Best Foliage Plants for Your Garden

We have so many spaces in our yard that need gardening work from the previous owners. Empty pots in the front yard, an open garden on the side of the house, a triangular shaped piece in the far end of the backyard…. I never know where to start! But I want our home to look great and I want to enjoy the scenery so here are some tips for the best foliage plants for your garden.

Designing a garden that goes beyond blooms with a healthy dose of foliage plants can really add more color and interest. Plants with fun foliage can add nonstop color to a garden through the seasons and their color is instant! Not only do plants with colorful leaves add a touch of visual appeal, but they keep a garden from falling flat by adding depth—especially to a shaded garden. You can expect a garden that is a lot easier to care for, budget friendly, and gives you the ability to create with form and shape in a way certain flowering plants cannot provide.

Best Foliage Plants for Your Garden

Add color to your garden with plants that are alive with bright foliage when you choose any of these options:

Red Foliage Plants

A lot of the brightest colored foliage is going to be in the red family of plants. These are a lot easier to find in nurseries and come in annual and perennial options. Coleus plants are among some of the most common red leafed plants found and make a great annual option for borders and containers. Coral Bells are a deep red to burgundy leaved perennial option that fit in rock and water gardens. Finally, Japanese Maple Trees are an option if you want to add something to the background or just add a colored tree in the yard.

 red foliage plantssource: “Coleus” by Donna Sutton on flickr (license)

Purple Foliage Plants

After red, purple is another commonly seen foliage plant color with leaves usually being a deep purple that almost appears to be black in color. Coleus is also available in a purple variety known as chocolate mint and is grown as an annual plant. It’s deep purple with green edging—very pretty! Purple herbs like purple basil and Vietnamese coriander offer plants with purple leaves. For a unique touch, try adding succulents to your garden in the form of Echeveria and Sempervivum.

 Echeveria foliage plantsSource: Echeveria plants from Pacific Horticulture

Silver Foliage Plants

Silver plants offer a stunning and bold blast of color that really stands out from the rest of the plants you’ll already have in the garden. Snow-in-Summer is a mass of silver groundcover plants that produce tiny white flowers and return every year. A Japanese Painted Fern is a great shade garden addition and gives off an exotic vibe that places it high on the lists of plants to add. If you are trying to fill a garden where growing conditions are less than ideal, add the silver leaves of a licorice plant to the mix!

 foliage plants snow in summerSource: Kathy Sturr on flickr (the white is Snow-in-Summer; license)

licorice foliage plantsSource: Jean-Pol GRANDMONT

Bright Yellow-Green Foliage Plants

Even though most plant foliage is green, bright yellow-green is a shade that is not as common and is a great way to add contrast to the garden. Sweet Potato Vines are bright and beautiful! They are commonly used in container gardens or anywhere their long reaching vines can go. We might try these around our pergola. Fire Island Hostas are bright yellow in color, but otherwise resemble traditional hosta varieties in shape and size. As the growing season progresses, the yellow leaves will turn a bright red and then fade.

sweet potato vine foliage plantsSource: cropped from Marilyn Cole on flickr (license)

What’s in your garden?

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