Cotinus ‘Royal Purple’
- Add some plants with purple leaves to your garden to provide colour through the seasons. These are 10 beautiful plants with purple leaves to grow.
- Top 10 Plants with purple Leaves:
- 10 plants with dark foliage
- More plants with dark foliage
- Colorful shrubs for season-long beauty in the garden
- Why plant colorful shrubs?
- The best colorful shrubs for your garden
- 1. Nightglow™ Diervilla
- 2. Rainbow Fizz™ Spirea
- 3. Electric Love™ Weigela
- 4. Strobe™ Weigela
- 25 stunning Christmas wreaths for the festive season
- How to grow and care for poinsettia Christmas plants
- Poinsettia history
- How to care for poinsettia
- Top 10 Dwarf Ornamental Trees for the Landscape
- “The Best Dwarf Ornamental Trees”
Add some plants with purple leaves to your garden to provide colour through the seasons. These are 10 beautiful plants with purple leaves to grow.
Plants with purple leaves are a boon in summer when their dramatically dark foliage works hard to provide a striking contrast with bright flowers.
Many purple leafed plants also have beautifully toned young spring growth. In autumn, several of them will provide an even more spectacular show before shedding their leaves for winter.
The deeply pigmented foliage of plants with purple leaves, which is caused by a higher concentration of anthocyanin than chlorophyll, produces some of the most vivid autumn shows around. This is because the chlorophyll breaks down to reveal additional colours, while the red-hued anthocyanin becomes even brighter.
For fiery, flaming effects to see the season out with a flourish, look no further.
Top 10 Plants with purple Leaves:
Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’
10. Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’
It’s hard to think of a more versatile plant with purple leaves than Cercis canadensis. Grow it as a shrub or a multi-stemmed small tree. It could be at the back of a border or given a prominent position in the garden.
In spring, its bare branches produce clusters of bright pink flowers while its leaves emerge as a bright reddish-purple colour. In summer, these leaves darken to a rich burgundy, before maturing to a stunning mix of gold, orange, scarlet and crimson in autumn.
Grow in sun or partial shade on any well-drained soil. Ultimately it can reach 8m tall after around 20 years.
Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea
9. Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea
Berberis species are known for their spines and tolerant, robust nature, but aren’t given much credit for their ornamental qualities.
This deciduous species has reddish-purple leaves. The leaves on young shoots are pinker, giving a lovely effect when shrubs are outlined with fuzzy new growth. They also bear bright yellow blossom in summer and glossy red berries in autumn.
Berberis grows well in any soil and colours best in full sun. It’s also a surprisingly good candidate for clipping into topiary shapes.
Heuchera ‘Midnight Rose’
8. Heuchera ‘Midnight Rose’
This heuchera is like marmite in the garden: some people love the marbled purple and hot pink leaves while others hate them with a passion! If you grow heucheras in containers, make sure you take action to prevent vine weevil.
Vine weevil is less of a problem in the open ground and the plants do well in sun or shade to add some dramatic colour to the garden. The pink colouring shows best in spring.
7. Acer palmatum
This popular and well-known Japanese maple has many purple and maroon forms such as ‘Bloodgood’. Grow it in a sheltered spot out of strong winds and avoid strong sun.
The best position for Japanese maples is light, dappled shade. In autumn, the leaves turn a brilliant shade of crimson before falling and carpeting the ground with wonderful colour. They’re slow-growing plants which are suitable for smaller gardens and containers.
Cotinus ‘Royal Purple’
6. Cotinus ‘Royal Purple’
The dark purple leaves of this smoke bush will offset your borders with a dark background. The vigorous shrub produces oval leaves that are larger if the shrub is pruned back hard each year.
Cotinus are tolerant plants that grow well in sun or dappled shade and most soils, but its colour is brighter when grown in a sunny spot. It can reach 8m tall, but can cope with being pruned back hard to keep it in bounds.
