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16 Plant Favorites for a Picture-Perfect Cottage Garden

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with choosing the perfect plants for your charming cottage garden, you’re not alone. Selecting the right plants is key to creating the beautiful cottage-style outdoor setting you’ve been dreaming of. I’ll be sharing my top plant favorites that are guaranteed to bring you the picture-perfect cottage garden you’ve always dreamed of.

From vibrant blooms to delicate foliage, each plant on this list will add a touch of enchantment to your cottage garden.

greenhouse and dahlias in the cut flower garden

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I’m a self-taught hobby gardener, not a Master Gardener. Everything I share with you on my blog is my personal opinion and things that have worked for me.

hydrangeas and phlox in the garden path

A cottage garden is a whimsical style of gardening with a carefree and more informal vibe. It’s a garden design that embraces an abundance of flowering plants, herbs, and vegetables.

The goal of a cottage garden is to create a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere, similar to a cozy cottage setting. It often features a mix of colors, textures, and fragrances, with plants arranged in a carefree manner to create a natural and enchanting feeling.

With its lush blooms, winding pathways, and rustic elements like picket fences and arbors, a cottage garden style is a timeless and peaceful haven.

vintage bike and basket with summer flowers

Choosing the right plants is essential when creating your own cottage garden. By carefully selecting the plants you will grow in your cottage-style garden, you can transform your garden into a captivating and thriving outdoor haven.

Here are some of the reasons why choosing the right plants is important.

Each plant brings its unique colors, textures, and shapes, which contribute to the visual mood of the space.

By carefully choosing plants that complement each other, you can create a harmonious and stunning design.

white dahlia with yellow center and bee pollinating

Select plants with varied blooming seasons, heights, and growth habits for a continuous display of colors and textures.

Diverse plants add visual interest and support a thriving ecosystem with habitats for beneficial insects and birds.

Choose the right plants for your garden conditions such as sunlight exposure, soil type, and moisture levels. Picking compatible plants improves their chances of thriving and reduces maintenance requirements.

Choosing native or low-maintenance plants helps conserve water, reduces chemical use, and promotes local biodiversity.

Discover a variety of cottage garden plants that add a charming cottage garden look. From classic favorites to whimsical blooms, these plants will breathe life into your garden.

When you’re looking for flowers that will bring beauty and charm to a cottage garden, roses are always top of mind.

Their timeless elegance and romantic blooms make them a perfect fit for this style of gardening. With countless varieties available, you can choose from climbing roses cascading over arbors and fences, shrub roses that fill the garden with a burst of color, or delicate English roses with their old-world charm.

When it comes to creating a whimsical cottage garden, foxgloves are a fabulous choice. These enchanting biennial or perennial plants add a touch of charm with their elegant spires and bell-shaped flowers.

Foxgloves come in a variety of colors including shades of pink, purple white, and even bi-colored blooms. Their tall flower stalks rise above the foliage, adding vertical interest.

Pollinators are attracted to foxglove. making them beneficial for the overall health of the garden ecosystem.

yellow black-eyed Susans and daisies

Black-eyed Susans, with their cheerful golden blooms and Daisylike appearance, are a wonderful addition to any cottage garden.

These versatile and low-maintenance perennials bring a burst of vibrant color and a touch of rustic charm to your garden. Their bright yellow petals with contrasting dark centers create a striking visual impact.

Black-eyed Susans thrive in diverse soil conditions, making them a reliable choice for all gardeners. They also attract pollinators like butterflies and bees, contributing to a healthy and thriving ecosystem in the garden.

With their long blooming window, these resilient tall plants bring a gorgeous pop of color throughout the summer months. Whether planted in borders, mixed beds, or wildflower meadows, black-eyed Susans are a great choice for a cottage look.

greenhouse with lavender

When you think of this fragrant and versatile herb, relaxation and tranquility come to mind, making lavender a perfect fit for creating a serene and soothing atmosphere in your garden.

The distinctive scent of lavender acts as a natural repellent for pests like mosquitoes and flies. Its aromatic allure also attracts pollinators.

Lavender’s slender, silvery foliage adds a lovely contrast to the vibrant blooms that appear in shades of purple, pink, and white. Lavender brings rustic elegance and undeniable beauty to the cottage garden, whether in rows, borders, or scattered throughout.

Coneflowers, also known as Echinacea, are a good choice for any cottage garden. They not only bring in a brilliant burst of color but are perfect plants for attracting pollinators like butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects with their vibrant blooms.

