When to Use Foliage Crops

ipomea_margauriteSometimes, a landscape design gets caught “in-between”—one wave of flowers has passed by but the next wave hasn’t started up yet. To provide yourself with a buffer, consider using foliage crops to keep the garden design interesting and vibrant even during those lulls in the action.

Foliage crops also tie the seasons together in a design. They provide spring, summer and fall interest, even though the center of attention in the garden might change. Some varieties are perfect for providing a dramatic statement or a long-lasting center of attention; others excel as supporting players, adding background interest while covering up an unattractive piece of ground. 

For example, we have several groundcover choices that are highly effective at covering up those bare patches that begin to appear in August:


Three different types of Hedera, also know as Ivy, feature different leaf colors, variegations and shapes. Ivies are tough and durable, and they are especially good at soil control in areas where conditions are hard and rough.


Ipomoeas have interesting shapes and colors. Mix several blocks together in the same garden to create a sort of tossed salad effect that is beautiful and very low maintenance. The leaves are light, so they tend to sway gently in the breeze. Plus, Ipomeas stay low and wide so they are good at covering large areas while keeping the view above clear.

Asparagus Fern

We like to use Asparagus Fern in containers and smaller beds to form a small field of green that covers up imperfections in the soil or mulch.

Never underestimate the importance of the background in your presentations. A careful choice of foliage will set the stage for the dramatic character you hope to bring out, and sometimes it can be captivating on its own.