Dahlia ‘Bishop of Oxford’
5. Dahlia ‘Bishop of Oxford’
The ‘Bishop’ series of dahlias are famous for their flowers but also have the most tremendous purple leaves, stems and flower buds.
There’s something autumnal about the warm orange flowers that accompany the dark purple on dahlia ‘Bishop of Oxford’. It’s a truly unmissable plant to enjoy up until the first frosts of winter. It grows to around 90cm tall.
4. Hydrangea quercifolia
The oak-leaved Hydrangea is a superb shrub for moist but well-drained soil in sun or dappled shade.
In truth, its large, distinctively shaped leaves are predominantly green during summer, but as autumn approaches, they develop purple tinges, which gradually give way to claret and crimson. The large creamy-white flower panicles make a wonderful contrast. Reaches 1.5m tall.
Sedum telephium ‘Xenox’
3. Sedum telephium ‘Xenox’
Most cultivars of Sedum telephium have purplish leaves, but ‘Xenox’ is possibly one of the best, offering a strong beetroot-purple that’s particularly striking in autumn, while other perennials fade.
Foliage colour seems to deepen when its clusters of flowers are produced, carried above the fleshy leaves like stalks of reddish-pink broccoli. They last as seedheads well into winter, too.
Rabbit-proof, attractive to pollinators and requiring next to no maintenance, this is a fine border plant, at 30cm tall.
2. Cornus ‘Kesselringii’
The oval leaves of this dogwood have a purplish tinge during summer, complementing its purple stems perfectly.
In autumn, their colour darkens and intensifies into red and purple shades – in contrast to clusters of white berries, if they’ve been produced – before falling and revealing the shrub’s dramatic stems, which become a darker purple-black in winter.
Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’
1. Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’
The black-leaved elder is more beautiful than the common elder that grows in the hedgerows. Its slim black foliage is the perfect background for showing off delicate, pink tinged elder flowers.
The flowers can be used to make a pink coloured elderflower cordial. For the most intense leaf colour, make sure you grow this tall shrub in a sunny position. It can reach 3m in height.
Offset these jewel-like plants with purple leaves against these flowers with sunshine yellow petals. Find our top 10 plants for acid soil.
Don’t forget to sign up for our monthly The English Gardener newsletter, bringing you all the grow your own advice you need throughout the year. Sign up on the right of this article. Need plants or gardening kit? Visit our directory of suppliers.
10 plants with dark foliage
Plants with dark leaves and stems can be particularly useful in the garden, helping to catch the eye and provide dramatic contrast to plants of other colours.
When combining dark-leaved plants, there are a few important things to remember. Firstly, rather than growing a group of these plants side by side, they’ll stand out more if grown alone as statement plants, or if combined with flowers and green-leaved plants, where the colours can bounce off of each other.
Many dark-leaved plants have foliage that is deep purple or a dark bronze-red colour. Combining them with plants with purple flowers and plants with red flowers will help to bring out these undertones, resulting in beautiful pairings.
More foliage features:
- 10 plants with silver or grey foliage
- Plants with bold foliage
- The best leaves for leaf mould
Discover some of the best plants with dark foliage to grow, below.
If you’re after dark-leaved plants that you can eat, purple basil is a good place to start. 1
Purple basil foliage
If you’re after dark-leaved plants that you can eat, purple basil is a good place to start. Varieties to grow include ‘Crimson King’ and ‘Dark Opal’. Other edibles with dark foliage include Chinese basil, red orache and some lettuce varieties.
Dahlia ‘Magenta Star’
Of course, not all dahlias have dark foliage, but there are some notable cultivars that do, including ‘David Howard’, ‘Yellow Hammer’, ‘Tally Ho’ and ‘Magenta Star’ (pictured). Try combining them with green-leaved plants to help the darker foliage stand out.
Actaea ‘Pink Spike’ foliage
Actaeas are gorgeous, shade-lovers producing tall spires of bottlebrush blooms. For dark foliage, go for cultivars like ‘Brunette’, ‘Pink Spike’ and ‘Queen of Sheba’. They enjoy moist, well-drained soil.
