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This New Zealand flax has dark reddish brown leaves that form a neat clump less than 2 feet tall and about as wide. It makes a great container plant.
An excellent architectural specimen, New Zealand flax has a striking geometric shape and intriguingly colored foliage. Rigid, upright leaves to 10 feet long grow in a clump. Cultivars come in chocolate-brown or a mixture of cream, pink, and green stripes. In summer, this Phormium produces a 12-foot-tall spike of tubular red flowers.
This is an upright evergreen shrub with lance-shaped leaves. Foliage emerges bright red or bronze, turning a leathery dark green. Small white flowers appear in mid- to late spring.
'Brilliantissima' rivals hollies (Ilex spp.) in the quantity and crimson color of its fruit. The quarter-inch-diameter, crab apple-like berries hang in clusters amid brilliant foliage that matures to scarlet. Like the species, this cultivar develops into a handsome, multistemmed, vase-shaped shrub that reaches 8 to 12 feet tall and about half as wide.
This evergreen shrub is often grown as a tender perennial where not hardy. It sports long spikes of red, dangling, bell-shaped flowers with yellow throats in summer. It makes a beautiful and unique addition to a perennial or shrub border.
Pale yellow, four-inch-long flowers dangle all around the stems of this evergreen, fuchsia look-alike. Given a long enough growing season, it can reach 5 feet tall and as wide. Where not hardy, grow it as a tender perennial.
This clumping bamboo is native to eastern and central China and can reach 15 feet tall and almost as wide. After two or three years, slender green culms turn a lustrous black. The foliage is abundant and dark green, making a stunning combination with the stems. Grow as screening, in large containers, or in a woodland setting where the stems can be appreciated.
This ninebark's new leaves unfurl a golden yellow and then mature to a rosy red-burgundy. Clusters of white blooms accompany the dramatic foliage in early summer, followed by bright red seedheads that fade to tan. 'Center Glow' is a fast grower and an ideal candidate for mixed borders or foundation plantings. It grows to 8 to 10 feet tall and almost as wide. In winter, the older stems have attractive peeling bark.
With its upright, arching branches and dark chocolate to purple foliage, Diabolo® ninebark offers a color contrast with silver-leaved plants and makes a fine backdrop hedge. Clusters of button-like, pinkish white flowers appear in summer. Even when they fade to a tawny tone, they stand out nicely against the dark leaves. -Chris McKernan, Regional Picks: Lower Plains, Fine Gardening issue #120
Many gardeners know ninebark as an undistinguished shrub with ordinary green leaves, white flowers, and fall fruit. But 'Seward,' sold under the trademark name Summer WineTM, has outstanding burgundy leaves and pink flowers that bloom in early summer. This plant is super tough and makes a stunning focal point in a summer border.
The yellow to lime green foliage of 'Nugget' ninebark makes an interesting contrast with the exfoliating, cinnamon-colored bark. Clusters of white flowers appear along the stems in early summer, followed by dark brown seed capsules, which add winter interest. Unsheared, the plant has a vase-shaped growth habit. -David Graper, Regional Reports: Upper Plains, Fine Gardening issue #122
Obedient plant is a clump-forming native perennial that grows aggressively. From midsummer to early fall, spikes of purple or pink (and sometimes white) flowers rise above sharply toothed leaves to four feet high.
This spruce has blue foliage and drooping branches. It grows 3 or 4 inches a year, eventually spreading to about 8 feet wide and 4 feet tall, with silvery needles like its parent species.
'Procumbens' is similar to 'Pendula' in color but prostrate in habit, with cascading branches sometimes staying stiffly horizontal. Makes a spreading, undulating, mounding ground cover of silvery white needles.
This is a dwarf conifer with a rounded form. Juvenile needles grow like miniature puffballs on the tips of stubby, round branches and age to a silvery blue on one side and green on the other.
This neat, rounded shrub has given rise to many noteworthy cultivars. It grows to 12 feet tall and 10 feet wide, producing drooping clusters of delicate white blossoms in winter and spring. Use this shrub in a woodland, rock garden, container, or as a foundation plant.
This compact, rounded shrub produces reddish-purple buds that first open as soft-pink then mature to white. It grows to about 5 feet high and wide, making it a superb specimen for a container or small garden.
Plectranthus cultivars are popular foliage plants, but some gardeners grow them for their blooms, and one of the best bloomers is 'Mona Lavender'. This cultivar has abundant lavender-purple flowers that complement the dark green leaves (with purple undersides and stems). These plants thrive in light to deep shade. -Tom Nelson, Regional Picks: Northern California, Fine Gardening issue #127
Grown mainly for its velvety gray succulent leaves, this Australian native shrub can reach 3 feet high and wide.
As the name implies, this plectranthus has green leaves with lime green edges. Some of the leaves are entirely lime green. It looks great mingling around the feet of perennials, shrubs, and annuals.
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