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Browse Plants

Narrowed By:Type: Grasses, Trees+ Foliage: Colorful
Displaying 1 - 20 of 33 listings   1 | 2View AllNext > Sort By: Sort
Acer palmatum 'Wolff' Acer palmatum 'Wolff'
(Emperor I® Japanese maple)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

I’ll never forget when, in the mid-1990s, I called up a renowned nurseryman in Pennsylvania with questions about a holly, and he shifted the conversation to a new Japanese maple he had bred. “Emperor I®—better than ‘Bloodgood’,” he said. But we have all heard comments like that before. Plant breeders tend to borrow glory from classic plants by claiming their new version is better, but my skepticism about Emperor I® was quashed a year later when I acquired my first small tree. It’s a fast grower—unlike ‘Bloodgood’, which can take years to become a sizable tree. Also, unlike ‘Bloodgood’, Emperor I® holds its spectacular burgundy color all summer in full sun, and when fall rolls in, it evolves to a brilliant fiery red.

Acer shirasawanum 'Aureum' Acer shirasawanum 'Aureum'
(Golden Full Moon Maple)
(2 user reviews)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

If your shade garden needs a focal point, consider this small, rounded Japanese maple, with its lime-to-chartreuse-tinged golden leaves. In fall, its leaves turn orange and red, just like those of a sugar maple. This variety, like other small Japanese maples, needs shade and protection from sun and drying winds to keep the foliage from curling and turning brown at the edges. -Michael Ruggiero, Regional Picks: Mid-Atlantic, Fine Gardening issue #127

Andropogon gerardii 'Pawnee' Andropogon gerardii 'Pawnee'
(Big bluestem, turkeyfoot)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

'Pawnee' has an upright habit and warm fall colors that persist into winter. This refined offbig bluestem has the bluish purple stems typical of the genus. In late summer, Purplish red flowers appear in groups of three or six, which look like a turkey foot—hence the nickname: "Turkey Foot Grass." The root system that can extend down more than 10 feet. Each year, a third of these roots die, opening up channels for water. -Scott Vogt, Native grasses, Fine Gardening issue #124

Broussonetia papyrifera 'Golden Shadow' Broussonetia papyrifera 'Golden Shadow'
(Golden paper mulberry)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This golden-leaved version of the southern paper mulberry can be treated as a cutback shrub to control size and for best production of brilliant golden yellow, large, lobed leaves. Or it can be allowed to grow into a small- to medium-sized tree. It's a most desirable garden plant and looks fabulous with deep blue salvias.

Carex buchananii Carex buchananii
(Leatherleaf sedge)
(2 user reviews)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Two-foot-tall, stiff, orange-brown blades curve at the end like a shepherd’s staff. Burnished red-bronze foliage, which fades to flax at the tips, gives off a warm glow when backlit by the sun.

Carex elata 'Aurea' Carex elata 'Aurea'
(Bowles' golden sedge)
(2 user reviews)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This beautiful sedge's vivid foliage adds bright color to the garden. The yellow seems to glow in partial shade. Use this dramatic clump of foliage near water or in shallow water, or in another moist location.

Cercidiphyllum japonicum f. pendulum Cercidiphyllum japonicum f. pendulum
(Weeping katsura)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This deciduous small tree initially has a pyramidal form, and later rounded. Cercis-like, opposite, heart-shaped blue-green leaves are borne on stiff, slender, pendulous branches that fan out from the crown and sweep the ground. Caramel-scented foliage emerges bronze or purple-red, turns blue-green, then fades to gold or apricot in autumn. Tiny red flowers emerge in late March or early April before the leaves.

Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy' Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'
(Eastern redbud)
(2 user reviews)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

In early spring, 'Forest Pansy' awakens with a long-lasting profusion of bright purplish-pink blooms borne in clusters, before the leaves, along smooth gray branches. Its heart-shaped, blood-red leaves are finely veined and glossy when young, slowly turning a dark, purple-tinged green in full sun. Autumn foliage is a bouquet of reds, purples, oranges, and yellows. The plant's graceful branching structure stands out in winter.

Cercis canadensis and cvs. Cercis canadensis and cvs.
(Eastern redbud)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Bright purplish-pink blooms are borne in clusters, before the leaves, along smooth gray branches. Heart-shaped leaves emerge bronze, turning green, then yellow in autumn. Cultivars are available with white ('Royal White') or pink flowers ('Tennessee Pink'), purple foliage ('Forest Pansy'), and weeping form ('Covey'). Grows 15 to 25 feet tall with a slightly wider spread.

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Aurea' Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Aurea'
(Hinoki cypress)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Hinoki cypress is a conical, evergreen, coniferous tree with leaves that are actually minute scales on tiny branches in the form of fans. The outer foliage of 'Aurea' is golden and the inner is green. Growth can be slow. Use as a specimen or use several as screening.

