Rely on plants with great-looking foliage to keep your container gardens looking great all season long. Get started with these easy recipes.
Extra-special plants can make a big difference. Here, dracaena (a common houseplant) creates a tropical touch when used outdoors -- especially against a stunning taffeta plant.
A. Beefsteak plant (Iresine herbstii) -- 2
B. Taffeta plant (Hoffmannia ghiesbreghtii) -- 1
C. Dracaena 'Song of India' -- 2
Pick your plants wisely and you can enjoy a colorful container of fine foliage. Here, a variety of coleus create drama and impact without a single bloom.
A. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Kiwi Fern') -- 1
B. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Brilliancy') -- 1
C. Geranium (Pelargonium 'Vancouver Centennial') -- 1
D. Golden marjoram (Origanum vulgare 'Aureum') -- 1
E. Coral Bells (Heuchera 'Sashay') -- 1
F. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Kingwood Torch') -- 1
Mix fun foliage with an interesting container to create season-long good looks. Watch for fun containers -- or embellish the pots you already have with paint or other decorations for a unique display that fits your personality perfectly.
A. Canna 'Phasion' -- 1
B. Canna 'Tropicanna' -- 1
C. Caladium 'Florida Red Ruffles' 1
D. Geranium (Pelargonium 'Happy Thought') -- 1
E. Impatiens balsimina 'Ice' Series -- 1
Blood banana, an oversize tender perennial, stars in this show. But each of the supporting players holds its own with an outstanding trait, such as color or form.
A. Blood banana (Musa zebrina)
B. Coleus 'Alabama Sunset'
C. Geranium 'Persian Queen'
D. Philodendron 'Prince of Orange'
E. Asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus)
A. Fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum') -- 1
B. Coleus (Solenosemon 'Penney') -- 2
C. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Blackie') -- 1
This use of succulents in a stone trough is trendy and modern. It's also extra-easy to care for as the plants require little water.
A. Hens and chicks (Sempervivum tectorum) -- 4
B. Sedum spathulifolium -- 5
C. Sedum commixtum -- 6
Modern and minimalist: This container looks good just about everywhere. Because this easy-growing succulent requires minimal watering, it'll be a stunner even if you forget to water it from time to time. Echeveria is a good houseplant, too, so you can bring it indoors at season's end and enjoy it all year long.
A. Echeveria 'Red Tide' -- 1
A mix of colorful, drought-tolerant sedums creates foliage interest from spring to late summer; then in fall, they'll burst into bloom providing yet another season of interest. Bonus: Plant these perennials in your garden as they finish blooming and you can enjoy them again next year.
A. Sedum 'Matrona' -- 2
B. Sedum makinoi 'Ogon' -- 1
C. Sedum 'Red Cauli' -- 1
Grasses and similar-looking plants have great texture. We love that this combo is as easy to care for as it is beautiful. These tough plants will look as great at the end of the season as they did when you planted them.
A. New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax 'Pink Stripe') -- 1
B. Sedge (Carex testacea) -- 5
Using silver and white gives you a clean, elegant look that fits well with any garden style. We love how the mix of textures adds to the design.
A. Plectranthus argentatus -- 2
B. Verbena 'Babylon White' -- 3
C. Licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare 'Variegatum') -- 3
D. Dusty Miller (Centaurea gymnocarpa 'Colchester White') -- 1
This oxalis offers deep purple foliage that creates depth and mystery. Oxalis grows well as a houseplant, too, so you can bring it in at the end of the season for year-round appeal.
A. Oxalis regnellii 'Charmed Wine' -- 5
The mix of textures in this container look good by themselves, but a fragrant rose creates the perfect complement to top it off.
A. Plectranthus coleoides marginata -- 1
B. Dusty Miller (Centaurea gymnocarpa 'Colchester White') -- 2
C. Rose (Rosa 'Winsome') -- 1
This beautiful container takes advantage of color and textural contrasts to create interest. The bright golden-yellow coleus sets off the silver and black trailing plants while the fountain grass adds height and texture.
A. Licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare) -- 3
B. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Blackie') -- 3
C. Purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum') -- 1
D. Coleus (Solensostemon 'Life Line') -- 2
A rustic container requires a rustic, informal approach. The ivy and licorice plant will look good all season long. Switch out bloomers as they fade to keep your container looking fresh from first thing in spring to the very end of the season.
A. Licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare 'Limelight') -- 2
B. Viola cornuta 'Azure Wing' -- 2
C. Ivy (Hedera helix 'Buttercup') -- 2
Use different plants habits to create lots of interest. Here, draping sweet potato vine and licorice plant create a striking contrast against the upright shapes of beefsteak plant and plectranthus.
A. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Blackie') -- 3
B. Plectranthus coleoides marginata -- 1
C. Beefsteak plant (Iresine herbstii) -- 1
D. Marigold (Tagetes 'Lemon Gem') -- 1
E. Licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare) -- 3
Use plants' shapes to create the look of movement. Here, the gentle curve of tapeworm plant draws the eye up from a dark mass of coleus.
A. Tapeworm plant (Homalocladium platycladum) -- 1
B. Elephant's ear (Alocasia 'Hilo Beauty') -- 1
C. Parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans) -- 1
D. Ivy (Hedera helix 'Glacier') -- 1
E. Coleus (Solenosemon 'Purple Duckfoot') -- 1
Add an extra dimension to your container gardens with fragrance. Here, a collection of herbs look as good as they smell.
A. Purple sage (Salvia officinalis 'Purpurea') -- 2
B. Lavender (Lavandula officinalis) -- 3
C. Golden marjoram (Origanum vulgare 'Aureum') -- 2
Get inspired by the designs you see here? Watch this quick video to learn the basics of creating container gardens.
In plant circles, opposites attract and create lovely effects. Here, silver and black team up with additional contrast from chartreuse. The black urn heightens the plants' impact.
A. New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax 'Atropurpureum')
B. Geranium 'Persian Queen'
C. Snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum)
Like guests at a dinner party, some plants have instant rapport. This grouping plays off each plant's best qualities.
A. New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax)
B. Society garlic (Tulbaghia violacea)
C. Golden Plectranthus
D. Sansevieria trifasciata
E. Silver thyme (Thymus argenteus)
F. Philodendron 'Prince of Orange'
The secret tot his attention-grabbing combination is a mix of forms and textures. These foliage plants produce a dramatic effect without the assistance of showy flowers.
A: New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax)
B. 'Happy Thought' Geranium
C. Calamondin x citrofortunella mitis
D. Coral bells (Heuchera 'Amethyst Mist')
E. Fiber-optic grass (Isolepis ceruna)
Each of the plants in this bold scheme contributes to the overall purple-green theme. The plants also share a preference for part shade and evenly damp soil.
A. New Zealand Flax (Phormium tenax)
B. Black taro (Colocasia esculenta 'Black Magic')
C. Macho fern (Nephrolepsis bierata 'Macho')
D. Wire vine (Muehlenbeckia oxillaris)
E. Geranium 'Happy Thought'