5 Fun Foliage Plants! (Friday Fives)

Let’s be real, foliage is more important than flowers!  Foliage is there 3 out of the four seasons and unless you have some fantastic re-blooming plant that blooms incessantly from spouting to leaf drop you aren’t going to have something interesting all the time – unless you plant with foliage.  Color, leaf texture, leaf shape, and leaf size all make foliage plants focal points in the garden that draw the eye even when there isn’t a flower to be seen!  Below is a list of 5 plants that I plant for foliage reasons.  Some have other attributes as well and some are quite common but are well worth planting in your garden.

5 Fun Foliage Plants!

    ‘Powis Castle’ Artemisia
  1. Alphabetically for this list we’ll start off with artemisia!  Its common name would put it at the end of the alphabet: wormwood.  Not a very pleasant name to me so we’ll stick with artemisia.  There are some types of artemisia that are very invasive – don’t plant those, but there are others that are awesome!  ‘Powis Castle’  grows to about 5′ in diameter and 18-14 inches tall.  It’s height and girth are dependent on the amount of sun and other growing conditions.  It’s silver colored foliage is a perfect foil for purple flowering salvia or coneflowers but it’s very versitile.  It’s also been 100% deer proof in my garden which makes it extremely important!  Another possibility is ‘Silver Mound’ artemisia.  It’s small size makes it more of a ground cover but I’ve found it problematic.  The fine foliage gets matted when it rains which makes the whole plant look like an unhappy cat after a bath!  At least it won’t scratch you…
  2. Caladium

    Caladiums are a great bulb plant with the awful downside that they aren’t hardy in our area.  I usually plant some as annuals because of their variegated heart shaped leaves.  It’s also possible to dig them and bring them indoors for the winter.  Caldiums like the shade like a couple other foliage plants in this post.

  3. Coleus is another cool, but common foliage plant.  It’s great for filling in gaps in shady area.  Keep the tips pinched for really bushy plants.  You can easily make more coleus with stem tip cuttings in water.  Generally coleus is very cheap to add to your garden but there are some more designer varieties like ‘Henna’ that can tolerate more sun and can be much more expensive.  Try comparing a $2 six pack to a $6 single plant.  
  4. Hostas are a foliage favorite in many gardens, including mine.  Some get quite large – over 5 feet around and 3 feet high, while others can be very tiny.  Leaf colors range from bluish green to a stark white.  The white colored leaf hostas tend to be more finicky.  For varieties try finding a ‘Ginkgo Craig’ which has a more pointed leaf shape and smaller size than some or ‘Sum and Substance’ which has large green leaves and can tolerate a little more sun than other hostas.  If you have deer just move on to the next choice unless you like providing them with a convenient hosta salad bar…
    Hostas and Heucheras in the Shade Garden
  5. Heucheras are simply amazing.  Maybe I’m overstating it, maybe not.  Leaf colors range from marbled greens to dark purples and have all kind of variations in between!  ‘Midnight Rose’, ‘Silver Scrolls’, ‘Dale’s Strain’, and several other grace our garden.  Deer generally don’t bother them but will when there isn’t anything else around – as in winter. 

There are quite a few other foliage plants available to choose from and limiting this list to 5 more common selections was difficult!  What foliage plants do you insist on having in your garden?

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