Ornamental plant

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Ornamental petunia plant Petunie.jpg
Ornamental petunia plant

Ornamental plants or garden plants are plants that are primarily grown for their beauty [1] but also for qualities such as scent or how they shape physical space. Many flowering plants and garden varieties tend to be specially bred cultivars that improve on the original species in qualities such as color, shape, scent, and long-lasting blooms. There are many examples of fine ornamental plants that can provide height, privacy, and beauty for any garden. These ornamental perennial plants have seeds that allow them to reproduce. One of the beauties of ornamental grasses is that they are very versatile and low maintenance. [ citation needed ] Almost any types of plant have ornamental varieties: trees, shrubs, climbers, grasses, succulents. aquatic plants, herbaceous perennials and annual plants. Non-botanical classifications include houseplants, bedding plants, hedges, plants for cut flowers and foliage plants. The cultivation of ornamental plants comes under floriculture and tree nurseries, which is a major branch of horticulture. [2]


Ornamental trailing plant on a trellis (creeping groundsel). Senecio angulatus trellis.jpg
Ornamental trailing plant on a trellis (creeping groundsel).

Commonly, ornamental garden plants are grown for the display of aesthetic features including flowers, leaves, scent, overall foliage texture, fruit, stem and bark, and aesthetic form. [3] In some cases, unusual features may be considered to be of interest, such as the prominent thorns of Rosa sericea and cacti .


The cultivation of ornamental plants in gardening began in ancient civilizations around 2000 BC. [4] Ancient Egyptian tomb paintings of the 1500 BC show physical evidence of ornamental horticulture and landscape design. The wealthy pharaohs of Amun had plenty of lands to grow all different kinds of ornamental plants. [5]


Meillandine Rose in clay pot "Meillandine" Rose in clay pot.jpg
Meillandine Rose in clay pot

Ornamental plants and trees are distinguished from utilitarian and crop plants, such as those used for agriculture and vegetable crops, and for forestry or as fruit trees. [6] This does not preclude any particular type of plant being grown both for ornamental qualities in the garden, and for utilitarian purposes in other settings. Thus lavender is typically grown as an ornamental plant in gardens, but may also be grown as a crop plant for the production of lavender oil. [7]

The term

The term ornamental plant is used here in the same sense that it is generally used in the horticultural trades, [8] [9] in which they are often just called "ornamentals". The term largely corresponds to 'garden plant', though the latter is much less precise, as any plant may be grown in a garden. Ornamental plants are plants that are grown for display purposes, rather than functional ones. [10] While some plants are both ornamental and functional, people usually use the term “ornamental plants” to refer to plants which have no value beyond being attractive, although many people feel that this is value enough. Ornamental plants are the keystone of ornamental gardening, and they come in a range of shapes, sizes, and colors suitable to a broad array of climates, landscapes, and gardening needs.

Some ornamental plants are foliage plants grown mainly or entirely for their showy foliage; this is especially true of houseplants. Their foliage may be deciduous, turning bright orange, red, and yellow before dropping off in the fall, or evergreen, in which case it stays green year-round. Some ornamental foliage has a striking appearance created by lacy leaves or long needles, while other ornamentals are grown for distinctively colored leaves, such as silvery-gray ground covers and bright red grasses, among many others.

Other ornamental plants are cultivated for their blooms. Flowering ornamental plants are a key aspect of most gardens, with many flower gardeners preferring to plant a variety of flowers so that the garden is continuously in flower through the spring and summer. Depending on the types of plants being grown, the flowers may be subtle and delicate, or large and showy, with some ornamental plants producing distinctive aromas. Ornamental plants are beneficial. [11]

Ornamental grasses

Ornamental grasses and grass-like plants are valued in home landscapes for their hardiness, ease of care, dramatic appearance, and a wide variety of colors, textures, and sizes available. [12] Many ornamental types of grass are true grasses (Poaceae), however, several other families of grass-like plants are typically marketed as ornamental grasses. These include the sedges (Cyperaceae), rushes (Juncaceae), restios (Restionaceae), and cat-tails (Typhaceae). All are monocotyledons, typically with narrow leaves and parallel veins. Most are herbaceous perennials, though many are evergreen and some develop woody tissues. Ornamental grasses are popular in many countries. They bring striking linear form, texture, color, motion, and sound to the garden, throughout the year.

