How should you go about selecting plants that will thrive in your Mid-Atlantic landscape? Choosing plants can sometimes be tricky and there are several questions to think about.

  • What types of plants do you like?
  • Do you prefer evergreens or flowering shrubs?
  • Would you like an area for annuals with bold colors?
  • Do you envision tall grasses in your landscape?
  • Would you prefer fast-growing plants?
  • What type of soil do you have?
  • Will any of the plants you’ve chosen do well in your garden and surrounding landscape?
  • Do live in an area with a healthy deer population?

These questions and many more are bound to be on your list of things to consider when making plant selections. To help you get started, some of our Sharper Cut team members came up with a list seven plants that will flourish in the Mid-Atlantic, particularly if you live in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

7 Excellent Plants for Your Mid-Atlantic Landscape

Here’s the list of the seven plants our Sharper Cut team thinks would be excellent additions to your Mid-Atlantic landscape. Check them out below to learn their common and scientific names as well as why each was recommended.

1. Abelia Rose Creek
Abelia x grandiflora ‘Rose Creek’

Matt, our horticulturist and design consultant, thinks the Abelia Rose Creek should be on your list of potential plants for your landscape. This semi-evergreen has pink colored leaves that sit on deep red stems that develop into a dark green color later in the season, offering a rather attractive combination of colors in the winter. Rose Creek also offers fragrant, white flowers from summer through fall.

It is compact, very sturdy, and attracts butterflies, bumblebees, and birds. Abelia Rose Creek is a great option for a front landscape that has southern exposure and if you want a traditional look. It is also extremely durable against pest, diseases, and people and can tolerate bad soils.

2. Big Blue Lilyturf
Liriope muscari

Big Blue Lilyturf is a favorite of our Justin’s, our VP. It’s a beautiful perennial that can be used as an edging plant. It also has flower spikes and clusters of black berries that stand tall among grass-like foliage. Lilyturf can withstand drier conditions as well. Although a perennial, Liriope is considered evergreen as it does not die back until early spring. It’s also another plant on this list that can tolerate bad soils.

3. Jack Frost Brunnera
Brunnera macrophylla

Bill, our company president and designer, selected Brunnera Jack Frost. This silver colored perennial with distinctive green veins looks very much like a hosta, however, are not on the deer buffet list. Massing together in shady areas will brighten up the shady landscape, and has clusters of tiny blue flowers in the Spring.


*Click on each photo to enlarge. Image credits for all pictures are listed at the bottom of this post.


4. Maiden Grass ‘Morning Light’
Miscanthus sinensis

Our project manager, Andy, says that grasses can be a great focal point for many Mid-Atlantic landscapes. And, you can’t go wrong with Miscanthus!

It tends to be pest-free and can be used as a hedge or accent plant. The Morning Light variety has slender leaves with a creamy white variegated edge that instantly brightens up the landscape. It’s also well known for its beautiful bronze foliage during the winter months. Miscanthus offers some height and color contrast in the winter months and can tolerate bad soils. This variety is also not invasive and does not spread over the years.

5. Otto Luyken Cherry Laurel
Prunus laurocerasus

Sydnie, our designer, really likes the Cherry Laurel for its shiny, deep green leaves and white flowers. It’s also a great foundation plant that does well in full sun or partly shady areas, though it prefers areas where there is good airflow. This low maintenance evergreen shrub is compact (only grows to about 4′-5′ tall) and can be used as a foundation plant. As Sydnie says, “It’s got good bones!”

6. Russian Arborvitae
Microbiota decussata

Junipers are a popular ground cover for many landscapes but, unfortunately, they need full sun so if you have a shady landscape, they won’t thrive. That’s why Bill likes the Arborvitae. It looks very similar to a Juniper but it can tolerate shady areas. They also have beautiful feathery foliage with a slight bronzing color in the winter months.

7. Weeping Purple Beech
Fagus sylvatica ‘Purpurea Pendula’

The Weeping Purple Beech is another of Matt’s favorite plants for DC Metro Area landscapes. It’s actually a tall tree with weeping branches that can make a dramatic statement to your landscape. And, it can also be trained to take on a dome shape.

In the Spring, expect the Weeping Purple Beech to be deep purple in color and change over to green during the summer months. During the winter months, it displays large pinnate buds that are a great contrast to the white snow and the bare woods. It’s a nice low maintenance option since it doesn’t require pruning.

Image Credits

  1. Abelia Rose Creek: Monrovia
  2. Big Blue Lilyturf: By Leonora (Ellie) Enking, CC BY-SA 2.0,
  3. Jack Frost Brunnera: By Patrick Standish, CC BY-SA 4.0,
  4. Miscanthus Morning Light: American Meadows
  5. Otto Luyken Cherry Laurel: Home Depot
  6. Russian Arborvitae: By Cruiser – Own work, CC BY 3.0,
  7. Weeping Purple Beech: Amazon


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About Sharper Cut Landscapes

The Sharper Cut Landscapes is a single-source landscape design and build firm located in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. That means we can help you through every stage of your outdoor project – from initial brainstorming, to design and material selection, and, of course, final build and installation.

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