Spring and summer are considered the best seasons for planting flowers and vegetables. Still, something about autumn makes us think of gardens bursting with vibrant hues. And while we wait for the first frosty nights to arrive, let’s look at some beautiful foliage plants that offer a burst of color throughout the year.
These plants come in various shapes and sizes, from small shrubs to large trees, and feature leaves ranging from green to yellow to orange. They’ll make a statement wherever they grow, whether in a sunny window box or around a patio table.
Table of Contents
Here is the Comprehensive List of Plants with Colored Foliage for Your Garden
- Hostas are among the easiest houseplants to grow. They require little care and are easy to maintain. You don’t even need soil to keep them alive.
- They like full sun and well-drained soil if it rains too much, water less often.
- You can prune them once every few months to encourage bushy growth.
- If you want to divide your hostas, wait until they’ve been growing for about three years. Then, dig up the clumps and replant them into larger pots.
- Sedums are popular shade plants that grow quickly. They’re also drought-tolerant.
- To get started, plant seeds outdoors in early spring. Seeds germinate slowly during winter, so be patient.
- Planting seedlings indoors will ensure their survival through cold temperatures.
- Keep sedums watered regularly and fertilize frequently.
Colorful and interesting textures make Coleus a good choice for any garden design. Its compact height makes it perfect for containers. And it adds vibrant splashes of color to both flowerbeds and patios. In the old days, coleus was known as a shade plant. But today, wide newer varieties love showing off their bright colors under the full sun.
Whether you want bright, solid reds, pinks, and yellows or a mix of various bright hues, coleus will keep your yard looking bright and summery. You’ll find plenty of choices here.
Ivy is one of the most versatile plants you can add to your garden, especially if you live in an area with harsh winters. It grows fast, and its dense foliage turns an otherwise drab landscape into a verdant oasis.
It likes full sun and moist, slightly acidic soil. Water infrequently when it’s hot out.
Grow ivy over a trellis or arbor to give your space a vertical element.
- Hoyas have become more popular recently because of their unique shape and leaf patterns. The leaves resemble those of the banana tree. They grow in clusters and are usually arranged in circles.
- The size of hoyas varies greatly; some are small and easily grown in a pot, while others reach heights of 25 feet.
- Include them in your landscaping plan if you want a tropical feel. Planting hoyas in hanging baskets or terrariums is another great way to bring this plant into your home.
- Zinnias are among the easiest perennials to grow. Their blooms last almost all season long and are available in nearly every color imaginable.
- Start zinnias from seed indoors six weeks before the average last frost date.
- Zinnias take advantage of the full sun and fertile soil. Keep them watered regularly and fertilized occasionally.
Peonies are among the most popular flowering shrubs. Flowering peonies bloom from April to June, making them ideal for adding color to a perennial border.
Peonies prefer rich soil and a sunny spot.
- Hostas are easy to grow and inexpensive and come in hundreds of colorful strains.
- When planting hostas, choose spots sheltered from the wind and direct sunlight, such as shady corners of the yard.
- Water them deeply once a week, but don’t let them sit in standing water. This encourages mildew growth.
9. Smoke Tree
The smoke tree (Cotinoscoggygria), also known as the autumn olive, is a beautiful deciduous shrub native to North America. It grows up to 15 feet tall and wide and is often found growing along roadsides and near streams.
This hardy evergreen shrub produces large, bright green, ovate leaves throughout the summer months, turning red or orange in the fall. In the springtime, the trees produce small white flowers followed by round, fragrant fruits called drupes. When ripe, these fruits turn dark brown, making them perfect for adding color to landscapes during the late fall and winter seasons.
10. Coral Bells
Coral bells are low-lying shrub that adds color to autumn landscapes. They’re known by the genus Heucherella and come in many different hues. Their foliage is typically light green, sometimes with red, yellow, pink, or white highlights. Some varieties even boast their brightness with multi-colored leaves, making them easy to spot in the garden.
The plant itself is usually about 3 feet tall, although some varieties grow up to 5 feet. It blooms in late spring and early summer, producing small clusters of tiny flowers. These flowers are often blue, but there are plenty of variations, including white, lavender, and pink.
While most people think of coral bells as just another pretty flower, they actually have quite a few uses. For example, they make great cut flowers. You can pick them up while they’re still young and keep them in water until you’re ready to use them. Or, you can let them dry out naturally and store them in a vase.
Euonymus, commonly known as a spindle tree, is an attractive shade-loving plant that comes in various sizes and shapes. Its branches spread outward at a 45-degree angle, creating a broad canopy of green leaves. The plant’s foliage turns brilliant gold in the fall and has clusters of showy, golden-yellow flowers in the spring.
