Leaves of Accents: Great Hues, Shapes and Textures
Spice up your leafy greens plants with style and diversity. A full menu of foliage colors and forms will get you almost any look you can imagine. After flowers have faded, a range of colorful foliage remains vibrant for multi-season interest. Or choose a more subdued palette and let contrasts in texture take the forefront. Another important aspect to consider is form and size. From ground-hugging to sky-high, use unique foliage forms as striking architectural focal points. Then savor your artistic endeavors indoors with distinctive cut arrangements.
Cordyline 'Electric Pink' – This flamboyant cordyline lives up to its high-voltage name with upright dark maroon leaves edged with shocking pink margins. 'Electric Pink' makes an architectural statement with its clumping, upright habit and many narrow, strap-like leaves at a height of 6 feet or more. Fantastic in a large container to brighten an entryway.
Artemesia schmidtiana 'Silver Mound'– Angel's Hair has incredibly soft, feathery foliage and is a must-have silver accent to set off the colorful hues of nearby plants. 'Silver Mound' is a heat-loving, aromatic perennial with a compact mounding habit. Cut back in spring to maintain a tidy form for this vigorous grower.
Hydrangea quercifolia – One of the few hydrangeas native to North America, Oak Leaf Hydrangea is not your grandma's hydrangea. A natural choice for a woodland garden, the unique shape and large size of the lobed leaves is intensified in autumn when they blaze into brilliant fall colors. Stunning white flower clusters are a delight in spring and summer. Thrives in dry locations.
Hosta 'Blue Angel' – The exceptionally large and lush blue-green foliage of the Blue Angel Plantain Lily is sure to attract attention. Dense mounds of heavily textured foliage are perfect beneath the canopy of shade trees or small plots between buildings. White bell-like flowers are held on tall stems above the foliage in summer.
Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii' (Musa e.) – Make Red Banana the bold centerpiece of your tropical garden. Everything about this banana-like perennial is dramatic: the fat bronze-colored trunk, dark red leaf stalks and huge paddle-shaped leaves in shades ranging from wine-red to pale green. Fast growing to a height of 15-20 feet in 5 years.
Coprosma 'Evening Glow' – Splashes of bright gold are an exquisite contrast on dark green foliage. The high gloss of the small ovate leaves and colorful variegation give Evening Glow Mirror Plant its name. As the temperature cools in fall, the bright variegated foliage deepens to classic autumn colors of orange and red until their renewal in spring.
Melianthus major – If you want to set a jaw-dropping scene, Honey Bush is the plant for you. Luxuriant blue-gray-green leaves are a substantial 12 inches long with serrated leaflets. Honey-scented maroon flower spikes rise dramatically overhead to bloom from late winter to spring. This fast-growing evergreen shrub can grow up to 12 feet tall. Prune hard to keep plant tidy.
Heuchera 'Assorted Varieties' – This wild American native has been tamed and bred to bring you some of the most attractive and colorful foliage for dry shady conditions. Foliage colors are constantly improving, with colors ranging from greens and yellows to reds and purples, and even black. And let's not forget the spring bounty of tiny bell-shaped flowers on wand-like stems that give Coral Bells their name.
Ligularia tussilaginea 'Aureo-maculata' (Farfugium japonicum) – Random speckles of creamy-yellow spots are highly decorative on the glossy green leaves of Leopard Plant. The large 6-10 inch wide leaves form mounds about 2 feet tall. In late summer through fall, yellow daisy-like flowers bloom on tall stems above the foliage.
Phormium 'Sundowner' – Reserve a seat at sunset to be wowed by the brilliance of backlit bronze, pink, green and red foliage. This brightly striped New Zealand Flax has wide arching bronze-green leaves with rose-pink margins and streaks that fade to cream in summer. This spectacular phormium is 'hot' in a sunny garden. Dramatic upright form to 6-8 feet tall.