toddler sniffs lilacs

Sensory Garden Plant List

This summer turn your garden into a Sensory Garden! Sensory gardens are fun for children because they’re full of plants that appeal to senses of touch and smell, as well as having eye-catching, bright colors.

golden yarrow
Golden Yarrow

Here’s a starter list of plants for a sensory garden. Unless otherwise noted, all perennials are native to North America (many to New England), hardy to zone 5, drought tolerant, and low-maintenance. Many of the red flowers attract butterflies. Enjoy!






Latin Common Notes
Achillea millefolium Yarrow Red/yellow, long bloomer
Ascelpias tuberosa Butterfly-weed Seedpods explode into soft floss
Clematis ‘Sweet Autumn’ Non-native climber, fragrant
Comptonia peregrina Sweetfern Fragrant, foliage plant
Echinacea hybrids ‘Tomato Soup’, ‘Sunrise’, ‘Sundown’ Coneflower Red/yellow, fragrant, cones for texture
Meehania cordata Mountain mint Fragrant groundcover
Monarda ‘Jacob Cline’ Bee-balm Red, fragrant
Rudbeckia nitida Black-eyed Susan Yellow, cones for texture
Sedum telephoides/ nevii/ ternatum Stonecrop Succulent leaves for texture; winter structure
Solidago rugosa Goldenrod Excellent value for pollinators
Stachys byzantina Lambs’ Ear Thick,fuzzy leaves; deer-resistant; non-native


purple fountain grass in pots
Purple Fountain Grass
Amaranthus caudatus Love-lies-bleeding Velvety flower spikes
Pennesetum ‘Rubrum’ Purple Fountain Grass Fluffy seedheads
Petunia Petunia Fragrant
Tagetes’ Inca Yellow’, ‘Safari Red’ Marigolds Fragrant