Foliage plants accent flowers in a hanging basket. Gardeners can also mix and match foliage to create hanging baskets with no blooms. The variety of color, texture and shape in foliage plants can surprise new gardeners. Hanging basket foliage plants are grown as annuals, though they can survive over the winter in subtropical and tropical climates.
Licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare) trails from hanging baskets in hues of silver, green or lime. This plant tolerates dry, hot heat and provides contrasting foliage for your hanging basket throughout spring and summer. The long plant stalks eventually produce creamy white flowers. Licorice plant is typically grown as an annual, though it can grow perennially in tropical climates.
Dusty miller (Senecio cineraria) provides colorful foliage from spring until the first frost. This plant can grow up to 12 inches tall and equally wide. Dusty miller features whitish-silver fringed leaves, which are covered in a fine fuzz. The plant develops bright yellow blossoms.
Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) features brightly colored variegated foliage in hues of lime, fuchsia, purple, red and yellow. The plant averages 1 to 3 feet in height and width. Coleus is not frost tolerant but will provide its colorful foliage from summer to early fall. Gardeners can find trailing forms of coleus for hanging baskets or stick to bushier types.
Ornamental Sweet Potato
Ornamental sweet potato comes in an array of colors, from pale green to blackish purple. This trailing vine grows rapidly and works well in hanging baskets and other containers. Ornamental sweet potato will produce a tuber that is edible, according to the University of Massachusetts. The tuber can grow large, but newer varieties have less pronounced tubers. This vining plant fares best in warm temperatures of 70 F in the day and 55 F at night.