Dazzling Foliage Carries the Show!

By Kerry Ann Mendez

One of the easiest ways to add three seasons of color to a landscape is with foliage.

Let's face it - leaves require a lot less maintenance than most flowers. Yes, we need flowers for their beauty and as a food source for pollinators, but if we introduce more color from leaves (other than various shades/tints of green), we would have much more vibrant gardens that require a lot less effort.

Plant This, Not That

With all the exciting breeding in the green industry, there are many cool switcheroos possible. For example, instead of using a hardy Geranium like 'Johnson's Blue' with ho-hum green leaves, you could opt for Geranium p. 'Boom Chocolatta' that has dark chocolate, lacy leaves adorned by rich blue-purple flowers. Or perhaps swap the standard Astilbe with Astilbe 'Chocolate Shogun' and its glossy, purple-brown leaves. And just one glance at benches of Coral Bells (Heuchera) and Foamy Bells (Heucherella) will dazzle the eye with the kaleidoscope of foliage colors: peach, electric yellow, black, purple, orange, rose and more.

Made in the Shade

Plants with silver, white or yellow/chartreuse in their leaves are invaluable for shade gardens. These colors reflect limited sunlight, brighten dim corners, and "shine the light" on companion plants. Some of my favorite perennials are Brunnera 'Jack Frost', Hosta 'Patriot', 'Afterglow' and 'Sum & Substance', Japanese Painted Fern 'Ghost', silver-leaved Lamium 'Purple Dragon', Aralia 'Sun King' (the 2020 Perennial of the Year), and Hakonechloa 'All Gold', 'SunFlare' and 'Aureola'.

Trees, Shrubs and More

Sizzling foliage is not restricted to just perennials! There are exotic specimens to choose from among shrubs, trees, annuals, tropicals, and vegetables too. For an eye-popping array of stunning foliage plants, simply take a stroll in our nursery and be ready to be dazzled!