19 Best Foliage Plants List: Indoors and Outdoors

Growing foliage plants can give a contrasting look to your garden. In the garden, there are empty spaces that receive plenty of shade. You can fill this space with bold and colorful foliage plants that will make excellent combinations with neighbors’ blooms.

Foliage plants are hardy, have a fine texture, and change color every season. They are evergreen plants that grow for years spreading peace and beauty in the surrounding.

Here I listed some most beautiful and popular foliage plants list that will give a good visual effect in the garden. Growing these plants will make your garden or yard look evergreen and colorful for several years.

So, let’s dive into:

Foliage plants List

Below is the list of foliage plants that you can grow indoors and outdoors.


Hosta foliage plants list

Hosta is found in varieties of variegated (more than one color) leaves shades like green, gold, and blue. They prefer partial shade where they reflect gold and white foliage, to enliven the plants around them.

Although known as shade plants, some hosta varieties also grow in full sun. Except for “Hosta Plantaginea” which produces attractive flowers, every hosta bud is cut before blooming, so that plant will focus on growing delightful foliage.

Related Post: 10 best low light plants to grow indoors

Heuchera (coral bell)


Heuchera plants were originally green foliage plants with airy pink bell-shaped flowers, loved by hummingbirds. However, plant breeders went wild and found hosta varieties that embraced heuchera and figured out to give them purple, bronze, and patterned leaves.

Most heucheras do best in partial shade but they will also grow well in sunlight if given adequate moisture. They form tidy clumps that make them perfect to plant under taller plants, in containers, and in edging borders.

Dusty miller

Dusty miller

Dusty miller is often grown as an annual plant and used as a garden filler. But that doesn’t do justice to this beautiful plant. It has soft white-silver foliage that is extremely drought tolerant and will grow even in tough conditions.

They make an excellent foil for bolder colors, such as hot pink petunia and buttery yellow coreopsis. Some of the popular cultivars are “Silverado” which stays fresh-looking longer than other species of plants.


Coleus Pineapple Splash

The shade coleus is a very popular Victorian bedding plant until the sun-loving coleus was discovered by gardeners. Today you hardly see any garden without at least one coleus plant. The plant grows well in outside containers as well as indoors in pots.

Coleus is found in all rainbow colors, sometimes all colors in one plant. Bright, vibrant plants named “copper sun”, “Big Enchilada”, and “Brilliancy” hint at what coleus looks like. Pinching the plant makes it bushier and fuller, with more colorful glorious leaves.

Caladium (Angel Wings)


Caladium is also called angel wings. Their leaves are big heart wings shaped that has an amazing striking color combination of white, green, pink, and red. 

Caladium can grow easily indoors and equally look delightful outdoors. You can grow caladium in a partial spade. They will grow throughout the year and give a burst of colorful foliage in the garden.

However, they grow hardy only in USD hardiness zone 9. If you live in a colder region, grow caladium as an annual plant in the pot and bring it indoors in winter.   

Canna (Canna Indica)

Canma indica

Canna also called “canna Indica” is another great foliage plant. They have huge banana-like leaves that have red, green, and yellow stripes or something in between. The plant also bears red, yellow, and orange color blooms.

However, without the flashy blooms, these plants will stand out. Most gardeners even remove the bloom, so that the plant only focuses to grow more foliage.

Canna plants belong to tropical regions that love light, heat, and water. If you think keeping them watered is tremendous; consider growing them in pots or containers and putting them in a water garden to make your version of a tropical paradise. 

Rex Begonia

begonia rex

After canna, rex begonia is another tropical plant. They can be grown as houseplants as well as outdoors in the garden. Their leaves can be spotted, swirled, spiraled, wing, thick and ruffled. They are a such intriguing plants that people use to collect them.

Unfortunately, growing rex begonia is fussy, unless you live in a tropical region. Consider growing them in pots where you have control of the soil and growing condition rather than the ground.

Asiatic jasmine

Variegated Asiatic Jasmine - Tracheolspermum asiaticum 'Variegated'

Asiatic jasmine is a popular vine used for ground cover. These plants are invasive and can cover a wide area shortly even in shade. Asiatic jasmine is not Asiatic at all though its name is Asiatic they belong to Korea and Japan. They are both heat and cold-tolerant. Its small, white, and delicate star-shaped flowers. It’s hardy in USDA hardiness zone 7b-10.  

Artemisia (Wormwood)


If your garden has too many colored plants, and you want to add a classic color look then consider planting artemisia. Although they belong to the daisy family, artemisia leaves are hairy and charming.

Most artemisia plants have silver-white leaves that offset petal flowers that have a richer tone like purple, orange, blue and deep mauve. In the beginning, their leaves are green and gradually turn silver-white as they mature. 