These gorgeous perennials feature striking daisy-like flowers with cone-shaped centers. They come in a variety of colors, including shades of pink, purple, white, and orange.

Coneflowers are low-maintenance plants that can thrive in a variety of soil conditions, making them ideal for cottage gardens. They have a long flowering season, providing continuous blooms from summer to fall, and their seed heads offer winter interest in the garden.

These tall perennials with their stunning, saucer-shaped flowers are a favorite amongst gardeners for their ability to create a charming and nostalgic atmosphere.

With their towering presence. hollyhocks add vertical interest to the garden, creating a sense of old-fashioned charm. Whether planted against a wall, along fences, or as a backdrop to lower-growing plants, hollyhocks are a perfect touch to the cottage garden.

When it comes to traditional cottage garden plants sweet peas are a true favorite. These delicate and fragrant climbers are renowned for their charming blooms and captivating scent.

Sweet peas are dainty flowers that appear in clusters and offer a wide range of colors, including soft pastels, vibrant pinks, and rich purples, allowing you to create a whimsical and romantic display in your garden.

Whether cascading along trellises, climbing over arches, or growing along fences, sweet peas bring an old-fashioned charm to the cottage garden and are one of the best plants for a whimsical and charming outdoor summer space.

With its stunning clusters of fragrant flowers, phlox is an exceptional choice for a cottage garden. These versatile perennials come in a variety of shades, including pinks, purples, whites, and blues.

The abundant blooms of phlox create a charming and romantic feel, creating the essence of a traditional cottage garden. Their blooms are a favorite for pollinators like bees and butterflies.

Whether used as a backdrop or in mixed plantings, phlox flowers bring beauty and a touch of nostalgia to the cottage garden, making them a perfect choice for cottage-style plantings.

Hydrangeas are a stunning choice for a cottage garden, adding a touch of beauty and charm with their large and lush flower clusters. These versatile flowering shrubs are known for their stunning blooms, which can range in colors from vivid blues and purples to soft pinks and whites.

Their blooms are not only captivating but also provide long-lasting interest throughout the summer months. Hydrangeas are also known for their ability to adapt to different garden styles, whether it’s a formal border or a more relaxed setting.

With the ability to thrive in partial shade, hydrangeas make a perfect choice for cottage gardens with dappled sunlight. Their stunning shrubs attract pollinators and butterflies, contributing to a vibrant and lively garden ecosystem.

Hydrangeas also make excellent cut flowers for floral arrangements and are easy to dry and use in your home decor.

This low-maintenance perennial comes in a wide range of colors, including vibrant oranges, yellows, pinks, and purples, adding a splash of color to the garden.

With their trumpet-shaped flowers and slender, arching foliage, daylilies’ extended blooms are a reliable choice for a cottage garden setting. Each flower lasts only a day but the plant produces multiple buds to ensure continuous display through the season.

Daylilies are known for their adaptability, thriving in various soil types and tolerating different light conditions, making them a strong option for different areas in the garden. They are low-maintenance, making them ideal for busy gardeners.

These cheerful blooms with their dainty petals and sunny yellow centers, bring a touch of innocence and charm to the garden.

Daisies are incredibly versatile and can be used in various ways, from filling flower beds and borders to brightening up flower containers.

These low-maintenance perennials can thrive in different soil conditions, making them an excellent choice for cottage gardeners at all skill levels. If you want to grow a truly enchanting cottage garden, don’t forget to include these delightful and timeless beauties.

When it comes to choosing flowers for a cottage garden, irises are among the best choices. Stunning and vibrant colors range from deep purples and blues to soft pinks and yellows, irises make a striking statement in cottage garden beds and borders. Their distinctive sword-like foliage adds visual interest even when the flowers are not in bloom.

Irises are also incredibly versatile, with different varieties blooming at different times, ensuring a prolonged flowering season. These beautiful blooms will attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden.

Whether you choose tall bearded irises or Siberian Irises, these flowers are sure to create a captivating cottage garden display that will leave a lasting impression on anyone who visits.

These charming flowers have a whimsical and carefree nature that perfectly complements the cottage garden style. Cosmos are versatile and can be planted in masses or mixed with other cottage garden flowers.

With their delicate and feathery foliage, and their wide range of colors including shades of pink, white, and deep burgundy, cosmos add a touch of beauty and grace to any garden bed. Pollinators such as bees, and butterflies love cosmo flowers.

These delightful blooms come in a variety of colors, including bright oranges, pinks, yellows, and purple, adding a burst of cheerful views to your garden beds.

