12 foliage plants for any garden

A great looking garden doesn’t have to be full of flowering colour. Foliage, with its wide range of shapes and colours, is another way to add appeal to any garden. Bunnings Greenlife buyer Katrina Gatt explains how.

Variegated yucca

Variegated yuccas, pictured above, have yellow or white streaks that run down their long slender leaves, which sit atop woody stems. Growing over two metres tall if not trimmed, they can tolerate all light levels and prefer soil with good drainage and dry conditions.

Heucheras

Heucheras

This small evergreen plant has sculptural foliage in shades of red, purple, orange and bright green. Suitable for rockeries, borders and planting in pots, these hardy plants grow best in full sun or partial shade. Water regularly during dry periods.

bergenia

Bergenia

Characterised by broad glossy green leaves that look outstanding right through the year, and take on a reddish hue during cooler months. Grown in shade they will produce lush foliage. When grown in full sun they will produce a profusion of flowers in spring.

lamium

Lamium

This perennial groundcover has striking triangular leaves that are silver in colour with contrasting green edges and is complemented with pink flowers in spring and summer. Lamiums can tolerate shade, making them a great choice to plant under established trees.

birds of paradise

Bird of paradise (Strelitzia)

Widely recognised for its prominent orange flowers, the bird of paradise has large broad leaves growing on long stems. Growing up to two metres high and a metre wide, they prefer full sun and a free draining soil.

colocasia

Colocasia

Large heart-shaped leaves grow densely on stems that can exceed a metre in height. Usually green, there are varieties with purple to black leaves. Colocasias can tolerate dappled light and love a moist soil so are perfect for boggy areas or around ponds.

hostas

Hostas

These shade lovers have bold heart-shaped leaves in colours ranging from green through to blues and greys, as well as some variegated forms. They like a moist and rich, but well drained soil. They are a favourite of snails and slugs so consider using snail and slug pellets.

Arthropodium

Arthropodium

A perfect solution for dry, shady areas, this plant has long green foliage that grows to about 70cm high. Arthropodium also features masses of delicate clusters of nodding flowers above the foliage in spring.

Dianella silverado.

Dianella silverado

This grass-like plant has long, slender green leaves with bands of white around the edges. Suited to mass plantings, it works in full sun to part shade, grows to about 45cm high and requires little maintenance.

Cordyline

Cordyline

Cordylines have long thin foliage in a wide variety of colours, from green and yellow to pink and burgundy. They also vary from small clumping varieties to tall palm-like plants. Suited to full sun or part shade, they give a garden a tropical feel all year round.

Canna Lilies

Canna lilies

For a tropical display in temperate climates, go for the canna lily. Available in a variety of foliage colours, their large leaves and long-lasting flowers make for a fabulous tropical display. Plant in a sunny position in soil enriched with compost and cow manure. Mulch well and water during dry spells.

Bromeliads

Bromeliads

At home in all but the coldest areas of Australia, these attractive tropical plants come in a wide range of sizes, shapes and foliage colours. Typified by a stunning flower spike that lasts for months, they are a good choice for feature pots. Plant in a well-drained potting mix or soil when in the garden.

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