Description

It is a popular design practice to punctuate landscapes and gardens at any scale with plants that have attractive foliage color. Such plants can provide colorful contrast and variety to the various shades of greens that all too easily dominate the color scheme of many designs. Plants with distinctive foliage color can also provide year round value and outlast the short term impact of flowers.

Plants included on this list have foliage colors that range from olive and gray to red and purple, and two groups of variegated foliage based upon yellow and white. All of these plants are used to provide relief and interest that can last year round. Larger plants can provide important color contrast when placed in background areas; smaller ones can help define borders. All can be useful for accent and focal plantings.

Plant List

Trees and Palms

Arizona cypress + cvs

Botanical Name: Cupressus arizonica
Plant Type: Tree, Native
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 35 ft. - 50 ft.   Width: 5 ft. - 15 ft.

Blue hesper palm

Botanical Name: Brahea armata
Plant Type: Palm
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 30 ft. - 40 ft.   Width: 15 ft. - 20 ft.

Bronze loquat

Botanical Name: Eriobotrya deflexa
Plant Type: Tree
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun
Height: 25 ft. - 30 ft.   Width: 25 ft. - 30 ft.

Chinese pistache

Botanical Name: Pistacia chinensis
Plant Type: Tree
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 25 ft. - 35 ft.   Width: 25 ft. - 35 ft.

Crape myrtle

Botanical Name: Lagerstroemia indica
Plant Type: Tree
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 6 ft. - 30 ft.   Width: 10 ft. - 30 ft.

Mediterranean olive + cvs

Botanical Name: Olea europaea
Plant Type: Tree
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 25 ft. - 35 ft.   Width: 20 ft. - 30 ft.

Mulga

Botanical Name: Acacia aneura
Plant Type: Tree
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 15 ft. - 20 ft.   Width: 15 ft. - 20 ft.

Purple-leaved eastern redbud

Botanical Name: Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'
Plant Type: Tree
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 25 ft. - 35 ft.   Width: 25 ft. - 35 ft.

Sunburst thornless honey locust

Botanical Name: Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis 'Sunburst'
Plant Type: Tree
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 25 ft. - 30 ft.   Width: 25 ft. - 30 ft.

Shrubs and Vines

Bladderpod

Botanical Name: Isomeris arborea
Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 4 ft. - 6 ft.   Width: 4 ft. - 6 ft.

California grape + cv

Botanical Name: Vitis californica
Plant Type: Vine, Native
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Exposure: Morning sun, Moderate shade, All day sun
Height: 30 ft. - 40 ft.   Width: 30 ft. - 40 ft.

California sagebrush

Botanical Name: Artemisia californica
Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 5 ft.   Width: 5 ft. - 7 ft.

Canyon Gray sagebrush

Botanical Name: Artemisia californica 'Canyon Gray'
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 15 in. - 18 in.   Width: 8 ft. - 10 ft.

Desert lavender

Botanical Name: Hyptis emoryi
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height:   Width:

Feathery cassia

Botanical Name: Senna artemisioides
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 6 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 6 ft.

Incienso, Brittlebush

Botanical Name: Encelia farinosa
Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 5 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 5 ft.

Indian mallow

Botanical Name: Abutilon palmeri
Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 6 ft. - 8 ft.   Width: 6 ft. - 8 ft.

Island bush poppy

Botanical Name: Dendromecon harfordii
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 6 ft. - 10 ft.   Width: 6 ft. - 10 ft.

Lavender cotton

Botanical Name: Santolina chamaecyparissus
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 1 ft. - 2 ft.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Montara sagebrush

Botanical Name: Artemisia californica 'Montara'
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 24 in.   Width: 3 ft. - 5 ft.

Pomegranate + cvs

Botanical Name: Punica granatum
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 10 ft. - 20 ft.   Width: 10 ft. - 20 ft.

Powis Castle artemisia

Botanical Name: Artemisia 'Powis Castle'
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 2 ft. - 3 ft.   Width: 4 ft. - 6 ft.