Ornamental grasses are popular in many colder hardiness zones for their resilience to cold temperatures and aesthetic value throughout the fall and winter seasons. [13]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gardening</span> Practice of growing and cultivating plants

Gardening is the practice of growing and cultivating plants as part of horticulture. In gardens, ornamental plants are often grown for their flowers, foliage, or overall appearance; useful plants, such as root vegetables, leaf vegetables, fruits, and herbs, are grown for consumption, for use as dyes, or for medicinal or cosmetic use.

<i>Monstera deliciosa</i> Species of plant

Monstera deliciosa, the Swiss cheese plant or split-leaf philodendron is a species of flowering plant native to tropical forests of southern Mexico, south to Panama. It has been introduced to many tropical areas, and has become a mildly invasive species in Hawaii, Seychelles, Ascension Island and the Society Islands. It is very widely grown in temperate zones as a houseplant.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Floriculture</span> Discipline of horticulture concerned with the cultivation of flowering and ornamental plants

Floriculture, or flower farming, is a branch of horticulture concerned with the cultivation of flowering and ornamental plants for gardens and for floristry, comprising the floral industry. The development of new varieties by plant breeding is a major occupation of floriculturists.

Garden design is the art and process of designing and creating plans for layout and planting of gardens and landscapes. Garden design may be done by the garden owner themselves, or by professionals of varying levels of experience and expertise. Most professional garden designers have some training in horticulture and the principles of design. Some are also landscape architects, a more formal level of training that usually requires an advanced degree and often a state license. Amateur gardeners may also attain a high level of experience from extensive hours working in their own gardens, through casual study, serious study in Master gardener programs, or by joining gardening clubs.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ornamental grass</span> Grass grown as an ornamental plant

Ornamental grasses are grasses grown as ornamental plants. Ornamental grasses are popular in many colder hardiness zones for their resilience to cold temperatures and aesthetic value throughout fall and winter seasons.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Harry P. Leu Gardens</span> United States historic place

The Harry P. Leu Gardens are semi-tropical and tropical gardens in Orlando, Florida, United States. The gardens contain nearly 50 acres (200,000 m2) of landscaped grounds and lakes, with trails shaded by 200-year-old oaks and forests of camellias. They are open to the public. The address is 1920 North Forest Avenue Orlando, FL 32803.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cottage garden</span> Distinct style of garden

The cottage garden is a distinct style that uses informal design, traditional materials, dense plantings, and a mixture of ornamental and edible plants. English in origin, it depends on grace and charm rather than grandeur and formal structure. Homely and functional gardens connected to cottages go back centuries, but their stylized reinvention occurred in 1870s England, as a reaction to the more structured, rigorously maintained estate gardens with their formal designs and mass plantings of greenhouse annuals.

<i>Aglaonema</i> Genus of flowering plants

Aglaonema is a genus of flowering plants in the arum family, Araceae. They are native to tropical and subtropical regions of Asia and New Guinea. They are known commonly as Chinese evergreens.

<i>Cyperus alternifolius</i> Species of plant in the family Cyperaceae, native to Africa

Cyperus alternifolius, the umbrella papyrus, umbrella sedge or umbrella palm, is a grass-like plant in the very large genus Cyperus of the sedge family Cyperaceae. The plant is native to West Africa, Madagascar and the Arabian Peninsula, but widely distributed throughout the world. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. The subspecies Cyperus alternifolius ssp. flabelliformis is also known as Cyperus involucratusRottb..

This is an alphabetical index of articles related to gardening.

<i>Sporobolus heterolepis</i> Species of flowering plant

Sporobolus heterolepis, commonly known as prairie dropseed, is a species of prairie grass native to the tallgrass and mixed grass prairies of central North America from Texas to southern Canada. It is also found further east, to the Atlantic coast of the United States and Canada, but is much less common beyond the Great Plains and is restricted to specialized habitats. It is found in 27 states and four Canadian provinces.

