7 Best Plants for Small Garden to Maximize Your Space

best plants for small garden

Having small plants in a small garden is a great idea for several reasons. Small plants take up less space, allowing you to cultivate a greater variety within a limited area. This can help create a denser, more lush garden without the risk of overcrowding.

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Smaller plants generally require less maintenance than larger ones. Small plants can offer a variety of textures. You can experiment with different designs, such as vertical gardening or intricate patterns, that might not be possible with larger plants.

These factors make small plants particularly suitable for small gardens, creating a delightful, manageable, and sustainable green space.

1. Lily turf

what to plant in a small garden

Lily Turf is a genus of broadleaf, evergreen, clump-forming perennials in the Asparagaceae or asparagus family. Lilyturf is used in a variety of landscape settings, along slopes to prevent erosion, for edging, rock gardens, containers, woodland settings, or as a ground cover.

The root is antiinflammatory, antiallergic, aphrodisiac, pectoral, and stimulant. It is used as a tonic in Korea to increase stamina and also as an expectorant. It is not uncommon for extravagant salads to tempt you with exotic-looking lily flowers – because most lily species are edible.

Only the stem should not be eaten. Lily turf, Liriope muscari, grows best in well-drained soil in partial to full shade. It is tolerant of dry areas, so it will suit trickier spots under trees and shrubs.

2. Orchid Frost lamium

small plants for garden

Orchid Frost” lamium, also known as Lamium maculatum, is a groundcover plant admired for its ornamental qualities and low maintenance. This variety features silvery leaves with a narrow green edge, creating a striking contrast. From spring to summer, it produces light purple flowers that resemble small orchids, which add a gentle splash of color to shady garden spots.

It’s valued not only for its appearance but also for its ability to thrive in shaded areas where other plants might struggle. This makes it a popular choice for gardeners looking to beautify less sunny areas of their landscapes. It looks great in containers or hanging baskets.

It adds brightness to low-light areas. It was used in traditional medicines for decades in Europe, China, and Japan during times of famine. Different aerial parts of this plant are edible and traditionally used as raw or cooked food in some countries. It grows well in most moist but well-draining soils. Do not allow it to dry out over extended periods of heat.

3. Allium Serendipity

The Allium ‘Serendipity’ is a popular ornamental plant, part of the onion family, known for its attractive spherical clusters of small, star-shaped, rosy-purple flowers. These bloom in mid to late summer and are held atop sturdy stems. The foliage of ‘Serendipity’ is also notable—it’s bluish-green and forms a compact, upright clump that is roughly 15 to 20 inches tall.

This variety is often praised for its ability to attract pollinators like bees and butterflies while being resistant to deer and rabbits. It’s an excellent choice for adding vertical interest to borders, garden beds, and containers. The economically most important Allium crop species (common onion and garlic) are used worldwide as spices, vegetables, and medicinal plants. Traditionally, they play a very important role in the daily diet also in Asia.

Allium thrives in full sun but can tolerate part-shade conditions. Soil: A well-drained soil is the most important condition for allium, as bulbs may rot if left in wet soil. The average soil of most garden beds is kept moist but not wet, which is generally fine.

4. Snowcap shasta daisy

plants for small gardens

The Snowcap Shasta Daisy, known botanically as Leucanthemum × superbum ‘Snowcap,’ is a perennial plant popular for its bright, cheerful white petals surrounding a vibrant yellow center. It’s a compact variety of Shasta daisy, noted for its uniform growth and abundant blooms that make it a favorite in gardens.

These daisies are not only attractive but also quite hardy, thriving in a range of conditions and often used in borders, containers, or as cut flowers due to their long-lasting nature. Shasta daisies are used in mixed perennial borders. Their eye-catching, clean white flowers brighten up any flower bed or border. They are effective in masses, small groups, and as singles.

The cut flowers last several days. It thrives in average, well-drained soils and does not tolerate poorly drained, soggy soils. Water regularly in the first growing season to establish a root system. Once established, reduce frequency; tolerate moderate drought. Shasta daisy bloom time ranges from early summer to early fall.

5. Caramel Coral Bells

best plants for small garden

Their extreme tolerance to drought, heat, and humidity makes the coral bells one of the most versatile species out there. They’re also resistant to most foliar diseases and pests, which means they’re generally low maintenance and don’t require extensive use of chemicals.

Commonly called coral bells in reference to this old-fashioned species’ showy, sweetly fragrant, deep pink to red bell-shaped flowers, which appear in late spring and can last through early summer (May-July). The flowers are a nectar source for bees and hummingbirds.

Coral bells like well-drained soils that are rich in organic matter. Coral bells are exceptionally easy to care for; no matter your skill level, every gardener will be able to enjoy the beautiful foliage of ‘Caramel.’

6. Leaf Lettuce

best plants for small garden

Leaf lettuce is a type of lettuce known for its loose, leafy heads and tender, mild leaves. Red leaf lettuce is a highly nutritious food. It’s especially rich in antioxidants and vitamins A and K. Additionally, it may help lower blood pressure, aid weight loss, and boost heart health.

Red leaf lettuce can easily be added to your favorite salads or sandwiches for extra flavor and nutrients. Lettuce is an excellent source of beta-carotene (vitamin A), which is needed for healthy skin, bones, and eyes.

Lettuce is a fair source of folate, which is needed for healthy cells and the healthy growth of babies during pregnancy in order to prevent neural tube defects. Store lettuce in the fridge. Wash lettuce leaves before eating. Lettuce is usually eaten raw.

7. Thai Basil

small garden plants

Thai basil, known scientifically as Ocimum basilicum var. thyrsiflora, is a variety of basil native to Southeast Asia. Thai basil’s sturdy leaves retain structure and flavor even when cooked. That means that it can be added fresh as a garnish to provide an herbaceous kick, but it can also be added during the cooking process to infuse the whole dish with its aroma.

It’s characterized by its aromatic, slightly spicy flavor, which has hints of licorice and cloves. Thai basil is distinguished by its purple stems and narrow leaves, and it plays a crucial role in many Thai dishes, such as green curry, spicy basil chicken, and pad krapow.

The herb is not only prized for its culinary uses but also for its potential medicinal properties, including anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. It needs 6-8 hours of direct sun a day, so it gets a lot of light and 1 inch of water every week.


Having the best plants for a small garden is beneficial. In a small garden, choosing plants that are well-suited to limited space can help ensure that the garden feels lush and full without becoming overcrowded. Compact and dwarf plant varieties, for instance, maintain a manageable size and still provide visual impact.

For those looking to beautify their small space gardens, choosing the right compact plants is key. Compact varieties like cherry tomatoes and hot peppers not only fit neatly into tight spaces but also thrive in sunny spots, making them perfect for container gardening.

Climbing vines and bush varieties that grow vertically are excellent for maximizing vertical space in garden beds. Deep green foliage, along with plants that can be used for dried flowers, adds visual interest and utility. By focusing on plants that are well-suited to small spaces and can reach up to a few feet tall, gardeners can create a lush, productive garden even in the most compact areas.

Johan Perez
Johan Perez is an experienced agriculturalist with over twenty years in the field. He holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences and has contributed extensively to research on sustainable farming practices. Johan has also written for numerous agricultural periodicals, offering expert advice on farming technologies and methods. In his free time, he enjoys outdoor adventures, which often inform his professional insights into ecological agriculture.

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