Euonymus prefers moist, well-drained soils in partial shade.
12. Purple Coneflower
Purple coneflower is one of the best plants for attracting butterflies to your garden. It’s especially effective if you add other nectar-rich plants nearby.
This perennial plant grows 4 to 6 inches high and spreads quickly through underground rhizomes. Its flower stems are 2 to 8 inches long and bloom in shades of purple, ranging from deep violet to pale lilac. Each flower lasts only a day or two before falling off the stem.
Rosemary is a woody evergreen shrub that doesn’t require much maintenance to look stunning year after year. There are dozens of varieties available, all of which offer interesting textures, colors, and scents. Many types of rosemary are grown specifically for their culinary qualities — the leaves can be used fresh or dried, and their oils are used in cooking.
Some varieties, however, are grown solely for their beauty. One such variety is ‘Haberlandia’, which features glossy burgundy-red leaves on a grayish trunk. Another popular type is ‘Lemon Aroma’ — its leaves smell like lemons when crushed.
|Plant Type||Scientific Name||Common Name||Description|
|Trees||Quercus robur||English Oak||Tall, woody plants with a single main stem (trunk).|
|Pinus sylvestris||Scots Pine||Typically have branches and leaves or needles.|
|Shrubs||Rhododendron ponticum||Pontic Rhododendron||Smaller than trees, with multiple stems at the base.|
|Rosa rugosa||Beach Rose||Usually less than 13 feet in height.|
|Herbs||Mentha × piperita||Peppermint||Non-woody plants, often used for culinary purposes.|
|Lavandula angustifolia||Lavender||Generally have green, soft stems.|
|Ferns||Pteridium aquilinum||Bracken Fern||Primitive vascular plants with fronds (leaves).|
|Grasses||Zea mays||Maize/Corn||Monocotyledonous plants with narrow leaves.|
|Vines||Vitis vinifera||Common Grape Vine||Climbing or trailing plants that need support.|
|Cacti||Opuntia ficus-indica||Prickly Pear Cactus||Succulent plants adapted to arid environments.|
|Aquatic Plants||Nymphaea odorata||Water Lily||Grow partially or fully submerged in water.|
|Mosses||Bryum capillare||Thread Moss||Non-vascular plants with simple, small leaves.|
|Algae||Chlorella vulgaris||Green Algae||Simple photosynthetic organisms, often in water.|
Snowdrops are one of the first signs of spring, and they’re among the easiest perennials to grow. They prefer full sun and average soil conditions. Once established, snowdrops can survive temperatures down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. And, because they don’t need to be watered very often, you’ll save money on water bills.
Snowdrops bloom from mid-March to May, depending on where you live. They produce a single cluster of tiny flowers, each no bigger than 1/16th inch across. Most varieties will have five petals: three smaller and two larger ones.
Tansy is a member of the mint family and one of the oldest medicinal herbs around. It was originally cultivated by ancient Egyptians for medicinal purposes and remained highly valued throughout history. Today, tansy is widely used to flavor foods and drinks and makes wonderful potpourri.
It’s a low-maintenance perennial that thrives in full sun and regular moisture. Although wide varieties exist, the most common types include ‘Bertram Anderson’ (pictured here) and ‘White Swan.
Vincas are easy-to-grow vines that provide a lush background for summer blooms. They’re ideal additions to any garden, but they do require some care along the way. If you want to try growing vinca, start with seeds instead of seedlings. This way, you won’t have to wait until next season to enjoy your new plants.
Vincas thrive in full sun and average soil. To keep them happy, water every few days during the warmest months of the year. You may notice that the leaves turn yellow in the wintertime. That’s perfectly normal, but it’s not harmful. This coloration actually helps protect the plant against cold weather.
Verbena is an easy-care perennial that’s perfect for shady gardens. It’s drought tolerant and prefers well-drained soils with lots of organic matter.
Verbenas come in a wide range of bright and cheerful hues, including blue, white, pink, orange, and red. The flowers last up to 10 weeks, so once they’ve faded away, simply cut off the dead stalks.
Yarrow is a hardy, aromatic herb native to Europe and Asia. Its feathery foliage adds texture to borders and borders, while its tiny purple flowers add interest during warmer seasons.
Yarrow likes full sun and moist soil, although it does tolerate drier conditions if given adequate irrigation. It grows quickly and lasts about four years before flowering again.
Begonia is one of the world’s most popular houseplants. They’re easy to grow, require little care, and produce beautiful blooms throughout the year. But there’s another reason why people love begonias: their unique leaf shapes.
There are thousands of begonia species, many of which are grown indoors because they don’t like cold weather. Most popular among gardeners are begonias with attractive foliage. These include begonias with colorful leaves, such as B. rex.
