How to Create a Dramatic Foliage Container Garden

Follow this easy planting plan for a pretty flowerless container garden.

Some of the prettiest plants don't need blooms to shine. Shift your patio or porch palette to green with a container garden that showcases gorgeous leaves by decorating a large concrete urn with textured foliage and verdant plants in a variety of shades. Dark green, chartreuse, silver, and blue-green all make an appearance in this display. Follow this planting guide and place the urn in a sunny spot. (All the plants in this container garden prefer full to part sun.)

Container Garden with letters
Blaine Moats. Blaine Moats

A: Honey bush (Melianthus major) — 1

B: Licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare 'Licorice Splash') — 2

C: Variegated geranium (Pelargonium 'Dolly Vardonv) — 1

D: Variegated geranium (Pelargonium 'Crystal Palace Gem') — 1

Melianthus major honey bush plant
Denny Schrock. Denny Schrock

A: Honey Bush

Honey bush is known for its fine-toothed blue-green foliage, which adds texture to any container garden. This plant also produces flowers, which are dark maroon in color and bloom in the spring. The single plant in this arrangement adds blue-toned foliage to the mix, but also brings height and a tropical vibe.

Helichrysum 'Silver Mist'
Marty Baldwin. Marty Baldwin

B: Licorice Plant

Licorice plant comes in a variety of subtle colors that work well with many color palettes. Most commonly, these plants are silver or white; although there are several variations of soft greens, golds, and variegated foliage. The two plants used in this display add softness and lighter foliage to the mix, and also adds a trailing element to the container.

geraniums in garden
Laurie Black. Laurie Black

C: ‘Dolly Vardon’ Variegated Geranium

Geraniums are a classic flower used in many beds and borders, and known to make a statement. The plant's tactile leaves—some fuzzy, some smooth—come in a wide range of shapes and hues. 'Dolly Varden' has lacy-edged leaves that contain three colors: a green base, a dark red halo in the center, and ivory edges.

close up view of geranium in bloom
Dean Schoeppner. Dean Schoeppner

D: ‘Crystal Palace Gem’ Variegated Geranium

This variety of geranium prefers full sun. 'Crystal Palace Gem' geraniums have bright green leaves, with lime green edges. Both this variety and 'Dolly Vardon' have bright red flowers that bloom in multiple seasons.

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