Cordyline hybrida var. JURred 'Festival™ Burgundy' Cordyline hybrida var. JURred 'Festival™ Burgundy'
(Festival™ Burgundy corydaline)
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This basal branching cordyline combines the rugged easy-care attributes of its cordyline cousins with an unusual mix of shiny dark color, compact bushy form, short stems and cascading grass-like leaves.

Cordyline australis 'Purple Tower' Cordyline australis 'Purple Tower'
(Giant dracaena, New Zealand cabbage palm)
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

'Purple Tower' is a cultivar of the New Zealand native cabbage tree, frequently grown in greenhouses, as houseplants, or as large accent plants outdoors. It is hardy to Zone 10. The narrow, plum-purple leaves reach 3 feet long. The fragrant white flowers are small, but they are borne in large panicles in spring and early summer on mature plants. Plants grown in containers only rarely flower, however. Young plants are often sold as houseplants. Mature specimens have thick trunks with foliage at the top, resembling a palm tree. They are striking container specimens and can be plugged into a summer border. The species has naturalized in portions of California and the southern U.S.

Cotinus 'Grace' Cotinus 'Grace'
('Grace' smoke tree)
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This cross of the European smoke bush (C. coggygria) and the American smoke tree (C. obovatus) is a gem in the garden thanks to its multiseason interest. Its iridescent spring foliage is green overlaid with red; then its large pink clouds of blooms in summer are followed by brilliant autumn foliage that ranges from red to orange. 'Grace' combines well with just about anything; asters, ornamental grasses, and Japanese maples are good places to start.

Elymus arenarius Elymus arenarius
(2 user reviews)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This plant has densely tufted, spreading clumps of strap-like, flowing foliage. Pale blue-gray leaves arch loosely. In summer, it produces stiff, upright, blue-gray spikes of flowers that turn buff.

Eragrostis chloromelas Eragrostis chloromelas
(Boer love grass)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

From late spring until fall, Boer love grass puts on a glorious display as inflorescences that emerge silver and dry to gold dance up to 2 feet above the fine-textured clump of foliage. The show is shorter in humid climates.

Fagus sylvatica 'Purple Fountain' Fagus sylvatica 'Purple Fountain'
(Purple fountain beech, European beech)
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

'Purple Fountain' is a deciduous, columnar, dark-leaved tree with bronze-purple, wavy margined leaves and cascading branches. Leaves become more green as summer wears on. It can be used as a specimen tree or for pleaching. It is similar to the purple weeping beech but is much more columnar. Fall color is yellow, then orange-brown.

Festuca glauca 'Boulder Blue' Festuca glauca 'Boulder Blue'
(Blue fescue, Gray fescue)
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Regarded by some as the bluest blue fescue, this plant forms compact, cascading mounds of foot-tall, intensely blue, narrow leaves that are attractive in all seasons. Blooms are generally secondary to the foliage, but this cultivar blooms more heavily than most, with spikelets in summer. This cultivar is long-lived and very hardy. Grow in groups in a border or rock garden, or as a groundcover. 

Hakonechloa macra ‘Nicholas’ Hakonechloa macra ‘Nicholas’
(‘Nicolas’ Japanese forest grass)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Some gardeners love Japanese forest grass because it looks like a baby bamboo grove or a lush woodland carpet. I love it because of the graceful motion that it adds to the garden—even on windless days. Such evocative beauty coupled with overall garden vigor (notably disease and deer resistance) are what make it a popular garden choice. In response to demand for greater variety, plant breeders have been working hard at increasing the palette of available cultivars. Of these newer selections, ‘Nicolas’, a dwarf variety that boasts lustrous green leaf blades with burgundy staining, is a notable standout.

 The pigment variegation of this plant pre­sents early in the season and intensifies to a vibrant reddish orange for a gorgeous late-season show. The long blades also add a nice texture to floral arrangements. Japanese forest grass is a versatile plant. It can stand alone as a ground cover or intermingle with other perennials, deciduous flowering shrubs, and spring bulbs. But because large varieties can sometimes swallow their perennial pairings and smother the lower foliage of shrubs, a dwarf cultivar, like ‘Nicolas’, offers a significant design benefit.

Imperata cylindrica and cvs. Imperata cylindrica and cvs.
(Japanese blood grass)
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This small ornamental grass is grown for its smooth, red-flushed leaves. Blooms are tan.

no image available Panicum amarum 'Dewey Blue'
(Bitter switchgrass, Switchgrass)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

A stunning, native dune grass, 'Dewey Blue' is perfect for coastal areas as well as inland gardens. Heat, drought, and humidity won't faze its noticeably graceful habit. This grass has exceptional blue foliage and a vigorous constitution. Airy, light beige flowers emerge in late summer and fall, persisting well into winter for a long season of interest. 'Dewey Blue' grows 4 to 5 feet tall and almost as wide.


Displaying 1 - 20 of 33 listings   1 | 2View AllNext > Sort By: Sort