Chinese witch hazel, Loropetalum ‘Hot Spice’
Loropetalum chinense is a beautiful evergreen shrub, with deep pink, scented flowers, similar to those of witch hazel, to which it’s related. For dark foliage, go for a cultivar like ‘Fire Dance’ or ‘Hot Spice’ (pictured). Frost hardy, so may require winter protection.
Castor oil plant (Ricinus communis)
Castor oil plant, Ricinus communis
The castor oil plant, Ricinus communis, is a stunning architectural plant, popularly grown in exotic gardens alongside plants like cannas, tetrapanax and persicarias. For the darkest foliage, choose a cultivar like ‘Carmencita’ or ‘New Zealand Purple’.
Smoke bush (Cotinus)
Smoke bush, Cotinus ‘Purpureus’
In the summer months, smoke bushes (Cotinus) are covered in a haze of feathery flowers, giving them their name. Cut them back hard in spring to produce large, vibrant leaves at the expense of flowers. ‘Royal Purple’ and ‘Purpureus’ (pictured) have especially dark foliage.
Dark-leaved elder (Sambucus nigra)
Elder, Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’
Like smoke bushes, dark-leaved elder (Sambucus nigra) varieties like ‘Black Beauty’ and ‘Black Lace’ can be pruned back to ground level in early spring, to produce a fantastic display of foliage and the best-coloured leaves.
Cherry plum, Prunus cerasifera ‘Nigra’
There are several dark-leaved varieties of the cherry plum, Prunus cerasifera, to grow, including ‘Nigra’ and ‘Pissardii’. The dark foliage provides gorgeous contrast with the pale-pink spring blooms.
Cercis ‘Forest Pansy’ foliage
Cercis are grown for the profusion of small, pea-like flowers in vivid shades of pink and purple that open in spring. They look lovely grown at the back of borders. Choose cultivars like ‘Forest Pansy’ and ‘Ruby Fall’ for dark foliage.
Ninebark, Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’
Physocarpus are deciduous shrubs, particularly suited to growing in borders, where they can be surrounded with a tapestry of complementary plants. It also produces pollinator-friendly summer flowers. Try ‘Diabolo’, ‘Diable d’Or’ or ‘Little Devil’ for especially dark foliage.
More plants with dark foliage
Hylotelephium ‘Purple Emperor’ Advertisement
- Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’
- Hylotelephium ‘Purple Emperor’
- Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea ‘Helmond Pillar’
- Heuchera ‘Blackout’
- Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’
- Ageratina altissima ‘Chocolate’
- Canna ‘Russian Red’
Colorful shrubs for season-long beauty in the garden
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Find our full disclosure here.
There’s no doubt about it, flowers are lovely. But for true season-long interest in the garden, the best shrubs don’t just produce pretty flowers. They also have foliage that offers a burst of color and texture for months on end. Today, we’ve teamed up with the good folks at Bloomin’ Easy Plants to introduce you to four amazing colorful shrubs that are real standouts in the landscape.
Why plant colorful shrubs?
Shrubs with colorful foliage are among the shining stars of the garden. Not only do they dress up foundation plantings and shrub beds, they also add form and structure to perennial borders, mailbox gardens, and even hedgerows and privacy plantings. Their brightly colored leaves lend their hues to the garden for the entire growing season, not just while the plant is in flower.
Shrubs with colorful foliage often have various hues on the plant simultaneously, as shown on the fall color of Nightglow™ Diervilla.
As an added bonus, shrubs with colorful foliage often change in appearance throughout the growing season. Their new leaves may emerge one color in the early spring, only to change to a different shade through the summer months. Then, come autumn, they may turn yet another color before the leaves fall from the plants. This kind of season-long interest is hard to come by in the garden, but these shrubs have it in spades.
