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!






Achillea millefoliumYarrowRed/yellow, long bloomer
Ascelpias tuberosaButterfly-weedSeedpods explode into soft floss
Clematis ‘Sweet Autumn’Non-native climber, fragrant
Comptonia peregrinaSweetfernFragrant, foliage plant
Echinacea hybrids ‘Tomato Soup’, ‘Sunrise’, ‘Sundown’ConeflowerRed/yellow, fragrant, cones for texture
Meehania cordataMountain mintFragrant groundcover
Monarda ‘Jacob Cline’Bee-balmRed, fragrant
Rudbeckia nitidaBlack-eyed SusanYellow, cones for texture
Sedum telephoides/ nevii/ ternatumStonecropSucculent leaves for texture; winter structure
Solidago rugosaGoldenrodExcellent value for pollinators
Stachys byzantinaLambs’ EarThick,fuzzy leaves; deer-resistant; non-native


purple fountain grass in pots
Purple Fountain Grass
Amaranthus caudatusLove-lies-bleedingVelvety flower spikes
Pennesetum ‘Rubrum’Purple Fountain GrassFluffy seedheads
Tagetes’ Inca Yellow’, ‘Safari Red’MarigoldsFragrant