Favorite plants for foliage interest?

Karen Reister - 8 - PNWJanuary 1, 2001

I'd like to hear about your favorites for adding foliage interest to the garden!

One of my new favorites is Phlomis Ruselliana (Jerusalem Sage). It has green, heart-shaped, felted leaves (evergreen here) a little similar to lamb's ear. It looks fantastic with a coat of dew and adds a really nice soft boldness in my "undaunted garden" which, since it receives little summer water, tends to the fine-leaved varieties such as Russian Sage, Gaura, and Buddliea.

Another favorite I discovered this fall, Corokia cottoneaster. It's a small bonsaia-like shrub with twisted dark branches and very few tiny silvery leaves. I have it at my entrance in a large galvanized tub planter underplanted with violas and Kennilworth Ivy. The stark shape of the Carokia is a wonderful foil to the sweet faces of the violas and the soft luxuriance of the ivy!

What's yours?

Karen

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IVY KARDOKUS - ZONE 5

Hello, Karen, I can think of several foliage plants that are beautiful. Two great foliage plants are palace purple , and chocolate heuchera, also coleus, comes in a wide range of colors, dusty miller, looks beautiful with scarlet sage, and blue sage, kochia, and even basil! Other good choices are ajuga, wormwood, rue, lambs ears(as you said), and varigated plantin lily, and lily turf. Tansy can make a good foliage plant, as long as you keep the flowers cut off, and try cardoon, it is a very dramatic foliage plant, and is a large plant. Also castor bean can give you a tropical effect, but it is not safe around children. Ladys mantle has very pretty ruffled leaves, and not to mention, the endless varieties of orn. grasses that can be used. My favorite? Well that would very hard for me to say, but I guess it would be coleus, and castor bean, and cardoon. Signed Ivy

    Bookmark   January 1, 2001 at 7:33PM
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wanda - usda9/sunset 16

I love the gray Santolina. It's a wonderful blue gray that brings out flower colors and give a soft look to the garden. Looks really great at dusk.
I like the Phlomis too, and have that in my garden. Even after the flowers are gone, the "balls" make an interesting figure in the garden.

Wanda

    Bookmark   January 5, 2001 at 12:22PM
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Shadyflwrs(short season 7)

Definitely Acer palmatum dissectum.
Amanda

    Bookmark   April 25, 2002 at 11:16AM
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duffy(zone5, Pa.)

Hosta, hosta and hosta.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2002 at 9:18PM
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woodyswife(z5 OH)

My newest favorite is Heuchera Can Can which has very pretty maroon colored leaves. I also like platycodon, astilbe, sedums, and eupatorium chocolate to name a few.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2002 at 6:52AM
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theturtlelady(z6/NYC)

Variegated Virginia creeper - you've got to see the fall colors.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2002 at 12:03PM
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Meghane(7b NC)

Tropicana canna. Bonus: awesome orange flowers.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2002 at 12:56PM
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euphorbia(9)

rheum palmatum, cardoon, heuchera, artemisia's, purple cotinus, acanthus mollis, carex, sedums....I could go on there are so many!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2002 at 11:01AM
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ankraras(8/9AZ)

I love Japanese maple. It's really too bad that our hot desert climate is too harsh for them to survive though the summer hear. ;-[

Supannee

    Bookmark   May 6, 2002 at 12:15PM
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Andy_Japan(z9)

Hi, Ankraras. I am not very familiar with Arizona zone 9, but if you really love the Japanese maples, you might want to reconsider if you can provide it with enough *water* in the hot weather. And maybe amend the maple's growing area so it includes lots and lots of organic matter.

I know your winters are milder than ours, but I doubt your summers are hotter. But the dry air may be a problem, I suppose.

Could you make a *small* investment with a little tree and see how things go?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2002 at 5:27AM
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ankraras(8/9AZ)

Hi;- Andy, Thank you so much for you advice. I, like a crazy person, cry every time one of my plants kicks the bucket, LOL, but have not yet gave up on trying to grow Maple. My last one lasted 3 years and give in during the forth summer. I did take cuttings in hope that they would be hardier and might get accustomed to the heat. All cuttings established a good root system with out too much effort but ceased when the temperature soured above 110. I have not yet given up and will do as you advised. Thank you.

Supannee

    Bookmark   May 10, 2002 at 2:02PM
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Andy_Japan(z9)

I know what you mean about losing a plant. Very sad. I'm surprised that after three yers it didn't survive the fourth.

What I said about Arizona not being hotter than Japan. Well, forget that! It never goes above 100 here--high 90s sometimes, low and mid 90s all the time. Another thing you might do during those really hot and dry times is water the entire plnat to help cool it off--but you probably already do that.

