A well-designed bed, border or container needs a bit of everything: vibrant colours, interesting textures, and of course, variation in height. Plants that provide “airy height” bring a beautiful touch, introducing interest at height – whether that’s the eyeliner or, at the very least, above the knee. They don’t take up much space on the ground either so are often really happy in pots too.

Japanese anemone

How to use Airy Height plants

  • Balance is really important. Make sure to use these plants alongside lower-level bushier plants and shrubs to blend a variety of textures.
  • Think back. With these plants often soaring above the lower levels, it’s a good idea to plant them towards the middle and back of a bed or position them towards the middle or back of a collection of pots. Start tall at the back and work lower and lower as your approach the front of your bed or pots.
  • A bit of support. Particularly if you are in a windy area of the garden, some Airy Height plants might benefit from a bit of staking. A bamboo cane tied gently to the main stem of a taller plant can be a lifeline as it grows and strengthens.

Airy Height Dig Favourites for a Border

Thalictrum (Meadow Rue): This shade-loving perennial is a favourite of ours because of its wispy foliage and sprays of fluffy flowers in lavender, pink, or white. There are plenty of varieties to choose from ranging from dwarf varieties like Thalictrum delavayi to bigger varieties like Thalictrum rochebrunianum which provide showers of beautiful purple flowers. They work wonderfully with our Cottage theme.

Libertia: Libertia are fantastic additions on the bolder end of the Airy Height spectrum. Their grasslike foliage is complemented by strong pillars of gentle white flowers. A perfect addition to our Jungle or Classic themes.

Verbena bonariensis

Verbena bonariensis: A true attention-grabber, Verbena boasts clusters of vibrant purple flowers on tall, slender stems. It thrives in full sun and well-drained soil, reaching heights of 3-5 feet. Pair with The Cottage, The Jungle, and definitely the colourful Adventure theme.

Japanese anemone: Shade loving, naturally spreading, and a fantastic late-summer flower providing interest as everything else begins to die down. Gentle pinks and brilliant whites make Japanese anemones a lovely addition to The Cottage theme.

Cephelaria gigantea: Beloved by bees, and providing gently swaying towers of flowers Cephelaria are a lesser used but nonetheless fantastic addition to almost any sunny or partially shady border. Creamy white with interesting blooms which give a second wave of flowers if cut back after the first flowering.

Cephelaria gigantea

Airy Height Dig Favourites for Pots

Gaura lindheimeri: Gaura is a charming perennial that brings a touch of whimsy to containers. Delicate, pink or white, star-shaped flowers float above darker, wiry stems throughout summer. It’s drought-tolerant and reaches a manageable 1-2 feet in height which nonetheless moves beautifully in the breeze.

Stipa tenuissima (Mexican Feather Grass): This graceful grass adds a touch of drama to container displays. Its fine, hair-like foliage forms an airy mound that shimmers in the sunlight and flows perfectly with the wind adding gentle noise as much as visual interest. It prefers full sun and grows to about 2 feet tall.

Astrantia: Though not technically airy height, Astrantia do nicely in pots and, with the added height that larger pots will give, can provide a similar effect with their tall, structural stems and delicate pin-cushion blooms.