Next Up

10 Flowers That Give You Bang for Your Buck

By: Karin Beuerlein
Want a showy garden but on a budget? Check out these impressive and inexpensive blooms.
1 / 10


This classic cutting-garden annual comes in shapes and sizes that most people have never even tried. Growing from seed will allow you to experiment with more than the usual suspects you see in garden centers: there are the brainy-looking “crested” celosia shown above (C. argentea cristata), soft plumed varieties (C. argentea plumosa), and fluffy arrow-shaped types (C. argentea spicata). All are superb for adding texture in the border or the vase.

More photos after this Ad

2 / 10
Photo: Photo by Felder Rushing

Castor Bean

This exotic stunner will attract attention in a sunny border, growing rapidly over a single season into a ten-foot-high behemoth. You can use the dried seed pods in flower arrangements, but handle them carefully, as the seeds are the source of the poison ricin; if you have kids or pets, it’s best to cut off the fuzzy pink flowers before they go to seed.

More photos after this Ad

3 / 10

Amaranth/Love Lies Bleeding

Amaranth tops the list of ten beauties selected by Hillary Alger of Johnny’s Selected Seeds ( that provide major returns for minor investment. All are widely available from garden centers, but you can also grow them from seed for pennies. Amaranth’s unique bloom shape is an exciting contrast to typical border flowers and makes a lovely filler for flower arrangements. Some varieties, like those shown, have pendulous blooms; others have spiky upright shapes.

More photos after this Ad

4 / 10
Photo: Image courtesy of Johnny's Selected Seeds.

Hyacinth Bean

Let this vine twirl its way up a fence or trellis and impress you with its fragrant, delicately colored blossoms, wine-tinted foliage and eye-catching purple seed pods. The blooms stay lovely when cut and are also edible. You can eat the beans as well, but boil them twice first because they contain toxins that need to be broken down; otherwise, dry the pods and add them to your next flower arrangement.

More photos after this Ad