Purple hopseed bush

Botanical Name: Dodonaea viscosa 'Purpurea'
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 ft. - 18 ft.   Width: 6 ft. - 12 ft.

Silver spurge

Botanical Name: Euphorbia rigida
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 2 ft. - 3 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Silvery cassia

Botanical Name: Senna phyllodinea
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 5 ft.   Width: 4 ft. - 6 ft.

White sage

Botanical Name: Salvia apiana
Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 4 ft. - 5 ft.

Perennials and Grasses

Blue fescue

Botanical Name: Festuca glauca & cvs
Plant Type: Grass
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 15 in.   Width: 12 in. - 15 in.

California fescue

Botanical Name: Festuca californica
Plant Type: Grass, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Partial sun
Height: 1 ft. - 2 ft.   Width: 1 ft. - 2 ft.

California gray rush

Botanical Name: Juncus patens
Plant Type: Grass, Rush, Native
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Exposure: Morning sun, Moderate shade, All day sun
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.   Width: 18 in. - 24 in.

Creeping spurge

Botanical Name: Euphorbia myrsinites
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 in.   Width: 18 in.

Desert Marigold

Botanical Name: Baileya multiradiata
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 18 in.   Width: 24 in. - 30 in.

Dwarf flax lily

Botanical Name: Dianella revoluta 'Little Rev'
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: Morning sun, Moderate shade, All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.   Width: 18 in. - 24 in.

Garden sage + cvs

Botanical Name: Salvia officinalis
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Exposure:
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Jack Sprat dwarf flax

Botanical Name: Phormium 'Jack Sprat'
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun
Height: 18 in.   Width: 18 in.

Lamb’s ear

Botanical Name: Stachys byzantina
Plant Type: Ground cover, Perennial
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 6 in. - 12 in.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Leather leaf sedge

Botanical Name: Carex buchananii
Plant Type: Grass, Sedge
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun
Height: 2 ft. - 3 ft.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Matilija poppy + cv

Botanical Name: Romneya coulteri
Plant Type: Perennial, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 6 ft. - 10 ft.   Width: 6 ft. - 10 ft.

Mediterranean spurge

Botanical Name: Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Moonshine yarrow

Botanical Name: Achillea 'Moonshine'
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 2 ft.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

New Zealand flax

Botanical Name: Phormium 'Guardsman'
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun
Height: 5 ft. - 7 ft.   Width: 4 ft. - 5 ft.

Orange sedge

Botanical Name: Carex testacea
Plant Type: Grass, Sedge
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun
Height: 18 in.   Width: 18 in.

Purple garden sage

Botanical Name: Salvia officinalis 'Purpurescens'
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Russian sage

Botanical Name: Perovskia atriplicifolia
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Saffron buckwheat

Botanical Name: Eriogonum crocatum
Plant Type: Perennial, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 18 in.   Width: 18 in. - 24 in.

Sandhill sage

Botanical Name: Artemisia pycnocephala
Plant Type: Perennial, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 8 in. - 12 in.   Width: 18 in. - 24 in.

Silver carpet

Botanical Name: Dymondia margaretae
Plant Type: Ground cover, Perennial
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 1 in. - 3 in.   Width: 1 ft. - 2 ft.

Silver carpet aster

Botanical Name: Lessingia filaginifolia 'Silver Carpet'
Plant Type: Ground cover, Perennial
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 4 in.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Variegated flax lily

Botanical Name: Dianella tasmanica 'Variegata'
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: Morning sun, Moderate shade, All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 2 ft.   Width: 2 ft.

Wild rye

Botanical Name: Leymus condensatus 'Canyon Prince'
Plant Type: Grass, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 4 ft. - 5 ft.   Width: 4 ft. - 5 ft.

Succulents

Afterglow echeveria

Botanical Name: Echeveria 'Afterglow'
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun
Height: 6 in. - 8 in.   Width: 10 in. - 12 in.

