17 Best Cascading Plants For Retaining Walls

Are you looking to transform your plain old retaining wall into a stunning flower-filled garden? Well, get ready to sprinkle some magic because we have a treasure trove of cascading plants that will breathe life into those vertical spaces!

Finding flowers that will thrive in these difficult spaces can be tricky, but luckily some plants seem to enjoy taking root in the most unlikely of places.

So, let’s take a look at our handpicked selection of the 17 best cascading plants that will turn your dull retaining walls into vibrant botanical masterpieces!

1. Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata)

Creeping Phlox is a low-growing beauty that forms a plush mat of evergreen foliage, creating a natural colorful carpet that cascades down your retaining walls. In the spring, it will burst into a display of star-shaped flowers in shades of pink, purple, and white.

This showstopping cascading plant thrives in USDA zones 3 to 9 and prefers well-draining soil to keep those roots happy.

2. Trailing Lantana (Lantana montevidensis)

With its carefree and spreading nature, the Trailing Lantana brings a touch of wild free-spirited charm to any wall. This beautiful cascading plant thrives in USDA zones 8 to 11, and doesn’t mind a little sandy or rocky soil.

Its small clusters of lavender, pink, or white flowers dance in the breeze from spring right through to fall, providing a food source for butterflies and hummingbirds all summer long.

3. Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritime)

I truly think that Sweet Alyssum is an unappreciated beauty! This tiny plant can quickly turn your retaining walls into a sweet-smelling, low-growing carpet of white, pink, or purple flowers.

And the best part? This annual self-seeds easily and blooms from spring to fall, so you’ll have a constant flowery fiesta throughout the warmer months.

This hardy plant feels at home in USDA zones 4 to 10 and isn’t too picky about where it grows, tolerating even poor-quality sandy soil types.

4. Carpet of Snow (Aubrieta deltoidea)

Carpet of Snow creates a dense mat of silvery-green foliage that serves as a beautiful canvas for the delicate clusters of purple, pink, or white blooms which form a thick cascade from early spring onwards.

It is a hardy perennial that thrives in USDA zones 4 to 8, and it prefers well-drained soil with a neutral or alkaline pH.

5. Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)

The vibrant yellow-green heart-shaped foliage of Creeping Jenny will cascade down your retaining walls, adding a pop of sunshine to any space.

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It will retain its foliage throughout the winter in all but the coldest climates, and treat you to a display of bright yellow flowers in the summer.

Thriving in moist, well-drained soil, Creeping Jenny grows at its best in USDA zones 3 to 9.

6. Snow-In-Summer (Cerastium tomentosum)

With its dense, grayish foliage, Snow-In-Summer creates a mesmerizing backdrop as it cascades like a silvery blanket down your retaining walls. And when early summer arrives, you will be treated to a profusion of small, white flowers – hence the name!

This is a resilient cold-climate plant that can handle USDA zones 3 to 7, as long as the soil is well-drained and not too waterlogged.

7. Basket-of-Gold (Aurinia saxatilis)

If you’re after a golden touch, look no further than Basket-of-Gold. This low-growing plant forms a dazzling mound of bright green foliage, sprinkled with clusters of golden-yellow flowers in early summer.

Basket-of-Gold thrives in USDA zones 4 to 7 and can tolerate poor or sandy soil, as long as it is well-drained.

8. Blue Star Creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis)

Get ready for a celestial experience with the fabulously-named Blue Star Creeper! This delicate wonder creates a carpet of lush green foliage, speckled with a myriad of tiny blue star-shaped flowers.

Blue Star Creeper thrives in USDA zones 5 to 9 and prefers well-drained soil, whether it’s sandy or clay.

9. Kenilworth Ivy (Cymbalaria muralis)

Kenilworth Ivy is a low-growing plant with heart-shaped leaves and is perfect for adding a touch of whimsy to your retaining walls. It grows well in USDA zones 4 to 9 and enjoys well-drained, sandy soil.

Also known as Ivy Leaved Toadflax, this plant self-seeds easily and will take root in tiny crevices, making it an excellent cascading cover plant for retaining walls.

10. Blue Scaevola (Scaevola aemula)

With its fan-shaped flowers in shades of blue or purple, Blue Scaevola is perfect for adding a touch of cool elegance to your retaining walls. This heat-loving plant blooms from spring to fall, making it perfect for those sunnier spots in your yard.

