Sometimes at this time of the year, before Spring arrives, we can start to lament the lack of colour in our gardens. It’s not quite so bad for us in South East Queensland as it is for those south of the border because we don’t generally get those really bracing temperatures that render tree branches bare and colourless. In fact, a quick trip around our neighbourhood reveals many local gardens with plants that clearly think Spring is just around the corner.
However for those looking to add some colour to their Winter garden, a good way is to consider plants with colourful foliage. In garden design terms, colourful leaves will prolong a gardens attraction through the seasons, giving it depth , flow and personality.Foliage plays the long game whereas flowers can be short lived.Foliage can be used as hedging, ground cover, background or as a feature to define the contours of the garden.
The species of plants that will achieve a colourful display with their leaves is many and varied and the list far too long to cover here but I will try and list a few that should be easy enough to grow, are readily available and that cover the full colour spectrum from copper, bronze, yellow ,red ,maroon ,purple ,pink, silver and grey. Different colours will bring different elements to your garden. For instance, golden foliage will impart warmth, green will bring a sense of calm, variegated leaves will lighten and refresh and deep purples and reds will add depth and definition.Many plants also have contrasting leaf veins to add to their appeal.Some leaves are speckled, striped or margined as well.
Acalypha Firestorm is one variety to consider. It is also known as Copper Leaf (which gives a clue as to why it’s at the top of the list.) The foliage varies in shades from copper, bronze through to red and purple. It is generally hardy and long lived providing vibrant colour all year round.
Cordylines and Crotons are well-known,common plants that have many varieties that all provide amazing colour and they are easy to grow too.
Duranta, Heuchera, Nandina,Loropetulum,Metrosideros and Lilly Pillys are all species that you can add to your garden landscaping with confidence that they will provide long lasting colour with their leaves . Just be sure to provide adequate fertiliser, water and sunlight to help them thrive and sustain their showy foliage.