Well, better luck this time!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2002 at 9:31PM
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Chickadee_8b

Depending on your climate....can't beat ferns for foliage interest. My particular favorite is the leatherleaf fern.

Here is a link that might be useful: Leatherleaf fern

    Bookmark   May 15, 2002 at 10:03AM
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Dtkaty(z8b Houston, TX)

Persian shield(Strobilanthes) for the beautiful silvery purple leaves.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2002 at 10:21PM
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treacle(Z6 NY)

Athyrium nipponicum 'Pictum' - Japanese Painted Fern

    Bookmark   May 20, 2002 at 9:59PM
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Nigella(9a-steamy)

Oh gosh, foliage plants are my favorites, and there are so many that do well in my climate. That's a really good thing because we have such a long growing season that it's hard to have a great show of blooms all at one time. My current favorites are Stroblianthus dyerianus, variegated costus, Begonia "Escargot", Athyrium nipponicum 'Pictum', Artemesia "Powis Castle", Variegated Lacecap Hydrangea, Kaempheria and Clerodendrum quatroloculate. Huecheras are nice, too. Oh, and Aucuba japonica "Picturata". And on, and on, lol.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2002 at 7:32PM
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cicadae

I like the smell and the colors of the bark on eucalyptus!
More of a tree than a bush tho...but a nice one!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2002 at 9:12PM
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MeMyselfAndI(5/6 central OH)

Coleus & Caladium 'Carolyn Whorton.'

    Bookmark   July 19, 2003 at 7:01PM
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fishcookie(z9bCA Sunset 19)

Artemesia "Powis Castle" for hot dry spots. It's graceful, silvery and feathery. Also, for those wet areas, Canna "Bengal Tiger" or "Tropicanna." Wonderful plants for the tropical looking garden. And most herbs, including lavender, are splendid for fragrant, drought tolerant color accents. Salvia officianalis "Icterina" and "Tricolor" are always worthwhile, as are the many lovely hues of Thyme.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2003 at 8:56PM
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Shadyflwrs(short season 7)

Sambucus Madonna
Cannas, Tropicana and Bengal Tiger
Japanese Painted Fern
Maidenhair Fern
Columbines
Thalictrum
Sorbaria
Polemonium
Rodgersia
Ostrich Fern

    Bookmark   August 3, 2003 at 6:41AM
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karen_ct(z6a CT)

Dogwood Elegantissima (or Ivory Halo) -- both shrubs have variegated leaves that almost look like white flowers from a distance.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2003 at 1:19PM
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jkom51(Z9 CA/Sunset 17)

Plectranthus argentatus for silvery white, fuzzy leaves.

Tibouchina heteromalla for silvery green, velvety leaves everyone wants to touch, plus once a year spikes of intense purple flowers.

Coleus are beautiful, but I've just discovered magilla pernilla (m. perilla) which is supposedly a full sun-to-full shade perennial, with gorgeous quad-color leaves just like a coleus! I'm so anxious to see if this will do well over our damp cold winters.

Just about every heuchera variety, but particularly 'Crimson Curls and 'Snow Angel'. Just gorgeous next to anything!

Abutilon pictum 'Thompsonii' -- every abutilon has wonderful flowers, but the 'Thompsonii' has foliage that is a show-stopper. They're fussy, prone to aphids, need some sun but not too much, some shade but not too much, some humidity but not too much, etc. etc. But every visitor to the garden asks me what it is, and when you have as many plants crammed into different flower beds as I have, that indicates it's a real crowd-pleaser.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2003 at 3:28PM
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dan1465_z7nj(Z7 NJ)

My Hosta "Love Pat" by far. The round cupped and crinkled texture of the foilage will always catch your eye. It's one of the more unusual Hostas.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 2:43AM
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springa7(z5 MA)

Hostas, certain types of fern, Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzantina) and May apple (Podophyllum peltatum) are some of my favorites when it comes to beautiful foliage.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2005 at 8:26AM
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GrowHappy(z7 MD)

Coleus b/c they can have such vibrant and bold colors. The markings are interestingly splattered in the centers of the leaves. Caladium b/c they are BIG and the colors are just pretty!

Creeping Jenny- b/c the chartreuse color just brightens up everything in the pot!

Variegated Swedish Ivy- it's soft color and texture always add interest to the container.

These are some of my favs for foliage appeal.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2005 at 10:04PM
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janroze

Margined and bicolor hostas; variegated Jacob's Ladder,ivy and vinca vine; chartreuse and burgandy potato vines; velvety silver/gray licorice vine, dusty miller; Japanese Maple all fall colored maples too; fall color of Euonymous. The jagged leaves of bleeding hearts, delphiniums, cleome,astilbe and globe flower; feathery leaves of yarrow and cosmos; and the many colors of coral bells foliage.
jan

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 12:18AM
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