Striking Foliage

This post, “Striking Foliage” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


We often think of flowers when we think of color in the garden.  It is only after seeing a plant with striking foliage, that gardeners realize that leaves too can add to the landscape.  While different texture is important to garden design, colorful foliage is a great way to put that little extra in our gardens esp. where flowers may not grow because of shade.  It can also help transition from one blooming period to another.



This canna grows in front of red and yellow double hibiscus in my garden.  While the hibiscus blooms almost continuously, when there is a lull, this canna helps carry that area of the garden.  This canna also brings a certain architectural element to the garden.


Dark foliage plants are becoming more and more popular.  Ace of Spades and Blackie in the sweet potato vines are examples.  I grow Ace of Spades and Margarite vines together, and the contrast is striking. Those dark reds, purples, and maroons offer a change and a contrast to lighter and variegated foliage.  The ornamental millets, such as Jester or Purple Majesty, and purple fountain grass are great additions to a garden.  I have purple fountain grass growing in two containers by an arbor.  They seem to set off the arbor and the plants around them.



This Alocasia Metallica and some chartreuse hostas growing in a very large pot make a very stunning arrangement.  Even though there is no flowers around, just ferns, once this alocasia gets growing, this container is an eye-catcher from across the garden.


We no longer have to rely on just coleus and caladiums to give us great foliage color.  Plant breeders have given us many other choices.  Colorful foliage plants can be as effective as flowers in bringing color to a garden.  And, for all season color sometimes, they beat flowers.



  1. Nancy Bond said,

    May 8, 2008 at 6:59 am

    That foliage is very striking — I especially like the bright, chartreuse greens.

  2. Jan said,

    May 10, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    Yes, Nancy, it really is a nice combination of contrasting colors, leaf shape, and texture. This is one of my favorite containers.

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