Part of the joy of picking plants for your garden is choosing varieties with interesting foliage as well as flowers. From variegated foliage to deep contrasting-coloured stems, here are five of my favourite plants for foliage interest.

Aloysia citrodora (lemon verbena)

Remember those fizzy spangles? The foliage of this plant smells beautifully of those – a fresh lemony-sherbet fragrance. It grows up to 2.5m tall with long pointed leaves, which you won’t be able to resist. Flowering in summer, the tiny white or purple flowers add a delicate elegance to the plant.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Hardy in coastal and relatively mild parts of the UK
  • Grows up to 2.5m tall
  • Well-drained soil
  • Full sun
  • Sheltered
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Cordyline australis (cabbage palm) ‘Torbay Dazzler’

This is an evergreen palm with unique gold-green colours and a brilliant explosion of leaf fronds. It’ll give your garden a touch of the Mediterranean with the long sword-shaped leaves. Also, they are a low maintenance pick and don’t demand pruning, simply remove any dead, damaged, or disease foliage as needed.

  • Evergreen
  • Hardy in coastal and relatively mild parts of the UK
  • Grows up to 4m tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Sheltered
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Coprosma repens (New Zealand laurel) ‘Pacific Sunset’

Next is a really vibrant plant that will bring masses of colour to the border or in a pot on a patio. Each leaf is like a gemstone – a mass of colours from coral red to chocolate bronze. During spring give it a trim to keep it looking symmetrical and tidy.

  • Evergreen
  • Hardy in coastal and relatively mild parts of the UK
  • Grows up to 1m tall
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Sheltered
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Juniperus squamata (flaky juniper) ‘Blue Star’

This plant is a beautiful ground cover conifer with star-like pointy foliage in enchanting bluey silver. It will give great ground cover as it grows to 50cm tall, and is low maintenance all year round – what’s not to love?

  • Evergreen foliage
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows up to 50cm tall
  • Well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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Choisya ternata (Mexican orange) [Sundance]

The common name, Mexican orange blossom, is due to its masses of gold foliage that put on a show all year round. What’s more, if you crush the leaves it’s meant to smell orangey but the scent always reminded me of Vicks VapoRub! Nonetheless it’s a wonderful medium to large-sized shrub to add to your garden for some structure and form.

  • Evergreen foliage
  • Hardy through most of the UK
  • Grows up to 2.5m tall
  • Well-drained soil
  • Full sun
  • Sheltered
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These five picks for foliage are just a start, there are many plants that put on a show with their leaves and stems. Visit your local garden centre and see what deciduous or evergreen plants you can find to add fantastic foliage to your space.

For more perfect plants for foliage, read this:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas:

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Fabulous foliage
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