best foliage perennial plant for the garden

VerdunVerdun Posts: 23,348

be interesting to read what you all consider to be the best foliage perennial plant and why.

the old memory aint wot it used to be so forgive me if this has already featured. hostas will no doubt be mentioned but beyond them what else?

I mention this because I recently planted some coleus in the garden...despite not really happy with "annuals" add a splash of impact.  not as a group but as solo performers to complement existing planting.  I considered carefully before planting and I think it works......

and, to remove the flowers or not? As with hostas the flowers can detract from the foliage so.............



  • WintersongWintersong Posts: 2,436

    Personal experience shall rule in this discussion I'm sure, so, whilst being no expert in the field of horticultural wonder, I would like to say that foliage is absolutely my main ingredient in designing my garden and choosing plant combinations. This is just my absolutely favourite subject Verdun! image

    I adore any foliage that changes colour through the seasons so photinias, Spiraeas, Acers (obviously) Pieris, Huecheras, Virginia creeper, Elders...and don't forget the bark and stalks, my Eucalyptus has amazing peeling bark in spring/summer, especially when it rains...gosh the list is endless really, and so exciting!

    I try to place changeable plants near each other so I balance out rusts and oranges with the cooler tones of those plants I discover that have a fresh blue or grey foliage such as pinks in spring/summer and my Euphorbia in autumn.



    I'm still building this border and the photo is two years old now so this year's autumn colour will be especially exciting for me with the additions I've made since.

    Sedums for one which have amazing foliage changing qualities, not just the flower heads. 

    Hebe Red Edge changes foliage nearly all the seasons from deep mauve in winter, through pinky red to grey in autumn, so I've planted it near a rose that greens up brightly in spring with those red tinted new tips that harmonize really well.

    Other plants I'm still experimenting with but even the hated Crocosmia has a glorious autumn death worth planting near some small leaved bluish hebes or other evergreens perhaps, then there's the blue stalks of eryngiums besides the flowers...

    I could go on and on, but I'm really keen to read what others have to say..I may be stealing ideas image

  • WintersongWintersong Posts: 2,436

    P.S Ferns too, amazing colour changes that I just love. I'll shut up now image

  • bookmonsterbookmonster Posts: 196

    That Hebe sounds interesting, and I agree with you on elder, we have a lovely specimen. We also have a variegated sage and a golden oregano (or marjoram. They got a bit mixed up) that have  lovely contrasting foliage at the moment.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,707
    Wintersong wrote (see)

    P.S Ferns too, amazing colour changes that I just love. I'll shut up now image


    Ferns yes- wonderful foliage plants - contrast beautifully with so many others. The dark plummy Heuchera foliage is great too and I have a Ligularia whose leaves are like giant heucheras.

    For me - I think it has to be Fatsia though.

  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,820

    I have Artemesia 'Powis Castle'. Fine fern-like silver foliage that gives off a distinctive aromatic scent when brushed or squeezed. Plant it where your hand can brush it as you go past

    Had it in previous house as well. Classed, I think, as a sub-shrub looks great with purple flowers, reddy foliage and other contrasting plants

  • WintersongWintersong Posts: 2,436

    I've always wanted that plant Matty2 but never found it on foot, perhaps I will look for it online now you have reminded me image

  • SwissSueSwissSue Posts: 1,447

    I'm a skimmia fan, attractive flower heads and makes a nice compact bush.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,581

    In this garden the ferns and hostas play a major role  image

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • Heuchera, pulmonaria, ive also got a ligularia with great big fancy leaves called dragon wings or something similar. Tradescantia are quite nice too with their yellow leaves. Artemisia is nice and grows like a bugger, needs regular pruning to keep it looking good, you could pretty much make hundreds of plants from it every year as the prunings root easily.

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