Of course in addition to their beautiful foliage, the best colorful shrubs for your garden also have gorgeous blooms. Regardless of their shape or color, the flowers these shrubs produce add a whole other layer of interest to the landscape. Plus, many are attractive to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, as well. Colorful shrubs are a win-win for so many reasons.
Many colorful shrubs, like this Electric Love™ Weigela, also produce beautiful blooms.
The best colorful shrubs for your garden
These four vibrant and easy-care shrubs from Bloomin’ Easy Plants are exceptional choices for any garden that receives full sun. They’re fully winter hardy down to at least -30 degrees F and require very little pruning due to their smaller stature.
1. Nightglow™ Diervilla
A stunning shrub whose foliage emerges a beautiful burgundy before deepening into a dark, velvety near-black when summer arrives, Nightglow™ bears clusters of yellow, tubular flowers from spring through summer. At autumn’s arrival, this colorful shrub changes to a brighter red before leaf drop (see photo above). Maturing at just two to three feet in height with an equal spread, this well-behaved Diervilla is perfectly suited to landscapes both big and small.
Nightglow™ Diervilla offers both gorgeous foliage and pretty flowers for season-long interest.
2. Rainbow Fizz™ Spirea
This shrub is like a living rainbow! In early spring, the new foliage is a coppery red (see the photo at the top of this page). But as summer’s heat arrives, the leaves change to multiple hues of gold, yellow, and orange. Yes, all those colors are on the plant at the same time! Oh, and to top it off, Rainbow Fizz™ also puts on a show of pink fuzzy blooms almost all summer long. Autumn brings a flush of coppery red to this colorful shrub. Its small stature of just three to four feet in height and width, combined with a mounded growth habit, make it the perfect shrub for along walkways and even in containers.
The green, orange, and yellow foliage of Rainbow Fizz™ spirea looks great with the bright pink blooms.
3. Electric Love™ Weigela
Weigela is a favorite of the hummingbirds in my garden; they adore feeding on the tubular blooms. But Electric Love™ offers so much more than just colorful blooms early in the season. The red flowers are backed by dark leaves with green veination that look rich and velvety all season long. Standing just one to two feet tall with double the spread, this compact flowering shrub with colorful foliage is so versatile. I suspect it would do just as well in a container or patio planting as it would in a shrub island or foundation bed.
Electric Love™ Weigela offers a combination of bright blooms and velvety foliage.
4. Strobe™ Weigela
Much like the previous weigela, Strobe™ is covered in trumpet-shaped flowers in the spring, though this time they’re a brilliant hot pink. Behind the bright pink blooms is a cascade of foliage colors throughout the growing season. First, the foliage on this three foot by three foot shrub is green and bronze. Then it ages to orange before turning a lovely crimson red in the autumn. The color changes may be somewhat dependant on night temperatures, so if you live where summer nights are hot, the color change may not be as dramatic. But, in areas where summer nights are a bit cooler, prepare to have your socks knocked off by this colorful shrub.
The bronze leaves of Strobe™ weigela make a beautiful backdrop for the bright pink flowers.
We hope you’ll plan to include some of these shrubs with colorful foliage in your garden. Fall is an excellent time to get planting! To find a local, independent garden center near you that carries the colorful shrubs described above, please visit the “Find a Retailer” feature on the Bloomin’ Easy website.
A big thank you to Bloomin’ Easy Plants for sponsoring this post and allowing us to help spread the word about the benefits of including foliage shrubs in your garden.
For more on great shrubs for your garden, check out the following posts:
- Dwarf flowering shrubs for small gardens and landscapes
- Panicle hydrangeas: 3 no-fail choices for reliable blooms
- Flowering shrubs for your garden: 5 beauties for full sun
- Flowering shrubs for the shade
What are your favorite shrubs with colorful foliage? We’d love to hear about them in the comment section below.
Red poinsettias are the best-selling of all, followed by white and cream-coloured varieties, reveals Stars for Europe. This is followed by bicoloured and speckled cultivars, as well as poinsettias of the pink variety. The nation’s love for poinsettias seems to grow each year, recently boosted by the ever growing popularity of houseplants alongside the fashion for all things Mexican in homes and interiors.
