We all want constant color in our gardens, but keeping everyday color with flowers can be a challenge. Adding colorful leaved plants to set off the flowers in your garden will provide color when flowering plants are going through a nonblooming cycle or growing out of a trim.
There are the more typical green-white variegated plants, but here are some other options for striking foliage to add to your enjoyment all year long:
n Snowbush aka “Snow on the Mountain” -- Pretty whitish green leaves tinged with pink on the new growth and dark pink stems. An airy shrub best kept about 3 feet. Grow in full to part sun.
n Queen Emma crinum lily -- Big spiky upright purplish leaves and an occasional stunning flower. Part sun to part shade, grows large, about 5-6’.
n “Lava Red” hibiscus -- Wildly colored red-green leaves with red flowers makes this one striking plant. Full to part sun, keep about 3-4 feet.
n Variegated “Shell” ginger -- Large tropical leaves in yellow and green, prettiest in part sun to part shade. Can grow 3-5 feet tall and wide.
n Ti plant (“Red Sister” dracaena) -- A beauty queen with brilliant red-purple leaf tips, with best color during winter. Plant in part sun to part shade. Other dracaena/cordyline varieties offer other stunning color choices.
n Croton -- The ultimate in leaf-color, with so many varieties to choose from it can make your head spin. Reds, oranges, yellows and even pinks offer outstanding color bursts to any landscaping. Full to part sun for most varieties.
n Gold mound -- Scene-stealing color with bright yellow-green leaves. Best in full to part sun, keep about 3 feet.
n Copper-leaf plant -- Varieties in bronze-red, mottled pink and cream and green leaves. A fast grower you can keep 3-4 feet. Full to part sun brings out best color.
n Purple queen -- Deep purple crawling groundcover with itty bitty lavender-pink flowers. Best in part sun to part shade.
n “Little John” azalea -- A cold-hardy dwarf azalea with dark reddish leaves (and spring flowers to match), gives color all year in sun to part shade.
n Loropetalum -- Gorgeous burgundy-leaved plant, best in part sun, cold hardy. Tiny fringe-like pink flowers on and off. Varieties in small to medium heights.
n “Party Time” alternanthera -- Pretty bright pink and green leaves on a small plant you can keep about 2 feet tall. Happiest in part sun to part shade.
Books by Chase Landre, “Snowbird Gardening” and “Design Your Own Landscaping,” are available at local garden centers and businesses. For more information, visit www.snowbirdgardening.com. Her gardening column runs twice a month in Neighbors. Meet Chase from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays at Burnett’s Nursery, 4808 18th St. E., Bradenton.