Ornamental plants with colourful foliage for gardens


Ornamental plants with colourful foliage, that we can grow easily for outdoor home gardens. Preferably, in tropical places like Kerala and other South Indian states.

Cryptanthus plant with bright pink foliage

Usually we grow plants with blooms in different colours that make our gardens really awesome. Lantana, Ixora, Bougainville, Hibiscus etc. are examples of flowering shrubs. Likewise, ornamental trees with beautiful as well as fragrant flowers can adorn our gardens. Similarly climbing vines with blooms, are unavoidable for landscaping and trellises.

However, there are a lot of beautiful plants that are having leaves in attractive shades. Not only the colour of leaves, but many of them are having fascinating shapes as well. Surely we can grow these plants in our gardens without taking much effort.

Ornamental plants with colourful foliage – a general picture

Definitely most of us are familiar with low light plants that are having colourful foliage. Because there are a lot of such plants that we can grow easily indoors. For example, different varieties of Aglaonema, Caladium, variegated Spider plant, Money plants etc.

In a like manner we can grow many plants with colourful foliage, that can make our outdoor gardens really attractive. Commonly these plants include trees, shrubs, dwarf plants, succulents etc.

Generally these low maintenance plants, need only minimum caring. Of course, we can grow them either directly in the garden or in pots. Soil medium with proper drainage and sunny locations, are the essential requirements.

Let us see a few examples of ornamental plants with colourful foliage, ideal for home gardens.

1. Crotons – one of the most common ornamental plants with colourful foliage

Croton plant with bright green and yellow leaves

Crotons are plants with brightly coloured foliage, that grow up to a maximum height of about eight feet. Through proper pruning, we can keep it short according to the required height. 

The plant belongs to the family euphorbiacea, with a wide  variety of plants. Truly it is the abundance in variety, that makes  the plant one of the favourites of gardening lovers.

Commonly the leaves attain maximum brightness in full sunlight. Always remember that the colour fades gradually and finally turns green in low light conditions.

We can use stem cuttings for the propagation of croton plants. Moreover we can buy saplings of beautiful rare varieties from sellers. 

2. Eugenia ( Syzygium myrtifolium )

Eugenia plant with pink leaves

These are evergreen plants that we can grow as shrubs or ornamental trees. Usually the plant grows up to a height of about eight to  ten feet. Hence it is suitable for keeping as the central plant, in landscaping.

Through proper pruning we can maintain the plant shorter, which is fine for pot planting. Also lots of new buds sprout after each pruning, that can brighten up larger areas. For this reason, the syzygium plants are widely used for hedging. The tender leaves are really the colourful parts of the plant. For the leaves to attain brightness to the fullest, we should always keep the plant in sunny places.

Mainly plants with orange red as well as maroon leaves are common in tropical places like Kerala

It is easy to propagate the plant through stem cuttings. Always remember to collect cuttings from mature healthy mother plants. 

3. Coleus – ideal ornamental plants with colourful foliage

These are a group of plants having bright foliage in different shades. Moreover the fascinating designs as well as veins on the leaves make the plant really attractive. 

Coleus plants belong to the family lamiaceae in which there are a lot of species. In addition to ornamental plants, there are many herbs as well as succulents in the family. Mexican mint ( Coleus barbatus) is one of the best examples of medicinal plants that we can use for many ailments. 

Coleus plants with colourful foliage

Certainly the coleus plants are ideal for making our gardens look gorgeous. Especially with its bright foliage in a wide variety of of colours. 

Likewise it is one of the best plants for gardening beginners. Because even children can grow these low maintenance plants easily. 

Though coleus is a flowering plant, leaves are the prominent parts. Therefore, nipping the flower buds can make the plant to remain healthy.

Besides, lots of new branches sprout and spread around by pruning the plants occasionally. 

Coleus plants always need bright sunlight and moderate watering on a regular basis. In a like manner we should provide a well drained medium for potted coleus plants.

Using stem cuttings we can propagate the coleus plants. 

4. Copper leaf plants ( Acalypha wilkensiana ) – ornamental plants with colourful foliage

Copper leaf plant

These vibrant foliage plants are very common in tropical gardens. Mostly the leaves appear with reddish brown, pink or variegated green colours. 

Jacob’s coat, match-me-if-you-can etc. are the popular names of the plant, preferably according to the regions. 

This fast growing evergreen plant reaches a maximum height of about five feet. Definitely this plant is the best choice for garden fencing and hedging. Because the plant responds well to pruning, which helps to maintain the height of the plant.

Importantly full bright sunlight, regular watering and well drained medium are the essential requirements for the plant. 

5. Variegated Ficus benjamina

Ficus benjamina variegated

Ficus benjamina is one of the best ornamental trees for gardens. Also we can use the plant for different purposes such as making bonsai, keeping indoors for positive energy etc.

Further variegated species of the plant with attractive leaves in a combination of green and white colours, is really awesome. 

For propagating the plant we can use stem cuttings collected from mother plants. 

6. The polka dots plants 

These lovely plants are best options for pot planting, that we can keep at sunny places in balconies or patios. Specifically the leaves look amazing with red, pink or white dots on bright green background. It should be noted that the dots or designs fade away gradually in low light conditions. Consequently the plant will lose health and attains a dull appearance.

Polka dots plant

Baby’s tears, freckle face etc. are the common names in which the plant is known. 

Stem cuttings are usually used for propagation of the polka dots plants.

7. Hawaiian Ti plant ( Cordylin fruticosa )

Surprisingly the pinkish purple long foliage, is the main attraction of the plant. In tropical places these plants can do well, especially in bright sunlight. 

The Ti plant

Furthermore people of Hawaii consider this as lucky plant, that can bring good fortune. 

There are different varieties of the plant, and we can buy saplings from nurseries. 

8. Plants with silver leaves 

Dusty miller plant
Snake plant moonshine

In addition, there are many plants with shining silver coloured leaves that can brighten up your garden. For example, Silver dust plant ( Dusty miller ), Agave quick silver, Moonshine sansivieria ( Snake plant) etc.

9. Edible leaves for gardens

Above all, you can try certain plants with edible leaves that are equally fantastic. Definitely red spinach is one of the best choices ideal for tropical places.

Spinach pink beauty

Given above are only a few examples of foliage plants, that can make your gardens awesome. Surely you can try more plants that are popular in your locality. 

Let your garden be more colourful with plants that are having colourful foliage.