And with their star-shaped leaf bracts, poinsettia have become known as Christmas Stars in many other languages, including Italian; Stella di Natale, and German; Weihnachtsstern.
Marks & Spencer Large Poinsettia marksandspencer.com £26.00
The large colourful bracts of the poinsettia are often mistaken for flower petals, but they are in fact leaves. The flowers are actually the tiny yellow berry-like structures at the centre of each leaf bract, which are called cyathia.
Here are some tips and best practices on how to keep your poinsettia in tip-top condition over the Christmas period.
How to care for poinsettias: 9 golden rules
1. Many supermarkets scoop poinsettias in with flowers, placing them by the store’s front door in the hope customers will be tempted on the way in or out. But, you should never buy a poinsettia sat next to a set of automatic doors that open every 30 seconds, because it will have been damaged by those UK winds it never had to experience in Mexico. Exposure to draught or temperatures below 12°C will cause damage. Although it’s not visible at first, it may cause the poinsettia to drop its leaves soon after being brought home.
2. A healthy poinsettia plant will have intact bracts. If the little yellow buds between the coloured bracts – the actual flowers – still look tight then you’ll know that the quality of the plant is good.
3. If possible, check your poinsettia’s soil before buying. It should be neither dripping wet nor totally dry, and if it is, it’s probably not been given proper TLC so might not last in your care.
4. Finally, when you’ve chosen your poinsettia, protect it from the wind and make sure to wrap it up in paper for the journey home.
Stars for Europe
5. Poinsettias don’t like a lot of water. Always remember that the plant’s root bale should neither dry out nor be drenched. Overwatering can quickly lead to waterlogging, which in turn causes root rot and leaves you with a dead plant.
6. You should get into habit of inspecting its leaves. If they’re turning yellow or falling off, you’re probably not watering it right. Much like the case with orchids, many flower enthusiasts mean well but overwater poinsettias when they only really need a little. A small sip once every two days will be sufficient, or if you’re opting to immerse the whole root bale in water, rather than pouring, then just one dip per week should do. Small pots need watering more often than big ones, and remember: poinsettias prefer room-temperature water.
Stars For Europe/Bjarni B. Jacobsen Fotografi
In the right temperature
7. Poinsettias need warmth and light. It can be kept close to a radiator but it must be kept away from draughts. (that means NO fireplaces, open doorways, open windows or breezy hallways).
8. Just keep it somewhere that attracts daylight; a windowsill would work, so long as the window isn’t left open, and bear in mind its favourite temperature falls between 15 – 20°C, so it should be happy in most living rooms.
Life after Christmas
9. To ensure it survives until next year, you will need to prune the poinsettia in April, to about 10cm (4in), and keep it at a temperature of 13°C. Repot in May and grow it in a cool and light place over summer, ideally at a temperature of 15-18°C.
‘When November comes around, it is time to start forcing the plant – it will require 12 hours of bright daylight followed by 12 hours of complete darkness to alert it to the shorter days of winter, which will encourage the red flowers to flourish,’ advises the team at Lechuza.
TIP: You could make a floral arrangement…
If you can’t keep your poinsettia alive, chop it up and boil it for a beautiful floral arrangement, suggests Stars for Europe. Trim off at the stems below the bracts (the colourful leaves), dip the cut ends in boiling water for 20 seconds to remove the white sap, and then immediately place in cold water. Your leaves should stay vibrant and red for up to a week. Then, just arrange in a vase with or without other fresh flowers.
Wilfried Overwater/ Flower Council of Holland
‘Whilst poinsettias make a beautiful standalone feature, there are many more festive uses for them,’ explains Lechuza. ‘They make a stunning garland weaving up a staircase and around bannisters; or add a traditional touch of class to the Christmas tree with some poinsettia flowers nestled among the branches. They also make for eye-catching wreaths and add a great centrepiece on the Christmas dinner table.’
