There is such a wealth of textures and colors to be found in the foliage of annual plants these days. The slideshow below showcases some of the diversity.
- The compact and nubby Sedum 'Lemon Coral' provides a pop of chartreuse color that works well in pots or landscape beds.
- Ornamental grasses are great for soft flowing foliage, and they come in so many sizes and colors. Pennisetum 'Vertigo' is excellent if you need a very large and bold plant with dark foliage but it does not produce seed heads like some ornamental grasses do.
- Ipomoea, or Sweet Potato Vine, is a commonly used foliage plant due to its rapid growth and wide array of colors and leaf shapes.
- Coleus cultivars are getting more and more diverse, and they aren't just for shade anymore. We were impressed with 'Under the Sea Gold Anemone' in last year's trials due to the unique style of leaves with deep lobes. The ColorBlaze series has performed very well in our sun and shade trials and has a wide range of colors to choose from.
- If you have a large container in a shaded area, go for a prehistoric look with Begonia Gryphon.
- Plectranthus 'Silver Shield' offers fuzzy silver foliage in a fairly tall (20") plant that can work as a backdrop for other annuals.
- What a great name: Colocasia 'Coffee Cups'! We recommend planting this one in a spot that's visible from a house window (it takes sun or shade). Then the next time it rains, sit down and watch the cup-shaped leaves fill with water, gently tip over to spill the water out and spring back up. It is kind of like a water feature in a Japanese garden!
- Hibiscus 'Mahogany Splendor' is a fast-growing colorful annual that's more like a tall screen by the end of the summer. With beautiful Maple-like leaves, it can be used in the landscape in many different ways. We have even seen some pruned like a topiary standard. The cultivar 'Maple Sugar' is equally good and both are on the Prairie Star list.