Podcast: Let's Argue About Plants

Episode 18: Focal-Point Plants

A surefire way to add some wow-factor to your beds is planting a few of these dazzlers

Is it eye-catching? Does the sight of it leave a lasting impression? Would the garden look like it were missing something if that particular plant were removed? If the answer to all of these questions is yes, chances are that it’s a focal-point plant. These wonders may have to-die-for texture or perhaps a form that is hard to ignore; regardless, they are essential elements to any successful garden design. Find out what some of our favorites are in this episode.

Expert: Stacie Crooks, landscape designer from Seattle

Even in a landscape filled with exotic treasures, spiny bear’s breeches (Acanthus spinosus, Zones 5–9) stands out. Its large, toothed leaves are the perfect stage for the unique, snapdragon-like flowers that show up in summer.
Large leaves and eye-catching yellow stripes make ‘Pretoria’ canna (Canna ‘Pretoria, Zones 8–11) a worthy investment for Steve, who is even willing to harvest the tender tubers each year to ensure his garden never goes without his favorite focal-point plant.
Perhaps it’s the enormous height of ‘Herbstsonne’ black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’, Zones 5–9) that first attracted Danielle, but its hardy nature and plethora of yellow summer flowers are what eventually made it a staple in her landscape.
Although landscape designer Stacie Crooks relies on pots—and even umbrellas—to serve as focal points in her gardens, she does use shrubs with yellow accents, such as gold-dust plant (Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata, Zones 7–9) to fit the bill as well.
View Comments


  1. gardengumshoe 02/27/2018

    Your podcast always makes me laugh, and I always learn something. Well done!

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest