Plants With Multicolored Foliage: Picking Out Colorful Plant Leaves

By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden

We often rely on flowers for a range of summer color in thegarden. Occasionally, we have autumn color from foliage that turns red orpurple with cold temperatures. Another way to get that desired spark ofadditional color is from plants with multicolored foliage.

Plants with Multicolored Leaves

There are several multicolored plants from which to choose.Many of these plants with colorful leaves require a bit more attention whenplacing them in the landscape. However, it’s worthwhile to get that additionalburst of various shades through the summer. Many have insignificant blooms thatcan be clipped early to direct energy into producing the attractive foliage.

Here are a few examples of multi-colored foliage plants forthe garden:


Coleusis often added to part sun areas and is a great way to add unusual colors inthe flowerbed. Some have ruffled leaf edges, adding that extra spark ofinterest. Multi-colored leaves include swirls, streaks, and splotches ofpurple, orange, yellow, and various shades of green. Some types are solidcolors, and some have colored edgings. Usually grown as an annual, coleussometimes returns in spring or grows back from dropped seeds if allowed toflower.

More recently developed strains of the plant can take moresun than older varieties. Plant in dappled morning sun and keep the soil moistfor best performance. Trim coleus back for a shorter and more compact plant.Cuttings root easily for more plants.

Dragon’s Blood Sedum

Dragon’s Blood sedum, a rapidly growing member of the stonecrop family, featurestiny intricate foliage that looks almost like flowers. This perennial plant diesback during cold winters but returns early in spring. At first leaves will begreen, then edged with red. By late summer, the entire plant is dark red,leading to the name. Pink flowers bloom in summer, offering a nice contrast.

Stonecrop grows in hot, dry, and poor soil areas where otherplants won’t last. This specimen is perfect for containers or ground planting.


Caladiumis an attractive plant with colorful leaves. It makes a statement in your shadybed with early morning sun. Leaves are large, somewhat heart-shaped, often withdark red veins. Splotches of green, white, pink, and red grow from tubers thatreturn happily in late spring and last until frost.

Grow these colorful plant leaves with spring blooming bulbsto hide their declining foliage when blooms drop. Plant them in drifts forgreatest effect.

Smoke Bush

The smoke bushis just the plant for that sunny spot that begs for a colorful shrub or smalltree. Leaves may be a bluish-green or purple, depending on cultivar, and turnyellow, burgundy or orange as the season progresses. This bush takes well topruning, allowing you to keep it at an attractive height in your garden. Thispromotes new foliage growth and keeps the plant compact and attractive.Feathery flowers look like a plume of smoke.

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Beautiful Multicolored Plants – Growing Plants With Multicolored Leaves - garden

We are a mail-order retail nursery that specializes in colorful Coleus plants suitable for container growing and garden beds in shade or sun. Coleus are grown for their beautiful foliage and are usually treated as an annual in the U.S., but they are actually a tender perennial. Since they don't depend on flowers for color, Coleus will brighten your garden or patio all summer long!

Our unique growing method allows us to provide a sturdy starter plant with a well-formed root system using a minimum amount of growing medium. This allows us to keep shipping costs down and pass the savings along to our customers. Whether you are into shade gardening, container and patio gardening, or growing beautiful garden beds - you have come to the right place!

Our plants are healthy and well rooted in a 1.5" x 2" deep plug surrounded by biodegradable fabric. The height of our coleus at shipping time varies according to the variety and ship date, and usually they are between 3" and 12" tall. Sizes are similar to what you would purchase in a 3" to 4" pot in a nursery. At shipping time, each plant is rolled into its own cardboard tube so it arrives at your doorstep in perfect condition. We have been successfully shipping coleus this way for 17 years, and live arrival is guaranteed! If for some reason your package is delayed or damaged and your coleus do not survive the journey, we will re-ship your order at no cost to you. Please contact us with any questions or concerns.

All of our coleus are propagated by cuttings. We do not sell coleus seeds, and seeds are not available for the varieties we sell.

Forsythia Bushes (Forsythia)

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Not only is forsythia a vigorous, beautiful bush, but it is also an early bloomer. In fact, forsythia goes into full bloom even before its leaves appear in spring so that they are easy to see and enjoy. They only bloom once, however, and after that, the bush is not particularly interesting. Forsythia can become unkempt if not trimmed pruning should be done immediately after spring flowering is complete.

  • Growing Zones: 5 to 8
  • Color Varieties: Yellow
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained

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