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PLANT PROFILES: FOLIAGE PERENNIAL

In spite of their yearly life-death cycle, perennials are a favorite…

…in planting design as their relatively short-lived displays are large, loud, and vibrant. FLOWERING PERENNIAL species known for their floral blooms are highly revered in the English Cottage or Prairie styles, though are lack-luster once their flowers are spent.

Enter FOLIAGE PERENNIALS. Rather than relying on flowers for bursts of color, use instead perennials whose foliage evoke the colors of your design. Once they come up in spring, enjoy a full growing season of ornamental beauty. Some even flower for a second layer of interest!

It’s important to remember that while a perennial dies down to the ground in winter, it will grow back. Most perennials aren’t more than bare dirt after hibernating, though a few species dry nicely above ground to add interest to the winter landscape.

 

LARGE TREE ORNAMENTAL TREE LARGE FLOWERING SHRUB MID-FLOWERING SHRUB LOW-SPREADING SHRUB UPRIGHT EVERGREEN LOW-SPREADING EVERGREEN
FLOWERING PERENNIAL FOLIAGE PERENNIAL UPRIGHT ORNAMENTAL GRASS SHRUB-LIKE ORNAMENTAL GRASS FLOWERING GROUNDCOVER EVERGREEN GROUNDCOVER VINE

 

KEMORA PICKS Bugleweed, Coral Bells, Fern, Foamflower, Hosta, Lamb’s Ears, Nettle, Lenten Rose, Leopard Plant, Pigsqueak, Sedge, Solomon’s Seal

SUN Full Sun to Full Shade
ORNAMENTAL INTERESTS
FOLIAGE PERENNIALS provide a great wealth
of variety in terms of leaf color, shape, size,
and texture. A few species offer blooming
interest as well for double interest.
DESIGN USE
Since FOLIAGE PERENNIALS die back down
for the winter, use for bright pops of growing season interest in front of large and mid-size shrubs, but behind low-spreading shrubs,
grasses, or evergreen groundcover.
ALTERNATIVES
Like the ornamental pop of FOLIAGE
PERENNIALS
but hate how they recede in winter? Some varieties of LOW-SPREADING EVERGREENS maintain a presence in winter with varieties available in green shades of chartreuse or blue.
Lamb’s Ears Photo Credit: Chiot’s Run via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]; Coal Bell Photo Credit: Andrea_44 via Flickr [CC BY 2.0];
Japanese Painted Fern Photo Credit: jacki-dee via Flickr [
CC BY-NC-ND 2.0].

Plant info found on Google is not always precise as it is an aggregate of information from around the world—so we want to share our observations from years of getting our hands dirty in the Second City. This post is the latest in one of our newest series, PLANT PROFILES, where we explore each plant category as well as the preferred species of Kemora. We love plants which in turn gives us a trained eye for trouble-shooting them. And it is our hope you will come to love them too!

Kemora Landscapes is a full-service design, build, and maintenance company based in Chicago.

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