Beyond Blooms

Coleus and Ornamental Peppers

Add brilliant splashes of non-stop color to your garden with an array of sensational foliage plants. Foliage, like flowers, comes in a kaleidoscope of colors from pinks, reds, and purples to yellow, acid green and silver and each leaf is a work of art. Mix and match them with flowering plants for beautiful results.

Instant Color that Lasts all Summer Long

As soon as you add them to containers and flower borders, they go to work filling your garden with lasting color.

Consistent Performance

Flowering plants shine during their blooming cycle, but then fade into the background until they bloom again. Foliage plants start out strong and just get bigger and better as they grow and fill out through the summer with no spent flowers to deadhead.

Create Depth and Interest

Dark foliage plants create a sense of depth and shadow in a flowerbed, giving the design more dimension and interest.

More Texture, Shape and Form

Along with fabulous leaf color, plant breeders have created an amazing array of foliage shapes and textures: spiny, fuzzy, waxy, serrated, and glossy, to name a few. Some varieties add architectural elements by the way they grow.

Low Maintenance

Unlike some fussy flowering plants, many of the foliage varieties are the real workhorses in the garden. Plant them in the right growing conditions and they will thrive with little care.


Some foliage plants are so vigorous they can almost take over a flower border or container. But that can be just what you need when you want to cover large areas in vivid color.

Five Great Foliage Plants

Here is a selection of foliage plants that I have grown with great success in my garden. Check with your local garden center for those best suited for your area.

  • Coleus


    There are a great number of fantastic coleus varieties available. Look for both upright and cascading forms in a wide array of patterns, leaf shapes and colors. The plants grow quickly in full sun to partial shade. Great for containers and flower borders.

  • Sweet Potato Vine

    'Marguerite' Sweet Potato Vine (Ipomoea batatas)

    Long luxurious vines of lime-green to bright yellow-green foliage make this a great contrast plant for any garden. This plant is effective as an annual groundcover, growing only 6 inches tall but 3 feet long. Try it in containers, tumbling out of hanging baskets and potted planters.

  • Persian Shield

    Persian Shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus)

    Darkly dramatic, this plant's deep purple leaves coated in a metallic silver sheen add an intriguing luster when combined with other full to partial sun flowering plants. Grow Persian shield with purple, burgundy or pink flowers.

  • Artemisia


    Silvery fernlike leaves make it a good choice for filling and highlighting a border, blending strong colors in a container, or as a low hedge along a walkway. The leaves deeply cut lobes have the look of antique silver filigree. It is a perennial that thrives in heat and well-drained soil.

  • Creeping Jenny

    Golden Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea')

    The electric green strands with small round to kidney shaped leaves act as a colorful "live wire" that gets the party going in any plant combination. Low and cascading, it is a perennial that enjoys full sun to partial shade conditions.

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