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

Acacia aneura

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

Brahea armata

Common Name: Blue hesper palm
Plant Type: Palm
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 30 ft. - 40 ft.   Width: 15 ft. - 20 ft.

Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’

Common Name: Purple-leaved eastern redbud
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.

Cupressus arizonica + cvs

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

Eriobotrya deflexa

Common Name: Bronze loquat
Plant Type: Tree
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun
Height: 25 ft. - 30 ft.   Width: 25 ft. - 30 ft.

Lagerstroemia indica + cvs

Common Name: Crape myrtle
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.

Olea europaea + cvs

Common Name: Mediterranean olive
Plant Type: Tree
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 25 ft. - 35 ft.   Width: 20 ft. - 30 ft.

Pistacia chinensis

Common Name: Chinese pistache
Plant Type: Tree
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 25 ft. - 35 ft.   Width: 25 ft. - 35 ft.

Shrubs and Vines

Abutilon palmeri

Common Name: Indian mallow
Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 6 ft. - 8 ft.   Width: 6 ft. - 8 ft.

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’

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

Artemisia californica

Common Name: California sagebrush
Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 5 ft.   Width: 5 ft. - 7 ft.

Artemisia californica ‘Canyon Gray’

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

Artemisia californica ‘Montara’

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

Dendromecon harfordii

Common Name: Island bush poppy
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 6 ft. - 10 ft.   Width: 6 ft. - 10 ft.

Dodonaea viscosa ‘Purpurea’

Common Name: Purple hopseed bush
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 ft. - 18 ft.   Width: 6 ft. - 12 ft.

Encelia farinosa

Common Name: Incienso, Brittlebush
Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 5 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 5 ft.

Euphorbia rigida

Common Name: Silver spurge
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 2 ft. - 3 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Hyptis emoryi

Common Name: Desert lavender
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height:   Width:

Isomeris arborea

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

Punica granatum + cvs

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

Salvia apiana

Common Name: White sage
Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 4 ft. - 5 ft.

Santolina chamaecyparissus

Common Name: Lavender cotton
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 1 ft. - 2 ft.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Senna artemisioides

Common Name: Feathery cassia
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 6 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 6 ft.

Senna phyllodinea

Common Name: Silvery cassia
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 5 ft.   Width: 4 ft. - 6 ft.

Vitis californica + cv

Common Name: California grape
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.

Perennials and Grasses

Achillea ‘Moonshine’

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

Artemisia pycnocephala

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

Baileya multiradiata

Common Name: Desert Marigold
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 18 in.   Width: 24 in. - 30 in.

Carex buchananii

Common Name: Leather leaf sedge
Plant Type: Grass, Sedge
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun
Height: 2 ft. - 3 ft.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Carex testacea

Common Name: Orange sedge
Plant Type: Grass, Sedge
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun
Height: 18 in.   Width: 18 in.

Dianella revoluta ‘Little Rev’

Common Name: Dwarf flax lily
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.

Dianella tasmanica ‘Variegata’

Common Name: Variegated flax lily
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: Morning sun, Moderate shade, All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 2 ft.   Width: 2 ft.

Dymondia margaretae

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

Eriogonum crocatum

Common Name: Saffron buckwheat
Plant Type: Perennial, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 18 in.   Width: 18 in. - 24 in.

Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii

Common Name: Mediterranean spurge
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Euphorbia myrsinites

Common Name: Creeping spurge
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 in.   Width: 18 in.

Festuca californica

Common Name: California fescue
Plant Type: Grass, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Partial sun
Height: 1 ft. - 2 ft.   Width: 1 ft. - 2 ft.

Festuca glauca & cvs

Common Name: Blue fescue
Plant Type: Grass
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 15 in.   Width: 12 in. - 15 in.

Juncus patens

Common Name: California gray rush
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.

Perovskia atriplicifolia

Common Name: Russian sage
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Phormium ‘Guardsman’

Common Name: New Zealand flax
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun
Height: 5 ft. - 7 ft.   Width: 4 ft. - 5 ft.

Phormium ‘Jack Sprat’

Common Name: Jack Sprat dwarf flax
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun
Height: 18 in.   Width: 18 in.

Romneya coulteri + cv

Common Name: Matilija poppy
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.

Salvia officinalis ‘Purpurescens’

Common Name: Purple garden sage
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Salvia officinalis + cvs

Common Name: Garden sage
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Exposure:
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Stachys byzantina

Common Name: Lamb's ear
Plant Type: Ground cover, Perennial
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 6 in. - 12 in.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Succulents

Aeonium ‘Kiwi’

Common Name: Kiwi aeonium
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.

Aeonium ‘Sunburst’

Common Name: Sunburst aeonium
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.

Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’

Common Name: Black rose aeonium
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.

Agave ‘Blue Flame’

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

Agave ‘Blue Glow’

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

Agave americana ‘Mediopicta Alba’

Common Name: White-striped century plant
Plant Type: Agave
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Agave attenuata

Common Name: Fox tail agave
Plant Type: Agave
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 3 ft. - 5 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 5 ft.

Agave attenuata ‘Boutin Blue’

Common Name: Blue fox tail agave
Plant Type: Agave
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 5 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 5 ft.

Agave bracteosa

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

Agave parryi + var

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

Aloe ‘Blue Elf’

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

Aloe plicatilis

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

Aloe striata

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

Aloe vera

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

Cistanthe grandiflora

Common Name: Rock purslane
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun
Height: 12 in.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Crassula arborescens

Common Name: Silver dollar plant
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Crassula perfoliata var. falcata

Common Name: Propeller plant
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun
Height: 1 ft. - 2 ft.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Dasylirion wheeleri

Common Name: Desert spoon
Plant Type: Yucca
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 4 ft. - 7 ft.   Width: 4 ft. - 7 ft.

Dudleya species

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

Echeveria ‘Afterglow’

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

Echeveria imbricata

Common Name: Blue rose echeveria
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun
Height: 6 in. - 12 in.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Echinocactus grusonii

Common Name: Golden barrel cactus
Plant Type: Cacti
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 24 in.   Width: 18 in. - 30 in.

Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Sticks on Fire’

Common Name: 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.

Graptopetalum paraguayense

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

Kalanchoe luciae

Common Name: Flapjack plant
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.

Lampranthus deltoides

Common Name: Pink ice plant
Plant Type: Ground cover, Succulent, Iceplant
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 10 in. - 12 in.   Width: 24 in. - 30 in.

Opuntia violacea var. santa rita

Common Name: Purple prickly pear
Plant Type: Cacti
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 4 ft. - 5 ft.

Portulacaria afra

Common Name: Elephant food
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun
Height: 6 ft. - 8 ft.   Width: 6 ft. - 8 ft.

Sedum nussbaumerianum

Common Name: Coppertone stonecrop
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 15 in.   Width: 18 in.

Sedum x rubrotinctum

Common Name: Pork and beans
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun
Height: 6 in. - 8 in.   Width: 12 in. - 15 in.

Senecio serpens

Common Name: Blue chalksticks
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.

Senecio talinoides ssp. mandraliscae

Common Name: Blue finger
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.