By Keri Byrum
Adding color to your garden and yard doesn't have to mean just planting flowers. Here are five plants that add plenty of interest with their colorful foliage and leaves.
Stromanthe (Stromanthe sanguinea ‘Triostar’). The impressive foliage on this plant is one of my favorite ways to add color to our shady garden. A hardy plant reaching 2 feet tall, the mounding leaves are pest free, and extremely tough in dry conditions.
Crotons (Codiaeum variegatum) add color in full sun areas. You can find many varieties, ranging from red to orange to yellow, with different leaf shapes and color patterns. They are slow growing but good in containers or planted.
Bromeliads. These vase-shape plants come in a wide variety of colors. (This type, neoregelia, is shorter, and often flush with dazzlingly bright colors.) Their water-holding ability makes them drought tolerant and good for a garden’s dry areas.
Coleus. Planted during warm months, coleus plants are vigorous and colorful. New coleus varieties now tolerate sunny conditions. If plants get too large, easily trim them back to encourage shorter, more compact growth. That’s ‘Coleosaurus’ in the top photo and ‘Mainstreet Riverwalk’ to the right.
Loropetalum (Loropetalum chinense). The dark-purple leaves of loropetalum, like this Purple Pixie, contrast with other plants. This variety stays short, about 12 inches, and keeps the dark color all year. Make sure to plant purple-leaf varieties in sunny spots, where the color is best seen.
Tip: All these foliage plants look best when massed in sets of three or more. Their colorful leaves have the most impact when grouped together.