Leaves of Accents
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Spice up your leafy greens with style and diversity. A full menu of foliage colors and forms will get you almost any look you can imagine. After flowers have faded, a range of colorful foliage remains vibrant for multi-season interest. Or choose a more subdued palette and let contrasts in texture take the forefront. Another important aspect to consider is form and size. From ground-hugging to sky-high, use unique foliage forms as striking architectural focal points. Then savor your artistic endeavors indoors with distinctive cut arrangements.
Cordyline australis 'Atropurpurea' (Dracaena a.)
– This palm-like sub-tropical tree makes a striking focal plant with its fountain of arching bright burgundy and reddish-bronze sword-like leaves. For a more graceful plant, cut back when young to force multiple trunks. Mature plants bear clusters of small, starry, fragrant white flowers in late spring.
Coprosma repens 'Marble Queen' (C. baueri)
– 'Marble Queen' is a dwarf cultivar of the species and has attractive, glossy, variegated leaves of creamy white with irregular splashes or spots of green. Tolerates full sun in coastal climates.
– One of the few hydrangeas native to North America, Oak Leaf Hydrangea is not your grandma's hydrangea. A natural choice for a woodland garden, the unique shape and large size of the lobed leaves is intensified in autumn when they blaze into brilliant fall colors. Stunning white flower clusters are a delight in spring and summer. Thrives in dry locations.
Heuchera 'Assorted Varieties'
– This wild American native has been tamed and bred to bring you some of the most attractive and colorful foliage for dry shady conditions. Foliage colors are constantly improving, with colors ranging from greens and yellows to reds and purples, and even black. And let's not forget the spring bounty of tiny bell-shaped flowers on wand-like stems that give Coral Bells their name.
– If you want to set a jaw-dropping scene, Honey Bush is the plant for you. Luxuriant blue-gray-green leaves are a substantial 12 inches long with serrated leaflets. Honey-scented maroon flower spikes rise dramatically overhead to bloom from late winter to spring. This fast-growing evergreen shrub can grow up to 12 feet tall. Prune hard to keep plant tidy.
Drought Tolerant Selections from Plants Express
Ligularia tussilaginea 'Aureo-maculata' (Farfugium japonicum)
– Random speckles of creamy-yellow spots are highly decorative on the glossy green leaves of Leopard Plant. The large 6-10 inch wide leaves form mounds about 2 feet tall. In late summer through fall, yellow daisy-like flowers bloom on tall stems above the foliage.
Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii' (Musa e.)
– Make Red Banana the bold centerpiece of your tropical garden. Everything about this banana-like perennial is dramatic: the fat bronze-colored trunk, dark red leaf stalks and huge paddle-shaped leaves in shades ranging from wine-red to pale green. Fast growing to a height of 15-20 feet in 5 years.
– Reserve a seat at sunset to be wowed by the brilliance of backlit bronze, pink, green and red foliage. This brightly striped New Zealand Flax has wide arching bronze-green leaves with rose-pink margins and streaks that fade to cream in summer. This spectacular phormium is 'hot' in a sunny garden. Dramatic upright form to 6-8 feet tall.