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?


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

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
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
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.


    Bookmark   January 5, 2001 at 12:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Shadyflwrs(short season 7)

Definitely Acer palmatum dissectum.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2002 at 11:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
duffy(zone5, Pa.)

Hosta, hosta and hosta.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2002 at 9:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
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
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

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

    Bookmark   May 4, 2002 at 12:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Meghane(7b NC)

Tropicana canna. Bonus: awesome orange flowers.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2002 at 12:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

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
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

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. ;-[


    Bookmark   May 6, 2002 at 12:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

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
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

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.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2002 at 2:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

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
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

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
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Dtkaty(z8b Houston, TX)

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

    Bookmark   May 17, 2002 at 10:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
treacle(Z6 NY)

Athyrium nipponicum 'Pictum' - Japanese Painted Fern

    Bookmark   May 20, 2002 at 9:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

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
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

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
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
MeMyselfAndI(5/6 central OH)

Coleus & Caladium 'Carolyn Whorton.'

    Bookmark   July 19, 2003 at 7:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
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
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Shadyflwrs(short season 7)

Sambucus Madonna
Cannas, Tropicana and Bengal Tiger
Japanese Painted Fern
Maidenhair Fern
Ostrich Fern

    Bookmark   August 3, 2003 at 6:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
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
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
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
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
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
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
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
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
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
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

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.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 12:18AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
sharing garden club ideas or topics
Started a garden club locally and would like to hear...
nancy - mi
Baby crepe myrtle or weed?
Haven't mowed the lawn in a few weeks since it's been...
Inheriting a huge ugly crepe myrtle
My husband and I are going to closing on our first...
Mutant Calendula :0 What's happened?
Evening all, I scuttled out to the garden to collect...
What type of sunflower should I grow?
Hi, I've never grown sunflowers before and I want to...
Sponsored Products
'It's a Ruff Life' Frame
$12.99 | zulily
Wood 2-light Satin Brass Floor Lamp
LED Lighting4Less UFO LED Grow Light - GUFO-90
$199.99 | Hayneedle
Turner Leather Sofa - Brighton Parrot Red
Joybird Furniture
FANMATS Floor Mats University of Nebraska 14 in. x 17 in. Utility Mat Team
$14.97 | Home Depot
Type 1228 Floor Lamp - Yellow - Anglepoise
$355.00 | HORNE
Polished Marble Vessel Sink
Signature Hardware
Silk 5-foot Potted Banana Tree
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™