Three ways to bring colour into your garden

Bringing vivid colour into your garden isn’t hard, and it can reap benefits by lifting your mood all year round. Here are some ideas to get you started

Fabulous foliage

For length of display, leaves are hard to beat. Many plants have incredibly coloured foliage that brings vibrancy to your garden for months on end. Like the Foliage Garden at RHS Garden Rosemoor some will offer colour all year round, while others will flush different colours at different times of year.

Foliage brings vibrant and long-lasting colour to gardens
Try combining different patterns and shapes, for example in the photo above, begonias look amazing in combination with coleus (Solenostemon). Both these plants will grow really well in shady gardens and give you months of colour in summer and autumn. For plants that can live in the garden all year round, see our 10 groundcover plants with beautiful leaves.

Top tip

Plants with colourful leaves are especially useful for brightening up shady spots

Brilliant blooms

Many brightly-coloured flowers are easy to grow and are great for bees and other pollinators
Perennials are a good bet for creating colourful displays – try old favourites such as crocosmias and rudbeckias for a reliable splash of colour year in, year out. Annuals like poppies and marigolds need to be sown each year, but they’re still easy, reliable and above all, colourful. Some shrubs are useful too – try hydrangeas or buddleias for sure-fire flower power.


Top tip

To find flowers that are particularly loved by bees and other pollinating insects, see our Plants for Pollinators lists.

Sensational stems

Stems can bring vivid colour to the garden, especially in winter
There’s  a wide choice of plants which will give you months of vibrant colour in late autumn, winter and early spring from their vivid stems or beautiful bark. Dogwoods (Cornus) are particularly useful and come in a range of colours from yellows and oranges through reds and greens to jet black.

Other plants to grow for attractive stems include willows (Salix) and ornamental brambles (Rubus). Combine them with evergreen foliage plants such as mahonias for maximum effect – a dark green backdrop will make their colours stand out all the more. If you can, position them where low winter sun can highlight them.

Top tip

Stem colour is often best on young growth, so prune these plants regularly

Save to My scrapbook

Read next

Get growing – simple steps to get gardening

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.