Stars for Europe
AND REMEMBER… National Poinsettia Day
The poinsettia originates from Mexico and was introduced to the US back in 1828 by Mr Joel Roberts Poinsett, the then US diplomat in Mexico. National Poinsettia Day, which takes place worldwide on 12 December, commemorates his death.
Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.
25 stunning Christmas wreaths for the festive season
18inch Light Up Golden Leaves Wreath Marks & Spencer marksandspencer.com £12.50
Add some glitter to celebrate the season in style – and this wreath is already decorated in lights for extra sparkle!
We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
Frosted pine cone wreath 40cm THE WHITE COMPANY selfridges.com £17.50
This hanging frosted pine cone wreath will look stunning both inside your home and out.
John Lewis & Partners Traditions Ruby Bauble Wreath, Red John Lewis & Partners johnlewis.com £35.00
Shiny baubles gives this wreath a pop of colour.
John Lewis & Partners Snowscape Pine Cone and Mistletoe Wreath, Green / White John Lewis & Partners johnlewis.com £12.00
Get your home set for the festive season with this beautiful pinecone and mistletoe wreath.
Artificial wreath with berries The Seasonal Aisle wayfair.co.uk £45.99
Elevate your home this Christmas with a classic festive style.
50cm Eucalyptus & Laurel Christmas Wreath Lights4fun lights4fun.co.uk £34.99
We love the pretty bow detailing on this Christmas wreath.
Floral Heart Christmas Wreath Matalan matalan.co.uk £8.00
We’re dreaming of a white Christmas and this heart-shaped wreath is perfect for helping to set the scene.
House Led Lit Wreath Laura Ashley lauraashley.com US$38.50
Bring an element of fun into your home this season with Laura Ashley’s unique take on the wreath.
Glitter Eucalyptus Christmas Wreath (50cm) matalan.co.uk £10.00
This champagne gold glitter eucalyptus will bring some Christmas sparkle to your home.
Peacock Feather Wreath Amara amara.com £285.00
Add a statement to your home with this decadent feather wreath.
Christmas Tinsel & Bauble Wreath Matalan matalan.co.uk £6.00
This tinsel and bauble wreath is excellent for both Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Succulent Christmas wreath Paperchase paperchase.com £5.00
Succulent and cacti lovers will adore this playful style. Best of all, it doesn’t need watering.
24inch Extra Large Nordic Bauble Wreath Marks & Spencer marksandspencer.com £8.85
This beautiful Nordic-inspired wreath is sure to make a statement on your front door.
Fir Leaf Wreath with Red Berries Liberty London libertylondon.com £55.96
Keep it simple with this berry and pinecone wreath from Liberty London…
Pre Lit Star Wreath Marks & Spencer marksandspencer.com £7.50
Because Christmas is never complete without festive stars…
Glitter Leaf Wreath with Pearl Berries – Silver Amara amara.com £12.00
Are you on the hunt for something more subtle? Why not get your hands on this elegant wreath with pearl berries.
Scandi eucalyptus Christmas wreath Paperchase paperchase.com £2.40
Sometimes, less is more. This affordable eucalyptus wreath is a beautiful addition in any home.
Glitter Leaf and Cone Wreath Amara amara.com £9.00
Make a statement this Christmas with this gold door wreath.
Mistletoe Christmas Wreath Micro Light Bundle Lights4fun lights4fun.co.uk £31.99
With frosted leaves and mini white berries, this artificial wreath is sure to make your days happy and bright.
Star Twigs Wreath Liberty London libertylondon.com £44.00
Silver stars makes this wreath perfect to hang in your home throughout December.
13inch Snowy Pinecone Wreath Marks & Spencer marksandspencer.com £5.00
This red and white snowy Christmas wreath ticks all the boxes.
Starry Night LED Christmas Wreath Dibor notonthehighstreet.com £20.00
Welcome guests to your home with this Nordic style wreath, perfect for neutral, pared-back interiors.
