Information on Foliage Plants


Green leaves are predominant in gardens but foliage plants, like lamb's ear or silver mound, provide an eye-catching contrast. Coming in different shapes, sizes and textures, foliage plants are grown and prized more for their leaves than their flowers. In fact, some foliage plants don't produce flowers at all.

Deceiving Appearance

Foliage plants with pale or yellow leaves may appear to be sick or malnourished to the non-expert eye. Planters usually put in more than one type of foliage plant to show that their inclusion is deliberate.

Garden Use

Gardeners separate grouped foliage plants with clumps of green foliage for contrast and balance.


The plant's height usually ranges from six to 36 inches, but they can shoot up to over 20 feet tall.


These plants showcase leaves in a variety of colors, including: bronze, gold, silver, blue, purple and burgundy.

Textures & Shapes

Foliage leaves feel smooth, fuzzy, rough or waxy, and are round, heart, sword or otherwise uniquely shaped.


Hosta plant foliage comes in green, yellow, blue and variegated shades, and the Frances Williams species is one of the most striking with it's large bluish leaves and irregular gold margins. The oxalis plant features clover-like leaves tinged with a darker color at the base, and the dusty miller has silvery or white, felt-like leaves.


  • "The Flower Gardener's Bible"; Lewis and Nancy Hill; 2003
  • Purdue Univresity: Colorful Foliage of Annuals
  • GardeningKnowHow.comFoliage Plants: There's more to a garden than just flowers
Keywords: foliage plant information, about foliage plants, foliage leaves

About this Author

Sable Woods worked as a staff member of her high school newspaper and co-editor of the yearbook. In addition to writing for Demand Studios, she has written articles for Associated Content, ELance clients, and for use in marketing websites.