There is nothing more descriptive about how begonias look than their common name, ‘painted leaf begonia’. Their leaves are covered in intricate designs, often featuring bright colors.
20. Jolt Pink Dianthus
Dianthus with large, colorful, fringed flower heads grows on strong stems. Typically preferring cool spring temperatures, Jolt Pink is heat tolerant, so it should perform well throughout the summer to make for beautiful garden flowers. Easy to grow in containers, it’s an ideal choice for those who prefer neat gardens.
Hardiness zones 7-10, or plant as an annual. Grow Jolt Pink in full sun and average soil moisture levels. Plant seeds 2 inches deep and 12 inches apart. Water regularly during dry spells. Remove spent blooms to encourage new growth.
18. Blackbeard Penstemon
This heat-, humidity- and cool-tolerant perennial attracts hummingbirds. “Blackbeard,” named for the pirate buried near Charleston, South Carolina, features white-accented purple flowers rising above dark-green, mounded foliage.
It grows to 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide and blooms from mid-spring into fall. Seedpods follow, extending the flowering season. Blackbeard is hardy in ZONES 3-8. Grows best in full sun and slightly alkaline soil. Keep weeds at bay by mulching around the base and periodically clipping back. Good luck.
21. Purple Painted Lady Butterfly Weed
Purple-painted lady butterfly weed (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum) has been cultivated since ancient times and was even mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey. It’s a low-maintenance, late-summer bloomer that will attract butterflies.
Native to North America, this easy-to-grow sunflower is drought-tolerant and thrives in partial shade. It can be planted directly in your yard, but we recommend planting in pots first.
22. Echinacea ‘Crown Imperial’
Echinacea comes in various colors, but none quite match the bold reds, oranges, and purples of Echinacea ‘Cream Scent’. This showstopper is perfect for attracting butterflies. A compact clump of plants reaches 8-12 inches high and spreads itself out over time. Best suited for light shade and medium, well-drained soils. Echinacea ‘crown imperial’ is hardy in USDA zones 6-9.
23. Blue Spruce Azalea
Blue spruce azaleas are a favorite in the Midwest for their rich blue coloration. The flowers appear in early spring and last until frost. They come in several varieties, including ‘Honeycomb’, ‘Lacecap’, ‘Powderpuff’, and ‘Violet Iceberg’. Use a dwarf cultivar if planting in a container. For best results, keep the stalks short and prune off any dead branches after flowering.
24. Coral Bellflowers
Bellflowers have long been associated with weddings and funerals. But these cheerful bedding plants add cheer to every day, too. Coral bells have small, trumpet-shaped blooms in shades of pink, coral, orange, yellow, peach, salmon, lavender, and white. These versatile perennials thrive in the sun, shade, and moist, acidic soil. You can find bellflowers in many garden centers.
Sedums are easy to care for and come in many colors and varieties. They’re perfect for adding height and texture to a garden. In addition to being beautiful, sedums offer a bounty of nectar for pollinators. But don’t let that fool you into thinking you’ll never see a bee buzzing around your yard again. Bees aren’t just attracted to flowers; they’re drawn to plant roots too. Sedums’ root systems are particularly good at attracting insects.
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]
1. How Many Types Of Foliage Are There?
Simple leaves and compound leaves are two types of leaves. In addition to acicular, linear, lanceolate, orbicular leaves, elliptical leaves, oblique leaves, and centric cordate leaves are also types of leaves.
2. What Is The Difference Between A Simple Leaf And A Compound Leaf?
It is generally accepted that compound leaves have more than one blade on each side. Compound leaves include palmate, pinnate, bipinnate, ternate, quinate, and tripinnate. Simple leaves only have one blade per side.
3. What Do I Need To Know About Choosing Plants For My Landscaping Project?
First, ensure the plants you choose are appropriate for your climate zone. Second, consider how much space you have and what growing conditions you want to achieve. Finally, think about which plants will fit into your budget.
4. Can I Use Houseplants As Landscape Plants?
Yes. Houseplants are an excellent way to bring some greenery into your home. Some even provide free air filtration by removing toxins from the air. When it comes to choosing plants for your landscape, look for those that can tolerate shady areas and dry conditions. Most houseplants are very low maintenance and require little water once established.
5. Do All Plants Grow The Same Size?
Not necessarily. Different factors influence growth rates. Planting time, light intensity, temperature, and watering habits affect plant size. If you want a specific-sized plant, be prepared to wait longer or invest in faster-growing species.
We hope this list has helped you get started planning your landscape design. Those above plants will surely make your garden colorful and eye-catching to your neighbors. So, what are you waiting for? Start making your rainbow garden.