Candied Apples And Pinecone Christmas Wreath Dibor notonthehighstreet.com £12.00
Hand-crafted in the UK, this apple and pine cone wreath brings a nice touch.
Pre-Lit Illuminated 60cm Christmas Wreath The Seasonal Aisle wayfair.co.uk £36.99
Holly, leaves, baubles and cherry-red flowers adorn this large pre-lit wreath.
Pinecones Lit Christmas Wreath Very.co.uk very.co.uk £19.99
The best of both: this pinecone style is attached with twinkling lights.
Olivia Heath Digital Editor, House Beautiful UK Olivia Heath is the Digital Editor at House Beautiful UK, uncovering tomorrow’s biggest home trends, delivering stylish room decor inspiration and rounding up the hottest properties on the market.
How to grow and care for poinsettia Christmas plants
Poinsettia is a vibrant houseplant that brightens up your home at Christmas. It has bright red star-shaped leaves that are often mistaken for flowers. But in fact they are bracts, designed to help attract insects to the small flowers in the centre.
Most poinsettia are red, but they can also be white, pink and orange. And they make great table centrepieces and feature houseplants.
Poinsettia is probably the most popular Christmas houseplant. In the UK we buy around 7 million poinsettias at Christmas, and the figure is growing.
They have a reputation for being difficult to grow, but it’s not hard once you understand their preferred conditions.
Poinsettia plants are a type of euphorbia (Euphorbia pulcherrima). They are native to Mexico and were brought to the USA in 1825 by the American ambassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett.
The plant was originally cultivated by the Aztecs, who called it Cuetlaxochitl (flower which wilts). For the Aztecs, poinsettia’s brilliant red colour symbolised purity and it was used in religious ceremonies.
The Aztecs also used the red leaves to dye fabric and the plant’s sap was used as medicine to control fever.
Some people believe that poinsettia are poisonous, but in fact the toxicity is very mild and the plants are safe to grow at home.
How to care for poinsettia
Poinsettia are easy to grow at home, but yet many people have problems with them. One of the most common problems is that they simply wilt and die, and nothing can save them.
Many people think they have done something wrong, but the most likely cause is nothing to do with you. Poinsettias are tender plants and do not like cold temperatures. Exposure to icy draughts, even for a few minutes, can harm the foliage.
Make sure to choose plants from a reputable supplier and check that they have not been stored near draughty doorways. You should also take care when bringing them home from the shop to shield them from freezing temperatures.
Ask the shop to wrap the plant in paper or cover with a plastic bag so it is completely protected.
What to do if poinsettia wilts
If your poinsettia does begin to wilt, soak the rootball in warm water, then allow the excess liquid to drain away. It should perk up within an hour or so. Keep in stable conditions so it can recover.
Get more Christmas houseplant care tips here!
Top 10 Dwarf Ornamental Trees for the Landscape
Who says bigger is always better? That’s not the case with dwarf ornamental trees, which make a great focal tree in the landscape. We love dwarf ornamentals for their size, unique shapes and of course, color!
First, let’s define a dwarf ornamental tree. In horticulture, a dwarf tree is one that is artificially kept to a smaller size than is normal for average members of the species and are grown for ornamental purposes in small spaces.
In our list below, we are including naturally smaller trees as well as some slow growing trees that will accomplish the same purpose. Our Landscape Design Team and Landscape Architects have been working in Chicagoland for their entire careers and are responsible for the planting of thousands of trees. They chose the trees below for their size, beauty and most importantly, their ability to thrive and perform.
“The Best Dwarf Ornamental Trees”
- Jack Dwarf Pear: A perfect specimen for tight spaces. White blossoms appear before foliage. Tightly spaced branches form a dense symmetrical crown that leaves an impression that it’s been pruned. The glossy leaves produce fall color that can be a mixture of yellow, orange and red. Very disease resistant.10-15’Hx7-10’W Grown locally by The Barn, it is part of our Barn Premium Select line.