Zinnias are known for their long-lasting flowers, ensuring a continuous display of beauty throughout the summer season. Tall stems make them an excellent choice for creating stunning cut flower arrangements, bringing the beauty of the garden indoors.

These summer annuals are easy to grow from seeds and are incredibly resilient, thriving in full sun and tolerating various soil conditions. Their attractiveness to butterflies and bees also adds to the overall charm of a cottage garden

Known for its show-stopping blooms and vigorous climbing nature, clematis adds vertical interest and a touch of elegance to any garden space.

With a wide variety of colors, from vibrant purples and blues to soft pinks and whites, clematis offers endless possibilities for creating stunning focal points on trellises, arbors, or fences. With proper care and pruning, clematis can thrive for many years.

Whether you choose a compact variety for container gardening or a vigorous climber for vertical displays, clematis is undoubtedly one of the best flowers to grow for an enchanting cottage garden.

whites and purple dahlia

With their stunning and diverse range of colors, shapes, and sizes, dahlias bring an abundance of beauty and charm to any garden space. These gorgeous blooms can be found in vibrant hues of red, pink, yellow, orange, and even exotic bi-color combinations.

From the dinner plate-sized varieties to the smaller pom-pom or cactus-shaped ones, dahlias offer a wide array of options to suit every gardener’s personal taste. Their long-lasting blooms make them perfect for cut flower arrangements, adding a touch of elegance to your indoor spaces.

Dahlias are relatively easy to grow and care for, making them a wonderful choice for cottage garden enthusiasts of all skill levels. Whether you plant them in flower beds, borders, or containers, dahlias will surely become a stunning focal point in your cottage garden, even attracting butterflies and bees.

light pink cosmos with bees
white lavender

Early summer is a key time for a cottage garden. You’ll need plants that can thrive in full sun and well-drained soil. Peonies, delphiniums, and lavender are three excellent choices. Peonies have large, showy flowers in a range of colors, while delphiniums produce tall spikes of blue, pink, or purple flowers.

Lavender not only looks beautiful, but it also has a lovely scent and can be used for cooking or crafting.

white phlox

Partial shade areas can be tricky to plant, but many plants thrive in these conditions. For a classic cottage garden look, consider white flowers.

Hydrangeas, lilies, and phlox are all great options. Hydrangeas have large blooms that change color depending on soil acidity, while lilies have trumpet-shaped flowers in white, pink, or yellow. Phlox has clusters of white or pink flowers and is easy to grow.

black-eyed Susans

Low-maintenance plants are ideal for a cottage garden. Black-eyed susans and daylilies are two great options that will thrive throughout the growing season. Black-eyed Susans have bright yellow or orange petals and a black center, while daylilies have trumpet-shaped flowers in a variety of colors. Both of these plants have green leaves that add texture to a garden.

yellow coneflowers

Late summer is another important time in a cottage garden. Coreopsis, rudbeckia (black-eyed Susans), and echinacea (coneflower) are three additional plants that thrive in late summer.

Coreopsis has yellow or pink flowers, rudbeckia has golden petals with a black center, and echinacea has pink or purple daisy-like flowers, as well as white, red, and yellow varieties.

purple and fuchsia sweet peas in the cottage garden

You don’t need a large space to create a charming cottage garden. Sweet peas thrive in small spaces and produce great-cut flowers. They have delicate flowers in a range of colors that will grow vertically on a trellis or arbor and don’t need much space to grow.

Grow sweet peas along a white picket fence, which is a classic element of a cottage-style garden.

greenhouse and cottage style garden flowers

Creating a charming cottage garden is easier than you might think. By selecting the right plants and taking care of them properly, you can achieve a beautiful garden that’s full of color and texture.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, there’s a cottage garden style that’s right for you.

If you have any questions or additional suggestions, feel free to share them in the comments below. And be sure to share this blog post link with anyone who may find these gardening tips useful.

Until next time,

Happy Gardening!

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  1. I too love your home and garden and shed. Question or advice, I currently have hard rock dirt in my flower beds (new old home), previous owners left me a bit of mess. Can’t remove all dirt but what can I do? My lavender & calla Lillie’s grow well but want other flowers.
    Appreciate any feedback. I’m in Snohomish so also deal with sugar ants! Lol

    Thank you

  2. Your home is so beautiful you are a very talented person. I really enjoy and look forward to your articles on Sundays.

    1. Hi Amy!
      Thank you for the most wonderful compliment. I’m so happy to have you following along. Hope you’re having a great week!

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