Blue Scaevola thrives in USDA zones 9 to 11 and prefers sandy or loamy well-drained soil.

11. Silver Falls (Dichondra argentea)

With its stunning silver-gray foliage, Silver Falls trails gracefully, giving the effect of a beautiful waterfall cascading down your retaining walls.

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While this plant may not produce many flowers, its evergreen foliage alone steals the spotlight all year round.

Silver Falls thrives as a perennial in USDA zones 9 to 11 or can be grown as an annual in colder zones. It enjoys well-drained soil, and sandy or poor soil doesn’t stop it from thriving.

12. Wave Petunias (Petunia × hybrida)

Wave Petunias are the rockstars of cascading plants, bringing a riot of vibrant colors to your walls. These trailing plants produce large, trumpet-shaped flowers in a range of hues that will make your garden come alive.

Whether you’re in USDA zones 1 or 10, these annuals will give you a dazzling show throughout the warmer growing season.

13. Purple Heart (Tradescantia pallida)

Purple Heart is a bold and captivating addition to your cascading wall ensemble, boasting striking, deep purple foliage that steals the show with its rich color.

As it cascades down your walls, it adds a touch of drama and intrigue to your outdoor space. Not only is it visually stunning, but it’s also a resilient plant that can withstand various growing conditions.

Whether you’re in USDA zones 7 to 11, Purple Heart thrives with ease in any well-drained, sunny spot.

14. Million Bells (Calibrachoa spp.)

Million Bells is a vibrant plant that will bring a cascade of blooms to your retaining walls. With its profusion of small, bell-shaped flowers in a wide array of colors, including shades of pink, purple, orange, and yellow, this plant is a true showstopper!

It creates a delightful carpet of color as it trails downwards, adding a cheerful and whimsical touch to your outdoor space. Million Bells will thrive in USDA zones 9 to 11 and tend to prefer well-drained soil.

15. Variegated Vinca (Vinca major ‘Variegata’)

With its elegant, glossy leaves featuring shades of green and creamy white, Variegated Vinca is perfect for adding a subtle splash of color and texture to your retaining walls. As it is an evergreen plant, you get to enjoy this lush and graceful effect all year round.

Variegated Vinca grows well in USDA zones 7 to 9 and prefers well-drained soil.

16. Nasturtium (Tropaeolum spp.)

Although most of us are familiar with the ever-popular Nasturtium, it is often overlooked as a cascading plant!

With their beautiful, rounded leaves and show-stopping flowers in shades of orange, red, and yellow, Nasturtiums are easy to grow and add a burst of color and whimsy to any retaining wall.

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They are also famous for their edible flowers and leaves, which have a peppery taste and make a delightful addition to salads or garnishes.

Nasturtiums thrive in USDA zones 9 to 11 and prefer well-drained soil.

17. Prostrate Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Prostratus’)

Visit any Mediterranean country and you’ll see huge banks of Prostrate Rosemary cascading down huge retaining terrace walls.

With its trailing habit and needle-like evergreen foliage, this cascading herb brings both beauty and aromatic bliss to your retaining walls.

Not only does Prostrate Rosemary create a stunning carpet of deep green foliage, but the leaves can also be used as a flavorsome herb in many cuisines.

It also produces an abundance of tiny purple flowers through the cooler months, providing a valuable food source for insects in the winter.

Prostrate Rosemary thrives in USDA zones 7 to 10 and prefers well-drained soil.


When choosing the best cascading plants for retaining walls, look for a mix of colors and textures that will produce an ever-changing visual display throughout the seasons.

A mix of evergreen foliage can be used to create a backdrop against which you can plant a variety of different flowering plants for a splash of color.

By choosing from our 17 best cascading plants for retaining walls, your garden, yard, or boundary will become a vibrant tapestry of colors and textures, adding a touch of natural charm to your outdoor space.

Happy gardening and enjoy the magic of these cascading wonders!

Lucy Young

Meet Lucy, a seasoned gardener with a green thumb and a wealth of experience cultivated over 10 years in her own backyard oasis. Now, she channels her passion into writing, sharing invaluable gardening knowledge on her website. From nurturing plants to expert pruning techniques, Lucy's articles are a treasure trove for both seasoned enthusiasts and budding gardeners. Join her on this leafy journey as she sprinkles insights, tips, and tricks to help you create your own flourishing paradise. Get ready to dig into her gardening wisdom and unlock the secrets of a thriving garden!

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