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Herbaceous perennials for winter foliage impact

Given that herbaceous perennial plants are usually expected to die back to the ground each winter it is no wonder that gardeners overlook the added impact of those herbaceous perennials that buck the trend and stick around and keep their foliage over the winter months.

I shall be focusing on herbaceous plants that have interesting winter foliage as there are some rather drab foliage plants that you want to avoid. Some of these plants will also produce decent displays of winter blossom which provides extra impact. Personally I think that any plant that does something interesting during the dreadful winter months deserves special treatment; its a tough job keeping your leaves on over the grim winter months but all of these plants do it with style!

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Latin &
Common Name
EarmarkType & FormFlowers & Foliage
Phormium - Yellow Wave - New Zealand FlaxPhormium

'Yellow Wave'

New Zealand Flax
Herbaceous Flowers, Grass, SpikeyNon-flowering
Salvia officinalis - Purpurascens - Purple SageSalvia officinalis


Purple Sage
Shrub, Herbs, Ground cover, Culinary, Container-friendly, SpreadingDark blue flowers (Summer)
Polystichum setiferum - Plumosodivisilobum - Soft Shield FernPolystichum setiferum


Soft Shield Fern
Herbaceous Flowers, Fern, Ground cover, Spreading archingNon-flowering
Liriope platyphyllus - Lily TurfLiriope platyphyllus

Lily Turf
Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Container-friendly, SpreadingViolet flowers (Autumn)
Pulmonaria Hazel Kayes Red - LungwortPulmonaria 'Hazel Kayes Red'

Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Container-friendly, Rounded - ClumpDark pink flowers (Summer early)
Epimedium frohnleitenEpimedium frohnleiten Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Container-friendly, Rounded - ClumpYellow flowers (Spring)
Pachysandra terminalis - Variegata - Variegated PachysandraPachysandra terminalis


Variegated Pachysandra
Ground cover, Container-friendly, SpreadingWhite flowers (Summer early)
Vinca minor - Bowles Variety - PeriwinkleVinca minor

'Bowles Variety'

Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Container-friendly, SpreadingDark blue flowers (Summer early)
Bergenia - Silberlicht - Bergenia, Elephants earsBergenia


Bergenia, Elephants ears
Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Spreading clumpLight pink flowers (Spring)
Helleborus argutifolius - Silver Lace - Hellebore, HelleborusHelleborus argutifolius

'Silver Lace'

Hellebore, Helleborus
Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Upright - ClumpLime green flowers (Winter)

You can use our plant-finder to find plants that match your garden conditions exactly, for example Herbaceous perennials for winter foliage impact - click to give it a try!

Have you seen our other plant top ten recommendations?