As you’re planning your summer garden, don’t forget the foliage! Foliage plants are chosen for the beauty of their leaves, rather than their flowers. Some foliage plants have colorful leaves, such as coleus. Others have striking geometric patterns, like the canna lily (which also has showy flowers). Still others are selected because of their unique shape, such as cactuses or succulents.
Here are three great ways to use foliage plants in your garden:
1. Foliage as focal point.
Foliage plants make great focal points in the garden. One of my favorite foliage plants for this purpose is the elephant ear. In this picture, you can see how the elephant ear draws the eye with its glowing color, surprising height, and huge leaves.
2. Foliage as contrast.
Foliage plants can also provide contrast – either with other foliage plants or against flowering plants. In this rather enthusiastic pot on my patio, the burgundy coleus makes the pink impatiens “pop” even more than they would by themselves.
3. Foliage as landscape.
Each year, I am amazed at stunning garden landscapes that don’t contain a single flower. Some explode with color, texture, contrast. Others carry through a single color theme to create a space of cool silver, vibrant yellow, or rich red. The landscape below is created with coleus and Persian Shield.
So plan for foliage – take full advantage of the amazing effects it can bring to your summer garden!