite its delicate appearance, moss phlox is a robust plant, and has proved hardy down to -4°F (or -20°C), perfect for USDA zones 3 through to 9.
Mother Of Thyme
Thymus serpyllum, or the mother of thyme, is a lovely perennial herb which produces masses of vivid pink flowers and buckets of fragrance.
It requires full sun and well-draining soil to do well, but other than that, mother of thyme is an undemanding plant which is perfect for beginners and seasoned gardeners alike.
This plant is a low-growing perennial, suitable for ground cover, as a border plant, or to fill containers with color.
If you’re sick of tending to your lawn, you could grow mother of thyme as a fragrant, colorful replacement, or as a living patio plant.
Centaurea montana, or mountain bluet creates drama in any garden, producing spidery flowers in shades of blue, with deep purple centers in the last few weeks of summer.
Mountain bluet prefers constantly damp soil, either in sunlight or dappled shade. It can reach up to 3 feet high, spreading about the same, and will need dividing occasionally during fall to keep the growth vigorous.
It’s suitable for gardens that fall within the USDA zones 4 through to 9.
This striking plant comes from the heath family, Ericaceae. You’ll see it labeled under Kalmia latifolia, spoonwood, or the calico-bush.
Mountain laurel hails from the eastern parts of the US, and will tolerate abuse from rabbits and deer without many problems.
This plant is a lovely evergreen, which can reach anywhere from 5 to 15 feet tall, depending on the size of your garden.
It’s suitable for gardens that fall under zones 4 through to 9, and will tolerate acidic or neutral soil which drains well.
To get the best out of a mountain laurel, grow it in full sunlight.
Artemisia vulgaris, mugwort, chrysanthemum weed, old Uncle Henry, or the naughty man plant comes from parts of Europe, Asia, Alaska, and Africa.
It has naturalized in parts of the US, and it’s worth checking before you plant mugwort, as some authorities consider it an invasive species.
It produces a ton of airy, toothed foliage, and red or pink flowers, adding both height and interest into any garden.
Mugwort has many uses, aside from its ornamental value. It’s been used to add a bitter note to ale, as a medicinal herb, incense, and as a vegetable.
Malva moschata, or musk mallow, is a low-growing perennial which produces light pink flowers with darker streaks.
These flowers look similar to a hibiscus or hollyhock, and that is no accident, as they are part of the same plant family.
Musk mallow will do well in full sunlight, providing plenty of color and fragrance during the summer.
It’s also worth noting that the flowers and leaves are edible, and many people include them in salads.
Myrtus communis, or the common myrtle plant, is a robust shrub which copes with long dry spells with ease.
Myrtle produces showy white flowers with large anthers, which are also highly fragrant.
It does well both in full sunlight and partial shade, though you will see the most flowers if you plant it in a sunny position.
Common myrtle is an evergreen shrub in zones 8 through to 10, and prefers acidic or neutral soil.
Euphorbia myrsinites is a striking plant which produces nearly neon green bracts.
Myrtle spurge is a type of euphorbia, which is unsuitable for gardens which have pets or children, as plants from this family are toxic if ingested.
Like all euphorbia plants, myrtle spurge contains a milky sap which causes skin irritation on contact.
This hardy plant will carry on in very dry soil without any problems, as well as tolerating rabbits or deer.
One thing this plant does need in order to thrive is full sunlight, where it can get to a maximum height of 8 inches tall.