You can grow artemisia in partial shade, they take a slight amount of light and reflect light to the surrounding. In the summer their foliage might become untidy and leggy. Cut off the old foliage to make new silver foliage appear. Learn how to grow a wormwood plant, a growing, and caring guide.

Ornamental grasses

Ornamental grass fronds

Ornamental grasses add sound, texture, and movement to your garden, you’ll have dozens of choices. They need only their leaf stalk to stand out except for varieties like “Porcupine”, “Blood grass” and “Zebra grass” which produce shiny and attractive flowers. When choosing grass for your garden consider factors such as height, growth, habit, and even season.

Persian shield (Strobilanthes)

Persian shield

Persian shields, also known as “Strobilanthes”, are sub-shrub that remain evergreen in hot climates. They have almost iridescent leaves (changed color when looking from a different angle)

The plant can be grown as an annual or houseplant in colder climates. If you are growing them as a houseplant, you can easily take cutting and plant outdoors in the spring. Persian shields can handle full sun but they almost grow in partial shade.

New Zealand flax

New Zealand Flax (phormium tenax)

New Zealand flax also known as Phormium is another type of foliage plant we discussed till now. They have a wonderful dramatic accent in the garden. They are available in various varieties that grow taller than seven feet and shorter than you can grow in containers.

The variety also shares a wide range of colors including green, yellow, white, pink, and red. In warmer climates, this plant is a perennial plant and grows blade-shaped leaves. Plants also produce flower stalks with attractive blooms colored red or yellow.

Sweet potato vine

sweet potato vine - green

If you’re searching for ground cover, consider sweet potato vine. They are evergreen plants that grow well in containers and as ground cover. They are related to sweet potatoes but tubers are not as tasty. This plant is mostly an ornamental plant that comes in a wide variety of colors and names.

Varieties such as “Margarita” have bright leaves; “Sweet caroline” or “Sweetheart” has a burgundy heart-shaped; and “Tricolor” has green and white-colored variegated leaves that are outlined in pink.

Plectranthus (Plectranthus Argentatus)

Plectranthus amboinicus

Plectranthus foliage plants that grow freely and are bushy. They have thick and slightly fuzzy leaves with ruffled edges that show as white. Most plectranthus are grown for their foliage. But a newer variety “Mona lavender” plectranthus, bears tall lavender flower stalks that make them good choice containers and indoor plants. Learn how to grow plectranthus

Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium Niponicum)

Japanese Painted Fern

Japanese Painted Fern has silver leaves that catch every sunlight ray flowing on them. Their leaf’s texture and color standout them from other ferns. Japanese Painted Fern has a red stem which makes contrasts look with silver-green foliage. These aren’t tall ferns that grow about 12 inches in height, but they are eye-catching. Learn how to grow Japanese-painted ferns indoors & outdoors.

Lamb’s Ear (Stachys Byzantina)

Lamb's Ears - Stachys byzantina

Lamb’s Ear has soft, fuzzy, grey leaves that are delightful for your children if they chance to rub on. Consider them If you’re looking for a velvety texture to soften the hard edges of the walkway or you can use their dowry grey foliage to act as a foil for nearby pastels. Read How to grow Lamb’s ear in a pot.

Amaranthus Tricolor (Amaranthus Gangeticus)

Amaranthus tricolor

Amaranthus foliage is so audacious that you might wonder why they bother blooming. They are a sub-burst of yellow, green, and orange colors. If you think they are bold you should look at their cultivars like “perfecta” which can light up your garden even on the cloudier day and for weeks on end. Amaranthus Tricolor is an annual plant that can be easily grown from seeds.

Elephant Ears (Colocasia esculenta)

Elephant Ear - Colocasia - Cantigny Wheaton IL

As you can guess from the name this plant foliage looks like elephant ears. This is a tropical plant that prefers to grow in partially submerged water. Unfortunately, they grow only in hardiness zone 9 or above. You can grow them in larger tubers, which can be stored in the winter to grow again in the next season. Learn how to grow elephant ear plant

Lungwort (Pulmonaria)


Lungwort grows lovely flowers in summer but they don’t last long. Luckily the leaves are completely washed with white silver and stay live for the remainder of the growing season. These plants spread slowly but they eventually make wonderful carpets with growing flashed iridescence. Learn how to grow Lungwort.

What’s your favorite plant?

Now I’d like to hear from you: which foliage plant from today’s post are you going to try first?

Or maybe, I didn’t mention your favorite plant. Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

P.S. I reply to every comment

Before going if you want to grow beautiful flowers in your garden? Then click on these articles also.

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