Start a new thread

1 to 20 of 21 replies

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.............


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!

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


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

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.

Wintersong wrote (see)

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

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.



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


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


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


In this garden the ferns and hostas play a major role  


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.

wintersong...we are much on the same wavelength

powys castle is a favourite of mine too...always propagating it.  beware of most other artemisias though...they are rampant without you knowing it then suddenly there they are shoots several feet or more away and they are difficult to remove.  Powys Castle is best pinched out at least 3 times in the summer....done mine once already. always planted where it can be touched or brushed against...beautiful well behaved tactile silver and also wonderful next to dwarf berberis atro pur nana.  for a trio plant linum adds intense blue on a small swaying glaucous blue foliaged slender gem of a plant.


That's a beautiful combo Verdun, I'm sold


I like epimediums especially in the Spring when the new foliage grows. They are so handy for difficult shady places.

Not that keen on coleus, it has a sort of a fake look. I will mention hostas! Love them.

I also love my sambucus "Black Lace".


Didn't know that about pinching the artemesia out, may be useful as mine is in its first year. I have tried cuttings in the past to no avail, but then I know more since joining forums, and I always know where to ask 

The planting combo sounds lovely - may have a go as it is a part of the bed still to be developed ( annuals this year) and I was thinking today I need some purple foliage (not shrub though) any ideas?


While on subject of artemesia, I also have artemesia Ludoviciana. Is this one I should remove as to rampant?



What type of coleus have you got, Verdun.?  There were some in the seed catalogue that looked like molten lava, all crinkly edged and dark purple and red. I could see that a patch of these in front of something bright yellow would make a nice contrast. Very volcanic, if you know what I mean.

For a perennial with purple interesting foliage, try Persicaria 'Red Dragon', just be aware that it can be quite rampant if it likes its position

Darmera peltata is a big fave with me - I dont use it as a pond marginal as I find it too rampant, but in heavy soil in the open garden its a fine addition and easy to keep on top of whe you don't have to wade to get to it. Very similar feel to gunnera, but ardy and not so ridiculously huge. Also foliage turns fiery in autumn.

Heuchera 'lime rickey' or 'key lime pie'. Glorious zingy green in shade, ghastly sick yellow in sun. Evergreen and very very tough. Also dead easy to propagate from the teeniest bits. Lovely with euphorbias, dicentras and any of your other typical spring woodlanders. I usually snip the flowers off so I can see wot's behind better.

Bergenia cordifolia. I cant grow hostas - they're eaten before they're fully up in my shady garden of dry stone walls (snail heaven) - so I use bergenia as an evergreen alternative. If you take off old leaves in early spring the fresh growth is lovely and some have gorgeous deep purply flowers as a bonus, as well as the standard pink and white. Luscious in big swathes, with taller, finer-leaved things behind.

Could go on forever. And don't get me started on shrubs, Wintergreen. We'd only make each other worse...



Fidgetbones, far from an expert on coleus.  Always felt they said above..bit fake.  I bought them cos they hit me in the face with their beauty.  One with green, red n yellow and others with red and orange.  The green....a in a terracotta pot and the others planted out.

Matty, ludoviciana is one to beware of.  I bought one last summer knowing it would spread but thinking I could dig it up again at summer's end and just use it as a summer dot plant.  I was shocked at its energy to take over.  Matty best take it out

Heike, love red dragon and it's well behaved with me but I do watch it. Again, it benefits from regular summer pinching and I do not let it flower....this spoils the plant


wow - I haven't even heard of half of those. The main perennial plants we use (as we are just starting out and using the plants already in the garden) are wide and varied. But my favourite is the Liliaceae (Ophiopogon planiscapus)'black mondo grass' mixed in with our ferns - but I wish it could be bigger (elephant grass size would be ideal). (a moving in present from Arthur the 'old boy' from next door - thats why it's my favourite).