Using foliage plants is a creative way to enhance your garden.  Adding foliage is a great way to add impact to your flower beds and containers.  In the last few years, there have been many enhancements to foliage plants in terms of them not having to always be grown in the shade.  Many of these plants also last from spring until late fall and are known as season extenders.  We have found eight new foliage plants that will be available this spring.  Let us know if you try growing any of them this year!

Heart to Heart™ 'Mesmerized' Caladium

This annual caladium is from Proven Winners.  'Mesmerized' has pale green foliage splashed with pinkish-red and dark green accents. The heart-shaped leaves can grow 12 – 16 inches tall and 10 – 14 inches wide. This caladium is considered to be a shade to sun plant. In the south, it would be best to plant it in a partial shade location. This plant would make a “thriller” in a mixed combination container.  It also would look great in an annual bed. Caladiums are generally considered to be houseplants where they prefer bright light or a sunny window. Hardiness zones 10 and 11.

ColorBlaze® Wicked Witch™ Coleus

This award-winning Proven Winners plant is two-tones with deep burgundy to almost chocolate looking foliage along with an outer ruffled edge of chartreuse.  This annual coleus plant is sun to shade tolerant and looks great planted in-ground or in a container. It will grow 24 – 40 inches tall and 18 – 36 inches wide. It is late to bloom, which helps preserve the foliage presentation throughout the season. This plant can be adapted to be a houseplant at the end of the season.  Hardiness zones 10 and 11.

ColorBlaze® Wicked Hot™ Coleus

If you are an orange fan, like me, this might be the plant for you.  This striking orange plant has ruffled edges.  Like the previously mentioned Wicked Witch, it is a sun to shade tolerant.  This plant is also an award winner and would like great in a container on its own or in a mixed combination.  I also like the idea of making this a houseplant. Hardiness zones 10 and 11.

Heartbreaker Coleus

Heartbreaker coleus is eye-catching with its wide maroon leaves with a heart of blazing hot pink and a bright green edge. This plant is a tender perennial generally grown as an annual in the USA. The plant will not survive a frost. This pretty plant with its pink foliage pattern will not fade in the full sun.  This coleus will reach 14 – 26 inches tall and span 14 to 16 inches. It is a low-maintenance plant to grow. Hardiness zones 10 and 11.

Ruby Punch Coleus

Ruby Punch has narrow leaves with layered shades of red and a pointed yellow edge.  This coleus is perfect for adding a bright addition to a container or garden bed.  This plant will look great with complementary or contrasting flowers or foliage.  It loves the sun or shade and is very easy to grow!  Ruby Punch will grow 14 – 26 inches high and 14 to 16 inches wide. Hardiness zones 10 and 11.

Stained Glassworks ‘Velvet’ Coleus

This attractive plant with lime green foliage with a red velvet edge is definitely an eye-catcher. The colors are energetic and vibrant.  It is great for shade and will look gorgeous in the landscape or in larger mixed containers. While the Stained Glassworks collection of coleus varieties with unique foliage and novelty appearance has been around for years, this one is sure to be popular.

Begonia Rex Bewitched™ Red/Black

Bewitched Red Black has a special new look for Rex Begonias featuring deep cut leaves that are big and ornamental.  This variety is more upright than other Rex Begonias.  It can be grown indoors or outdoors. The plant will look very impressive in large containers on a shaded patio or deck or in a shaded location in your garden.  Indoors it is perfect for desks or tabletops and the variegated foliage makes it a great contrast to other houseplants. This plant is easy to grow and low maintenance. 

Athyrium niponicum ‘Crested Surf’

This Crested Japanese Painted Fern is from Proven Winners.  It is the perfect perennial foliage plant for shade! The plant is similar to traditional Japanese Painted Fern, but the tips of fronds are double-crested. Try planting it in the middle of the border! The plant is easy to grow and can tolerate many soils.  Grow in moist soil in light to partial shade for best coloration. Leave old fronds on the plant until new fronds are 6 inches tall in spring Hardiness zones 3 – 8.

Photos courtesy of Jill Mazur, Proven Winners, Ball Seed, Dümmen Orange, Green Fuse Botanicals

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