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Mountain Gardening: Leafy Stars Add to Summer Gardens

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Foliage plants can take over when summer starts to zap annual flower gardens. Here are some of the best foliage plants for Mountain region gardens.

bright-green and purple coleus plants in containers

By Jodi Torpey

Foliage plants typically take a backseat to the showy flowers of summer. But when those flowers start to fade, leafy plants can take their places with ease. Although primarily used for creating a garden backdrop, foliage plants add color, texture, and interest on their own.

colorful coleus mix with green and purple foliage plants

Coleus plants are often filler material in containers, but they can stand out in the garden. New varieties of sun coleus are easy to grow, and they keep their brilliant colors, even in bright sunlight, above. For the best show, mix the colors of coleus plants with other types of foliage plant such as purple and green coralbells (Heuchera) surrounding the coleus to the right.

large variegated green hosta leaves in shade

Hug a Hosta

There’s nothing like hostas to help fill empty areas. These large-leaf foliage plants add interest where flowers can’t. Hostas prefer shady spaces but do well with morning sun.

A great feature about hostas is there are so many varieties! A creative approach is to mix hosta leaf sizes with other foliage plants. Combining foliage plants with different leaf shapes also makes for an especially striking display.

curly kale leaves in garden with pink and yellow flowers

All Hail Kale

Ornamental kale is a versatile foliage plant. Its curly leaves come in different color combinations that grow well with ornamental flowers. Because kale is typically a hardy plant, it keeps growing when other annuals are tempted to stop.

deeply cut green leaves fill a container

Leaf It to Begonias

Some foliage begonias have such striking leaves, they’re planted for their shapes and patterns instead of flowers. ‘Gryphon’ is a favorite for its large, metallic, clawlike leaves that hover over bronze stems. Containers filled with these tropical-looking plants add depth to gardens that get morning sun and afternoon shade.

These foliage plants are no shrinking violets. How will you use them to spice up your summer garden?

Best Foliage Plants for YOUR Area of the Country

See how much interest plants can generate without flowers. Our advice—tailored to your neck of the woods—will open up a whole new world of gardening to you.

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Mountain Gardening

Grow a diverse, colorful and gorgeous garden in the Mountain region.

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Gardening & Planting Tips by Region

Check out a variety of garden ideas, plans, articles, videos and projects for your region. No matter what region you live in, Lowe's has garden tips for you.

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