When it comes to color in the landscape, many people automatically think of flowers. While flowers are a great addition to a design, they can be very seasonal and temporary. To break up a monotonous sea of green, try these plants below for year-round color and interest.
Easy to maintain, Coprosmas also come in many colors and sizes. Many tend to be in the 3-5 foot tall and wide range with a few low growing varieties. Colors range from variegated greens like ‘Marble Queen’ and ‘Lemon Lime’, to reds like ‘Pacific Sunset’ and ‘Rainbow Surprise’, and even to dark purples like ‘Roys Red’ and ‘Plum Hussey’. Low spreading varieties include Coprosma x kirkii ‘Variegata’ with white variegated edges and ‘Kiwi Gold’ with yellow margins.
Euphorbias are another diverse set of plants that can add year-round color to your designs. Look for ‘Blackbird’ to provide dark purple foliage on red stems with unique yellow-green flowers. ‘Tasmanian Tiger’ has green leaves with creamy colored margins. Use this to contrast against darker colored materials. ‘Ascot Rainbow’ has leaves similar to ‘Tasmanian Tiger’ with the added surprise of new growth flushing red as well as during cooler fall temperatures.
With its bright yellow foliage, use it as a lively hedge or foundation planting. It will contrast well with darker colored plantings and is especially interesting adjacent to blue or purple flowering plants. Unlike other Ligustrum varieties, this variety only grows to 3-4 feet tall and wide.
Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki’
Translating from Japanese as “five colors”, use this variety as a colorful hedge or background planting. Its prickly leaves make it an effective barrier. New growth is red, maturing to green. Goshiki’s leaves are uniquely variegated, splashed with creamy whites and yellow greens. Expect it to grow 3-5 feet tall and wide and taller with age.
‘Purple Pixie’ Loropetalum
Smaller than its relatives, this variety of Loropetalum stays under 2 feet tall and can spread up to 5 feet wide, great for cascading over walls or slopes. Its deep purple foliage goes well with other light colored plants or hardscape. In the spring you can expect fringy pink flowers. In hot areas be sure to keep it out of full sun.
Article written by Erik Gellerman