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Retaining walls are necessary for many yards, and they can help add a sense of structure to the landscape while improving usable space and preventing erosion. Retaining walls are typically built with attractive materials that suit the style of your yard, but sometimes they can seem a little plain or just downright dull. Adding some gorgeous plants to trail over the edges of your retaining wall is sure to give it more personality and soften those hard edges. 

There are plenty of different plants that will cascade beautifully over the edges of retaining walls, from flowers to fruits and veggies. Bring some vibrancy and personality to the hardscaping in your Quad Cities landscape with these gorgeous trailing plants.


Cascading Flowering Plants

The Best Plants For Retaining Walls


Creeping Phlox is one of those hardy perennial plants that will spread and spill beautifully over the edges of a retaining wall. Its foliage is evergreen and blossoms from mid to late summer. Garden varieties of Creeping Phlox are available in shades of pink, purple, lavender, and pale blue. 

Trailing Lobelia can technically be a perennial, but it is pretty tender, so most people grow it as an annual. It mounds up to 6 inches tall and trails over the sides of its container. It features cute, lobed blossoms. While it is available in a few different colors, the most popular color is the deep blue variation since a “true” blue is a rare color to come by in garden plants.


The Best Plants For Retaining Walls


Creeping Thyme is a low-growing perennial that forms a dense mat of tiny leaves. There are a few different varieties of ground-covering thyme, with different blossoms, leaf colors, and textures. When Creeping Thyme blooms, the leaves are almost entirely obscured by flowers! Thyme will spread down the side of retaining walls, and if the wall is made of brick or stone, this perennial plant will likely anchor itself in the spaces within the masonry.


Cascading Foliage Plants 

The Best Plants For Retaining Walls


Virginia Creeper is a fast-growing deciduous perennial plant featuring large dark green leaves that will add plenty of visual interest to your retaining wall. The leaves turn a beautiful crimson red and bear attractive bunches of dark purple berries in the fall. Virginia Creeper will climb all over a retaining wall and will eventually completely cover the wall if left alone.


The Best Plants For Retaining Walls


Silver Falls Dichondra is a beautiful trailing option; it is an annual here in Illinois. It features pretty, fan-shaped silvery-green leaves, and spreads with runners that cascade with long strands of silver foliage. 

Creeping Jenny is a low-growing groundcover that features alternating round golden-green leaves. These perennial plants will spill over the edges of retaining walls with long tendrils of foliage.


Non-traditional Cascading Plants

Besides flowers and foliage, there are a few edible plants that will cascade over the edges of any planting location, including retaining walls. So, if you want a unique cascading plant for your retaining wall that will also bear some tasty fruit or veggies in the process, try these!

  The Best Plants For Retaining Walls


Strawberries spread quite quickly via their runners and will drape down over a wall, contrasting their vibrant red berries against the wall’s stones or bricks. While they’re not technically cascading, Scarlet Runner Beans will also spread quickly across any surface, they can climb, and they feature beautiful brilliant red blossoms. Cucumbers will also trail and climb, making it reasonably easy to pick the delicious home-grown cukes. Runner Beans and cucumbers will do better if planted at the bottom of a retaining wall to climb up. 

Our team here at Meyer proudly builds some of the Quad Cities’ most beautiful hardscaping features, and we think they look amazing on their own. However, for that “lived-in” look, nothing beats the breathtaking appeal of trailing plants. If you’d like to add some creeping, cascading, or climbing plants to soften up and accentuate retaining walls, stop by our garden center today!


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