These are the 10 Best Filler Plants for Sparse Flowerbeds — 'They Guarantee a Fuller Looking Yard!'

Turn your lackluster backyard into a bushy oasis with these expert-recommended plants

flowers are front of house
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Flowerbeds are the jewel of any garden but, as we emerge into spring, you might find that yours are looking a little sparse. Whether your perennials are thinning out or your annual bulbs just aren't offering the flourishing foliage you'd hoped - fear not. If your beds are looking bare, we have the remedy, and it comes in the form of so-called 'filler plants'. 

Opting to fill gaps in your flowerbeds with bushy plants like shrubs, evergreens, grasses, and perennials will require little to no maintenance, and make a stunning statement in your outdoor space. For a fuller-looking backyard alive with depth, vibrancy, and variety throughout the seasons, these plants are the way to go. 

However, you'll need to select the right filler plants to cover any bare spots effectively. To help you on your quest, we've asked some gardening experts to recommend the best plants to guarantee bountiful beds filled with beautiful blooms, and here's what they had to share.

1. Alyssum

Close up of a white alyssum flower in a garden

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Alyssum is a fantastic filler for your flowerbeds as it's a low-growing annual that produces clusters of tiny, fragrant flowers. 'It's an excellent ground cover, creating a carpet of color and attracting pollinators to the garden,' says Zahid Adnan, founder of The Plant Bible.

'Alyssum is known for its ability to thrive in various soil types, and its resilience in both sunny and partially shaded areas,' says Zahid, so it's perfect for growing in any outdoor space. If you have a shady garden with bare and boring beds, consider peppering this plant around the borders for a fuller look.

2. Sedum (Stonecrop)

Sedums are versatile, drought-tolerant succulents that thrive in poor soil and full sun, so they're great for any south-facing backyard. 'Their thick, fleshy leaves come in various colors, and they bloom with star-shaped flowers in late summer to fall, attracting pollinators,' says Tony O'Neill, founder of Simplify Gardening.

With beautiful purple blooms, the flowers are known to attract bees, making them a perfect choice for wildlife gardening. '"Autumn Joy" is a popular variety that offers both beautiful foliage and robust pinkish flowers,' adds Tony.

3. Sweet potato vine

A purple sweet potato vine flower

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas) look stunning and unique, with exotic-looking foliage. They're tolerant to different growing conditions too, so they're easy to maintain in any modern garden.

'Sweet potato vines add a lush, trailing element to flowerbeds with their vibrant foliage in shades of green, purple, or variegated patterns,' says Zahid. 'They are versatile and can be used as ground cover or in hanging baskets, providing a cascading effect.' They're also relatively low-maintenance and can withstand many soil conditions, making them a popular choice for filling any gaps in flowerbeds.

4. Catmint

'With its aromatic foliage and profusion of lavender-blue flowers, catmint - also known as nepeta - is a fantastic filler for any flowerbed,' says Tony. It's easy to grow as it's highly drought-resistant - making it a great choice for dry gardens

Once established, it will bloom from early summer to fall, filling your garden with its gorgeous flowers and foliage throughout summer. 'Plus, it's a magnet for bees and butterflies, adding a lively buzz to your garden,' says Tony. 

5. Caladiums

A close up of a pink caladium in a planter

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Caladiums are one of the most popular foliage plants, and it's no surprise. With stunning, heart-shaped leaves that come in a range of colors from white and green to pink and red, they make a spectacular statement in any backyard, and a perfect flowerbed filler.

'These tropical plants thrive in shaded areas, making them ideal for bringing vibrant color to parts of the garden with less sunlight,' says Zahid. 'They're a great choice for adding a touch of drama and elegance to flowerbeds, and they can be easily grown from bulbs.' If you don't have space for them in your beds, caladiums also make a great choice for container gardening, too, so add a few of these dramatic plants to a large pot for fuller foliage on a patio or balcony. 

6. Euphorbia

Euphorbia, also known as spurge, is a striking choice of green foliage and make a beautiful feature plant. 'Euphorbias are known for their unique foliage and strikingly architectural blooms,' says Tony. 'They're incredibly easy to grow and provide a fantastic texture and color contrast in flowerbeds.' 

Tony recommends the 'Blackbird' variety of euphorbia in particular, for offering gorgeous dark purple foliage and vibrant green flowers. 'It's a standout choice for filling sparse areas,' says Tony.

7. Lantana

Lantana plant

(Image credit: Eden Garden Design/Greg Thomas)

Lantana is a versatile and hardy perennial that blooms in vibrant clusters of beautiful flowers. 'With a wide range of colors, including shades of pink, orange, yellow, and purple, lantana adds a burst of color to any garden,' says Zahid.

'It's known for its resilience and ability to attract butterflies, making it both visually appealing and beneficial for pollinators.' It's a great filler flower as it's easy to maintain, fast-growing, and known for its carefree nature, so it will fill any troublesome sparse spots. It's also a favorite pick for filling gaps within a rock garden, too. 

8. Lamium (Dead Nettle)

Lamium, better known by its more common name dead-nettle, is a ground-cover plant, making it ideal for filling flowerbeds or using as an alternative to grass seed.

'It has silver-variegated leaves and delicate flowers in shades of pink, purple, or white,' says Tony, so it looks pretty too. 'It spreads readily, covering large areas quickly, and its foliage remains attractive throughout the season, even when not in bloom.' Choose lamium to make your flowerbeds look full, forming a bright carpet of silver foliage.

9. Dwarf Fountain Grass

'Dwarf fountain grass is a compact ornamental grass that adds a graceful and feathery texture to flowerbeds,' says Zahid. 'It's burgundy or purple-toned foliage provides a unique contrast, and in late summer, it produces plume-like flowers that sway gently in the breeze.'

It's a drought-tolerant ornamental grass requiring minimal maintenance, so it's an ideal choice for anyone who isn't an experienced green thumb. Use it to fill in any gaps in your flowerbeds and add a touch of elegance to the landscape of your backyard. 

10. Ferns

dicksonia tree fern in urban courtyard

(Image credit: Fiona Lamb Design)

Finally, ferns can be an excellent choice for deeply shaded flowerbeds, where other plants won't be able to thrive. 'They provide lush green foliage with intricate textures and shapes,' says Tony. 'The Japanese Painted Fern in particular, with its silver and burgundy variegated leaves, adds a splash of color even in the darkest corners.'

All of these plants will fill any sparse flowerbeds with both lush foliage and gorgeous flowers, contributing to the overall health and biodiversity of your backyard. Time to get planting for a fuller-looking flourishing outdoor space in next to no time!

Ottilie Blackhall
Trainee Writer

Ottilie Blackhall is a master’s Magazine Journalism student at City, University of London. After graduating from the University of Edinburgh, with a degree in English Literature and History of Art, she decided to pursue her love of writing and develop her passion for writing about literature and art. Having started a book review blog during lockdown, at City she is working on her portfolio.