Flower Alternatives: 5 Plants with Colorful Foliage

5 Plants with Colorful Foliage

5 Plants with Colorful Foliage

Plant Name Color Description Care Tips
Aglaonema Variety of patterns in pink-red, yellow-green, silver, and green Thrives in indirect light, water when top soil is dry
Rex Begonia Vivid colors and patterns, including silver, dark leaves with red, and fiery red Easy to care, water when leaves droop
Coleus Bright red with yellow edges, lime-green with burgundy, vibrant orange Adaptable to full sun or shade
Cordyline (Ti Plant) Red, green, variegated; pink, white, red streaks Thrives indoors or outdoors
Heuchera (Coral Bells) Variety of colors including silver, copper, chartreuse Shade-friendly, hardy perennial

Are you looking for a way to add a burst of color to your yard but have no time or inclination to grow flowers? Plants with colored leaves are the perfect alternative for you. You can find plenty of non-flowering plants with attractive foliage. There are also flowering plants that are not grown for their flowers but for their interesting leaves. These are somewhat less demanding to take care of as they are not as meticulous with fertilization, pruning, sunlight, and watering as ornamental plants grown for their flowers.

Let our list of easy-to-grow plants with colorful and striking foliage help you create a beautiful but low-maintenance garden.


A favorite houseplant of many, the aglaonema offers lush foliage in different patterns and colors. This plant can adapt to almost any setting, although it thrives best with indirect light and watering when the top two inches of the soil are dry. 

Add pink-red tones to your garden with a Red Ruby Aglaonema. If you prefer a softer shade of pink, the Harlequin Aglaonema and Golden Fluorite Aglaonema, with their yellow-green leaves with pink veins, would be perfect. Consider the Emerald Bay, Silver King, Silver Queen, and Emerald Beauty Aglaonema varieties for silver and green colour combinations.

Rex Begonia

One of the easiest houseplants to care for, Rex Begonias will bring a lovely play of vivid color and texture to your garden. You’ll love the fact that Rex Begonias aren’t hard to please. They can thrive in many conditions, and they’ll tell you when they need a drink (when the leaves begin to droop slightly). 

Begonia rex ‘Fairy’ offers patterned silver foliage, while Begonia rex ‘Rumba’ has luxurious dark, almost black, leaves with red splotches. Begonia rex ‘Spitfire’ presents a fiery red color pattern, while the Begonia rex ‘Escargot’ has snail-patterned leaves with green center and grayish-green edges.


For all-season color, the Coleus plant won’t disappoint. This very adaptable plant with attractive foliage will grow well whether planted in full sun or shade. There are over 300 Coleus species and over a thousand Coleus varieties, so there is one that will suit your gardening preference. 

The yellow-edged bright red leaves of Wildfire Blaze Coleus will surely deliver an eye-catching garden presence. Adding the showy Kong Lime Sprite Coleus, with its lime-green leaves with burgundy center, can also make a dramatic impact in your garden. The vibrant orange foliage of the Rustic Orange Coleus is also capable of livening up your yard’s vibe.


The Cordyline is known as Ti plant, a “good luck” plant with colorful, tropical leaves. They can brighten your yard with their red, green, or variegated long leaves. This woody, palm-like plant thrives indoors or outdoors. 

Choose the Oahu Rainbow Cordyline for dark green leaves with pink and white streaks. The Red Sensation Cordyline australis has narrow purplish red leaves. The Rubra Cordyline fruticosa, on the other hand, has broad leaves with wine red edges and bronze-green center. A vivid Cordyline variety would be the Kiwi Cordyline fruticosa with its yellow-and-green leaves with pinkish red edges.


You’ll love this shade-friendly, hardy perennial’s fascinating look. Heuchera, also known as coral bells, offer an assortment of colors and textures. Their ruffled leaves come in nearly every color imaginable, from frosted silver and copper to chartreuse and almost black. Some even change colors with the season and the light intensity. There are many heuchera varieties that are acclimated across different climates so you’re sure to find one that suits your climate zone. 

If you’re looking for a quick ambiance refresh, you can always turn to a display-ready fresh flower arrangement. Lily’s Florist offers various floral designs that can instantly add color and elevate the look of your living space. 

For further reading on plants we have two blog posts you may be interested in. The first is Gardening for Drought: Why People Including Drought-Resistant Plants in Their Gardens and the second is titled Breathing Easy: The Ultimate Guide to CO2-Absorbing Plants for Cleaner Air at Home.


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