- Royal Raindrops Crabapple: Personal Favorite! This gorgeous bright pink flowering crabapple has refined, uniquely shaped leaves emerge glossy deep purple and maintain their rich color through the heat of summer. Fall color is a medley of bronze, orange and purple. Tiny, persistent, bright red fruits appearing in late summer are prized by wildlife, which makes this a very clean tree. Most of the fruit will be eaten before dropping. 20’Hx15’W Grown locally by The Barn, it is part of our Barn Premium Select line.
- Firebird Crabapple: The Firebird Flowering Crab is covered in stunning clusters of fragrant white flowers along the branches in mid spring, which emerge from distinctive rose flower buds before the leaves. It has dark green foliage throughout the season. Most persistent fruit and very disease resistant. Needs well-drained soil and full sun, makes a great accent. 8’Hx10’W Grown locally by The Barn, it is part of our Barn Premium Select line.
- Butterfly Magnolia: This spring, The Barn is carrying a variety of the unique yellow magnolias. Of these, the butterfly is the most well known. An exquisitely beautiful magnolia whose flowers are among the truest yellow of all hybrids. Butterflies Magnolia is covered in stunning fragrant yellow cup-shaped flowers held atop the branches in early spring before the leaves. It has dark green foliage throughout the season. The large pointy leaves turn coppery-bronze in fall. 20’Hx18’W
- Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry: A great small tree prized for its abundance of showy white flowers in spring and consistently beautiful fall colors; a great three-season shade tree for small landscapes. Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry is covered in stunning clusters of white flowers rising above the foliage in early spring before the leaves. Birds love the edible June berries. It has dark green foliage throughout the season. 25’Hx20’W Grown locally by The Barn, it is part of our Barn Premium Select line.
- Japanese Maple: At our garden center, we carry a variety of unique japanese maples including varieties of Bloodgood, Tamukeyama, Veridis, Shojo and more. A Japanese Maple is probably the ideal dwarf ornamental tree. They are extremely slow growers and uniquely beautiful. The color of their foliage ranges from green, to purple, to red and their interesting shapes, canopies and leaves make them a stunning specimen plant. Depending on the variety, most Japanese Maples top out at about 6-10′ Tall.
- Lavender Twist Redbud: Lavender Twist Redbud has rose pea-like flowers along the branches from early to mid spring, which emerge from distinctive fuchsia flower buds before the leaves. It has forest green foliage which emerges burgundy in spring. The heart-shaped leaves turn buttery yellow in fall. The fruit is not ornamentally significant. The twisted dark brown bark is extremely showy and adds significant winter interest. 6’Hx8’W This is one of our favorite dwarf ornamental trees.
- Standard Limelight Hydrangea: Limelight Hydrangea (tree form) is a deciduous dwarf tree, selected and trained to grow in a small tree-like form with the primary plant grafted high atop a standard trunk. Raising the blooms to eye height, it features enormous, dense upright panicles of flower heads that start out a soft lime green, fading over the summer to white and finally brown in fall. Great option for summer blooms. 6’Hx7’W
- Kousa Dogwood: Satomi & Heart Throb: The Satomi features splendid pink to red bracts followed in fall by hanging red fruit. Autumn leaves have red-scarlet tints. The Heart Throb: A magnificent flowering dogwood with rich pink flower petals that last one to two months, much longer than other varieties; forms a small tree, ideal as an accent in the landscape. Outstanding dark red fall foliage.
- Tri-Colored Beech: While not a true dwarf tree, the tri-colored beech features gorgeous foliage and is a very slow grower. Its variegated leaves of pink, white and green make it a great specimen tree. This is a great tree for uplighting and night lights and makes a great ornamental near a deck or patio. Prefers some shade. 30’Hx20’W, after 2-3 decades.
If you are looking for a slightly larger ornamental tree that can provide shade, read our recent blog on “The Top 16 Best Ornamental Trees for the Landscape.”
Questions? Give us a call at 847-658-3883!