Artichoke agave + var

Botanical Name: Agave parryi
Plant Type: Agave
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 2 ft. - 3 ft.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Black rose aeonium

Botanical Name: Aeonium arboreum 'Zwartkop'
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 2 ft. - 3 ft.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Blue chalksticks

Botanical Name: Senecio serpens
Plant Type: Ground cover, Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 6 in. - 8 in.   Width: 1 ft. - 2 ft.

Blue Elf aloe

Botanical Name: Aloe 'Blue Elf'
Plant Type: Aloe
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 15 in. - 18 in.   Width: 24 in.

Blue finger

Botanical Name: Senecio talinoides ssp. mandraliscae
Plant Type: Ground cover, Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 12 in. - 18 in.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Blue Flame agave

Botanical Name: Agave 'Blue Flame'
Plant Type: Agave
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 5 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 5 ft.

Blue fox tail agave

Botanical Name: Agave attenuata 'Boutin Blue'
Plant Type: Agave
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 5 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 5 ft.

Blue Glow agave

Botanical Name: Agave 'Blue Glow'
Plant Type: Agave
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 18 in. - 20 in.   Width: 18 in. - 20 in.

Blue rose echeveria

Botanical Name: Echeveria imbricata
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun
Height: 6 in. - 12 in.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Coppertone stonecrop

Botanical Name: Sedum nussbaumerianum
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 15 in.   Width: 18 in.

Coral aloe

Botanical Name: Aloe striata
Plant Type: Aloe
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 12 in. - 24 in.   Width: 12 in. - 24 in.

Desert spoon

Botanical Name: Dasylirion wheeleri
Plant Type: Yucca
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 4 ft. - 7 ft.   Width: 4 ft. - 7 ft.

Dudleya species

Botanical Name: Dudleya
Plant Type: Succulent, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 6 in. - 18 in.   Width: 12 in. - 18 in.

Elephant food

Botanical Name: Portulacaria afra
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun
Height: 6 ft. - 8 ft.   Width: 6 ft. - 8 ft.

Fan aloe

Botanical Name: Aloe plicatilis
Plant Type: Aloe
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 5 ft. - 6 ft.   Width: 5 ft. - 6 ft.

Flapjack plant

Botanical Name: Kalanchoe luciae
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 12 in. - 18 in.   Width: 12 in. - 18 in.

Fox tail agave

Botanical Name: Agave attenuata
Plant Type: Agave
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 3 ft. - 5 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 5 ft.

Ghost plant

Botanical Name: Graptopetalum paraguayense
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 15 in.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Golden barrel cactus

Botanical Name: Echinocactus grusonii
Plant Type: Cacti
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 24 in.   Width: 18 in. - 30 in.

Kiwi aeonium

Botanical Name: Aeonium 'Kiwi'
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 2 ft. - 3 ft.   Width: 1 ft. - 2 ft.

Medicinal aloe

Botanical Name: Aloe vera
Plant Type: Aloe
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.   Width: 18 in. - 24 in.

Pink ice plant

Botanical Name: Lampranthus deltoides
Plant Type: Ground cover, Succulent, Iceplant
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 10 in. - 12 in.   Width: 24 in. - 30 in.

Pork and beans

Botanical Name: Sedum x rubrotinctum
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun
Height: 6 in. - 8 in.   Width: 12 in. - 15 in.

Propeller plant

Botanical Name: Crassula perfoliata var. falcata
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun
Height: 1 ft. - 2 ft.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Purple prickly pear

Botanical Name: Opuntia violacea var. santa rita
Plant Type: Cacti
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 4 ft. - 5 ft.

Rock purslane

Botanical Name: Cistanthe grandiflora
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun
Height: 12 in.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Silver dollar plant

Botanical Name: Crassula arborescens
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Spider agave

Botanical Name: Agave bracteosa
Plant Type: Agave
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 2 ft. - 3 ft.   Width: 12 in. - 15 in.

Sticks on Fire

Botanical Name: Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire'
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 4 ft. - 8 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 5 ft.

Sunburst aeonium

Botanical Name: Aeonium 'Sunburst'
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 1 ft. - 2 ft.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

White-striped century plant

Botanical Name: Agave americana 'Mediopicta Alba'
Plant Type: Agave
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.