A photography of Phelan Gardens greenhouse and storefront in Colorado Springs Colorado

Annuals Accent Foliage

Give your annual flower displays an extra pop by including accent foliage in the mix. Annual foliage helps showcase flowers and comes in a wide range of growth habits including: upright, mounding or trailing. Pair foliage with flowers that like the same type of sun exposure. Some will grow best in shade, while others prefer full sun. Since they are non-flowering, still others can take either shade or sun.  They are grouped in this manner below.

For a low maintenance container planting, mix several different types of foliage for a striking display. Those listed as 'trailing' can be used in containers OR planted in the ground and allowed to grow as an annual groundcover.

Pictured below are the types of accent foliage we offer in Spring.  **Please note, for best selection come Mid-April to Mid-May.  Specific varieties will change each season.**  Come see what's new this year!


Accent Foliage For Shade


Habit: Trailing, mounding or upright depending on variety. Beautiful when paired with begonias or impatiens. Simple and elegant.

Houseplant: Algerian Ivy

Once nights warm up, tropical houseplants make wonderful companions to shade-loving annuals.

Houseplant: Pothos

Houseplant: English Ivy
Houseplant: Spider Plants
Houseplant: Swedish Ivy


Accent Foliage For Sun

Dusty Miller

Habit: Upright. Lace and traditional types both have silver foliage that pair well with just about anything. Particularly nice with pastels.

Flowering Cabbage/Kale

Habit: Mounding (very rounded form)

These get rather large so use them in the ground or in a larger container. Wonderful rounded leaves deepen in color when the weather cools in the fall.  Cabbage has a smooth leaf while kale is more frilly.

Grasses: Fountain Grass 'Fireworks'

Habit: Upright to mounding (depending on variety)

 Annual grasses add a lot of texture to combinations. They are a great alternative to traditional spikes.

Grasses: Fiber Optic Grass
Grasses: Purple Fountain Grass

Licorice Plant (Helichrysum)

Habit: Licorice types are trailing, Icicles type is upright

Tolerant of heat, wind, and full sun, these are a TOUGH plants.


Accent Foliage For Shade Or Sun

Asparagus Fern

A wonderful standby that mixes well with just about anything.  Gently arching green fronds add texture and movement to any combination.

Habit: Mounding/Trailing


Habit: Most are upright or mounding. There are a couple of types that will trail slightly that we sometimes offer.

Coleus fills up a container and can add colorful height to a planting. There are so many different colors and leaf forms that you can achieve a totally different look with each type. The darker the leaf, the more sun it can take. Lime green types must be planted in shade only.

Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia)

Habit: Trailing to Mounding depending on variety.   Trailing types can also be used on the ground as an almost flat groundcover.  We sell these as perennials but they work wonderfully in mixed containers.

Livingstone Daisy

Habit: Trailing succulent leaves are light green edged in white.  Adds a softness to the mix.
This plant, though primarily grown for it's foliage, does offer tiny pinkish-red 'daisies' that you may want
to consider in your overall color scheme.   Likes it hot.

Spikes (Dracaena)

Habit: Upright

Sometimes, you just need a little green! This upright, grass-like plant has long been a staple to add height to combinations.

Sweet Potato Vine (Ipomoea)

Habit: Trailing

Lush and tropical looking. These vines are fast growing once the weather warms. They like to remain moist. Works well as an annual groundcover in beds too.

Vinca Vine

Habit: Trailing

An old-fashioned plant that is still widely used today. Although it is an annual here, you may be able to plant this in the ground and have it come back for you if you are in a warmer part of the city.

Map of Colorado Springs with Phelan Gardens location marked

Visit Our Central Colorado Springs Location

We are open all year round and always offer the seasons most popular varieties for gardeners and plant lovers alike!

Phelan Gardens
4955 Austin Bluffs Parkway.
Colorado Springs, CO, 80918

(719) 574-8058

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A photograph of various signs that point to sections of Phelan Gardens such as Perennials, Vines, Grasses and more
Phelan Gardens Perennials section of their store