Sue’s Favorite Foliage Plants – FineGardening


Hi from Sue Webel in North Canton, Conneticut (Zone 6a).

Recently you asked for us to share some of our favorite foliage plants. Creating interesting foliage vignettes has always been my primary goal when making my gardens. Here are a few of my many favorites.

Aralia cordata ‘Sun King’ (Zone 4 – 8 is one of my favorite large perennials for foliage. Often suggested for shade, I find it grows best in a fair amount of sun as long as the soil isn’t too dry. In this area of my garden, I love the foliage and textural contrast with another favorite foliage star, Ligularia ‘Britt Marie Crawford’ (Zone 4 – 8), Aralia elata ‘Silver Umbrella’ (Zone 4 – 9) and Kalimeris integrifolia (Zone 5 – 9).

Aralia ‘Sun King’ growing happily in part shade with Acer palmatum ‘Twombly’s Red Sentinel’ (Zone 5 – 9), Gillenia trifoliata (Zone 4 – 8), and a Hosta (Zone 3 – 9).

Because I grow it all over my garden, I have many pictures of Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ (Zone 5 – 9). Like Aralia ‘Sun King’, I find it grows well in a variety of soil qualities and sun exposures. Here I love it with Echinacea ‘White Swan’ (Zone 3 – 8) and Cercis canadensis ‘Ruby Falls’ (Zone 6 – 8).

In the front garden with a hellebore (Helleborus hyrid, Zone 4 – 9) and Geranium maculatum ‘Espresso’ (Zone 5 – 8).

Astilbe ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ (Zone 4 – 9) is relatively new to the perennial scene but well worth growing. I consider it one of the best new perennial introductions in years. The almost black foliage is sublime, doesn’t fade and holds up for most of the season. Dark purple flowers are the icing on the cake.

Chasmanthium latifolium ‘River Mist’ (Zone 3 – 8) may be hard to find but it shouldn’t be. Unlike its plain green cousin, it doesn’t reseed all over the garden.

I have been singing the praises of Phlox paniculate ‘Norah Leigh’ (Zone 4 – 8) for years. Like many of my other foliage favorites, it grows in a variety of sun and soil conditions, pairs well with many other plants, and holds up well all season.

Caryopteris (Zone 6 – 8) may not be on your radar as a foliage plant, but they are among my favorites. They prefer sunny spots with good drainage and tolerate relatively poor soil.

Some caryopteris varieties haven’t been reliably hardy here in zone 6a, but both ‘White Surprise’ and ‘Summer Sorbet’ have grown happily here for years.

I share my garden photos on Instagram: @musabasjoosue

 

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