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The 18 Best Plants for Cottage Gardens

These romantic plants are must-haves for a romantic cottage-style garden.

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    • Bellflower

      This tough perennial produces spikes of white or blue blooms in early and midsummer. Like most cottage garden plants, the flowers are great for cutting.

      Name: Campanula percisifolia

      Growing conditions: Full sun or part shade and well-drained soil

      Height: To 3 feet tall

      Zones: 3-8, depending on variety

    • Columbine

      Easy to grow and beautiful, columbine blooms in spring and early summer. The colorful blooms are loved by hummingbirds and gardeners alike.

      Name: Aquilegia varieties

      Growing conditions: Part shade and well-drained soil

      Height: To 3 feet tall

      Zones: 3-9, depending on variety

    • Coralbells

      In spring and early summer, coralbells produce sprays of pink, red, or white flowers. These flowers are a top choice of hummingbirds.

      Name: Heuchera varieties

      Growing conditions: Part shade and well-drained soil

      Height: To 3 feet tall

      Zones: 4-8

    • Daisy

      Daisies offer a simplistic beauty that works well in any cottage garden. Their bright white blooms with sunny yellow centers are perfect for beds and borders, as well as vases.

      Name: Leucanthemum varieties

      Growing conditions: Full sun to part shade and well-drained soil

      Height: To 3 feet tall

      Zones: 4-8

    • Dame's Rocket

      A beautiful, old-fashioned annual, dame's rocket produces phlox-like clusters of lavender or white flowers in late spring. The flowers are delightfully fragrant.

      Name: Hesperis matronalis

      Growing conditions: Full sun or part shade and well-drained soil

      Height: To 4 feet tall

      Zones: 4-9, depending on variety

      Note: This plant can be invasive in some regions. Check local restrictions before planting.

    • Delphinium

      Producing stately spires in shades of purple, blue, pink, and white, delphiniums are about as regal as garden flowers come. Unfortunately, taller types need staking to protect them from wind but they're well worth this bit of extra work.

      Name: Delphinium varieties

      Growing conditions: Full sun or part shade and well-drained soil

      Height: 1-6 feet tall, depending on variety

      Zones: 3-7, depending on variety

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    • Dianthus

      Filling cottage gardens with their sweet scents, dianthus varieties also offer pretty blooms in shades of pink, red, and white.

      Name: Dianthus varieties

      Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

      Height: To 2 feet tall

      Zones: 3-10, depending on variety

    • Foxglove

      This woodland biennial reliably produces beautiful upright spikes of bell-shape flowers in shades of purple, pink, and white. Note: While most common foxgloves are biennial, they often self seed and appear each year in the garden.

      Name: Digitalis varieties

      Growing conditions: Partial sun and moist, well-drained soil

      Height: 2-6 feet tall, depending on variety

      Zones: 3-8, depending on variety

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      Hollyhock

      Among the tallest of perennials, hollyhocks bear flower spikes up to 8 feet tall. They bloom in a wide range of shades -- from nearly black to red, purple, yellow, and white.

      Name: Alcea rosea

      Growing conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

      Height: 4-8 feet tall, depending on variety

      Zones: 3-9

    • 11 of 20

      Hydrangea

      A shrub of incomparable beauty, hydrangeas produce large clusters of pink, blue, or white flowers in early summer. They're great for cutting, if you can bear to take them out of your garden.

      Name: Hydrangea macrophylla

      Growing conditions: Partial sun and moist, well-drained soil

      Height: To 6 feet tall

      Zones: 6-9

    • 12 of 20

      Iris

      Iris offer stunning blooms (many are wonderfully fragrant) that come in a rainbow of colors and sizes. Our favorites are the Siberian types with their grassy leaves and graceful flowers.

      Name: Iris varieties

      Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

      Height: 3 feet tall

      Zones: 4-9

    • 13 of 20

      Lavender

      A beautifully ornamental herb, lavender bears fragrant foliage and flowers. The blooms typically appear in shades of violet and white and are wonderful for drying and using in sachets and other craft projects.

      Name: Lavandula varieties

      Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

      Height: 1-2 feet tall

      Zones: 5-8, depending on variety

    • 14 of 20

      Lady's Mantle

      This great perennial offers sprays of chartreuse blooms perfect for cutting. The foliage is wonderful, too, especially when it catches early morning dewdrops.

      Name: Alchemilla mollis

      Growing conditions: Part shade and well-drained soil

      Height: 1-2 feet tall

      Zones: 4-7

    • 15 of 20

      Peony

      With their petal-packed blooms, peonies are some of the most romantic plants. They not only look great, but they bear a wonderful fragrance. And they're virtually pest free and quite drought tolerant.

      Name: Paeonia varieties

      Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

      Height: To 5 feet tall, depending on variety

      Zones: 3-8, depending on variety

    • 16 of 20

      Perennial Geranium

      There are a wealth of geraniums perfect for cottage gardens. 'Johnson's Blue' is among the most common; it offers beautiful blue-purple flowers in early summer.

      Name: Geranium 'Johnson's Blue'

      Growing conditions: Full sun or part shade and well-drained soil

      Height: To 18 inches tall

      Zones: 4-8

    • 17 of 20

      Phlox

      One of the most brilliant plants of the late-summer garden, phlox produces stunning clusters of white, pink, lavender, and red blooms that bear a delightful fragrance.

      Name: Phlox paniculata

      Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

      Height: To 4 feet, depending on variety

      Zones: 3-8

    • 18 of 20

      Sweet William

      Another biennial that typically self-seeds, sweet William produces beautiful clusters of fragrant blooms in early summer. They're great for cutting, and they attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

      Name: Dianthus barbatus

      Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

      Height: To 2 feet tall

      Zones: 3-9, depending on variety

    • 19 of 20

      Violet

      With their edible and fragrant blooms, violets are among the most charming flowers for the cottage garden. These cool-weather lovers start in spring and often bloom again in fall.

      Name: Viola varieties

      Growing conditions: Partial to full shade and well-drained soil

      Height: To 1 foot tall

      Zones: 4-8, depending on variety

    • 20 of 20
      Next Slideshow Small Garden Ideas

      Small Garden Ideas

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      Begin Slideshow »

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