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10 Annuals to Add Height in the Landscape

Taller plants are essential for making our gardens really sing.  Vertical elements in gardens help stretch the garden into a another dimension and make for a more interesting, better balanced garden.

Contributors: Kerry Meyer and Susan Martin

Adding height to garden beds and containers is a great way to add extra dimension and interest to your plantings. Tall, vertical elements draw the eye upward and adds a more expansive element to your garden. The addition of taller plants also allows more color within the same garden footprint. Additional height is great in both landscapes and containers.


Golden Butterfly® Argyranthemum

What’s not to love about daisies all summer? This cheerful marguerite daisy will bring you pure yellow blooms with a gold button center from summer through fall, and even through winter in the sunbelt states. It won’t need you to remove its spent flowers, as it’s smart enough to do that on its own, but if it grows a bit too big for your space, you can give it a light trim. Give it plenty of space to grow in a large container or planted in the garden, where it will add height . If you like Golden Butterfly, try its cousin, Pure White Butterfly. It’s equally as nice!

18-36” tall x 12-20” spread. Part sun to sun.


What’s not to love about daisies all summer? Wait, didn’t we already cover this? Vanilla Butterfly is a virtual twin to both Golden Butterfly and Pure White Butterfly, but with soft yellow flowers! So many plants these days are mounded or trailing and stay low to the ground.  Colorful, heavily blooming annuals that add height to both landscapes and containers are a precious commodity.  Butterfly Argyranthemums are a great trio to consider for your garden.

18-36” tall x 12-20” spread. Part sun to sun.

TOUCAN Coral Canna

If you love the look of tropical plants but need one that is as easy to grow as a petunia, try our Toucan Cannas. They grow quickly to make bold thrillers in your large containers and thrive in the landscape too. Their more manageable size makes them more proportional and easier to pair with other plants in combination containers. Cannas flower like crazy all summer in warm climates where they love the heat, and are grown more for their bold foliage in northernmost climates where they bloom late in the season. Toucan Coral bears tropical salmon pink flowers that attract pollinators atop its lush green foliage.

30-48” tall x 18-24” spread. Part sun to sun.

ColorBlaze® Golden Dreams

Add a little WOW! power to your containers and landscape with this outstanding coleus. Its radiant gold foliage and red venation glows from a distance as it grows vigorously to form a full, bushy clump of fantastic foliage. In lower light, it will have more extensive red coloring; in more sun it will be brighter gold. Like all ColorBlaze coleus it was bred to bloom very late or not at all, extending its garden performance into fall.  

24-34” tall x 12-16” spread. Sun or shade.


HIPPO Pink Hypoestes

Polka dot plant is getting a makeover with the new Hippo series. Named for their robust, bushy shape, their upright habit makes them perfect for use as thrillers or fillers in containers and landscapes. Use them like you would a coleus. Hippo Pink has soft pink and green spotted foliage. Polka dot plants will grow in any amount of sunlight, surviving heat and humidity with ease. They are versatile enough to grow in sunny patio pots, under the porch overhang or even in your living room.

16-22” tall x 8-14” spread. Full sun to full shade.


ROCKIN’® Deep Purple Salvia

If you want to see pollinators in your garden, plant a salvia. This new selection is more refined than its predecessors, forming a dense, bushy clump of deep green foliage topped with large, deep purple flowers with black bracts all season. Butterflies, hummingbirds and bees delight in their sweet nectar. Planting this large-sized annual is a quick way to get a lot of color in your landscape in a short amount of time. It works great as a thriller in large container combinations too. 

18-36” tall x 24-30” spread. Part sun to sun.



We’ve taken this popular super-sized salvia and made its awesome flower power even better. Bright violet blue flowers emerge from purple calyxes which hold their color after the flowers are spent, giving the illusion of being in bloom over a longer period. New flower spikes continue to emerge all season long above the bushy, bright green foliage, even in the hot, humid conditions of the deep south. This plant is the perfect thriller for large containers and a fantastic vertical element for landscapes. Pollinators will delight in its flowers from spring through fall. 

2-4’ tall x 2-3’ spread. Part sun to sun.

A-PEEL® Thunbergia

Easier to handle than most rambunctious black-eyed Susan vines, this more restrained selection is fun to use as a climbing thriller in combination containers when planted against a small trellis or grown up the wires of a hanging basket. You could also grow it in the landscape as a quick screen on chain link fences or allow it to scramble up and around your mailbox, not to mention having it climb a free-standing obelisk to add instant dimension in landscape beds.

5-8’ tall x 1.5-2’ spread. Part sun to sun.


Lemon A-PEEL® 
is dotted with clear lemon flowers with a black eye from spring through fall.

Orange A-PEEL® 
Thunbergia is dotted with bright orange flowers with a black eye from spring through fall.

Tangerine Slice A-PEEL®
Thunbergia  is dotted with bicolor orange and yellow flowers with a black eye from spring through fall.

Want to learn more about blue plants for the garden? Check out these links:

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