<i>Nepeta <span style="font-style:normal;">×</span> faassenii</i> Species of flowering plant

Nepeta × faassenii, a flowering plant also known as catmint and Faassen's catnip, is a primary hybrid of garden origin. The parent species are Nepeta racemosa and Nepeta nepetella.

<i>Fittonia</i> Genus of flowering plants

Fittonia is a genus of flowering plants in the acanthus family Acanthaceae, native to tropical rainforest in South America, mainly Peru.

<i>Thymus citriodorus</i> Species of flowering plant

Thymus citriodorus, the lemon thyme or citrus thyme, is a lemon-scented evergreen mat-forming perennial plant in the family Lamiaceae. There has been a great amount of confusion over the plant's correct name and origin. Recent DNA analysis suggests that it is not a hybrid or cross, but a distinct species as it was first described in 1811.

<i>Festuca californica</i> Species of grass

Festuca californica is a species of grass known by the common name California fescue.

<i>Fittonia albivenis</i> Species of plant

Fittonia albivenis is a species of flowering plant in the family Acanthaceae, native to the rainforests of Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and northern Brazil. An evergreen perennial, it is notable for its dark green foliage with strongly contrasting white or red veins. It is commonly called nerve plant or mosaic plant. In temperate regions where the temperature falls below 10 °C (50 °F) it must be grown as a houseplant.

<i>Liriope muscari</i> Species of flowering plant

Liriope muscari is a species of flowering plant from East Asia. Common names in English include big blue lilyturf, lilyturf, border grass, and monkey grass. This small herbaceous perennial has grass-like evergreen foliage and lilac-purple flowers which produce single-seeded berries on a spike in the fall. It is invasive to North America and considered a threat to native wildlife.

<i>Hypoestes phyllostachya</i> Species of flowering plant

Hypoestes phyllostachya, the polka dot plant, is a species of flowering plant in the family Acanthaceae, native to South Africa, Madagascar, and south east Asia. The spots often merge into larger areas of colour.

<i>Celtica gigantea</i> Species of grass

Celtica gigantea, commonly called giant feather grass, giant needle grass, or golden oats, is a species of flowering plant in the grass family Poaceae, native to southern Europe. It occurs in Spain and other Mediterranean countries. It is still widely referenced in the horticultural literature under its synonym Stipa gigantea.

<i>Verbena rigida</i> Species of flowering plant

Verbena rigida, known as slender vervain or tuberous vervain, is a flowering herbaceous perennial plant in the family Verbenaceae. It is native to Brazil and Argentina, and is not fully hardy in temperate climates, where consequently it is grown from seed as an annual.


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  2. "Ornamentals - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics". www.ScienceDirect.com. Retrieved 2022-04-06.
  3. "Landscape Ornamentals - MREC - UF/IFAS - the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences - UF/IFAS". mrec.ifas.ufl.edu. Retrieved 2022-04-06.
  4. "Ornamental Plants: Home page". www.ndsu.edu. Retrieved 2022-04-06.
  5. "Ornamental Plants: Home page". www.ndsu.edu. Retrieved 2022-04-06.
  6. "Supplemental Information 3: An excerpt from the Data Downloads page, where users can download original datasets". dx.doi.org. doi:10.7717/peerj.9467/supp-3 . Retrieved 2022-04-06.
  7. "Lavender: History, Taxonomy, and Production". newcropsorganics.ces.ncsu.edu. Retrieved 2022-04-06.
  8. "ornamental". The Free Dictionary.
  9. "Ornamental Plants". The Free Dictionary.
  10. "What are Ornamental Plants? (with pictures)". Home Questions Answered. Retrieved 2022-04-06.
  11. "Growing Ornamental Plants - A Beginners Guide | Agri Farming". www.Agri farming.in. 2018-07-02. Retrieved 2022-04-06.
  12. "Ornamental Grasses and Grass-like Plants". Home & Garden Information Center | Clemson University, South Carolina. August 27, 2017. Retrieved 2022-04-06.
  13. "Ornamental Grasses". Bluestem Nursery. Bluestem Nursery. Retrieved 10 October 2017.

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