Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have all the colors of the rainbow in your backyard garden?
When you grow these 17 plants with rainbow foliage, you can!
Gardening doesn’t just have to be about green backdrops and the occasional burst of color in the spring. For beautiful flowers you can cut all year round to decorate inside your house you can read this article. But for outdoors, if you grow these beautiful plants with rainbow foliage, you’ll have all kinds of gorgeous hues to enjoy all season long.
17 Plants With Rainbow Foliage
Coleus used to be considered a plant that could only grow in shady locations, but now, this beautiful plant has been hybridized into multiple different artists that grow just as well in the sun as they do in partial shade.
You’ll find just about every kind of foliage color with this plant, including red, pink, orange, purple, and yellow. It’s easy to grow and just needs a bit of extra water during dry spells. It’s hardy in zones 2-11.
Sometimes referred to as coral bells, heuchera plants are perfect for any garden. These perennials grow low to the ground and are some of the toughest, hardiest plants you can grow.
The leaves can be any color from red to green, bronze to silver, or even purple or chartreuse! The patterns of the foliage are lovely to behold, too, with plants producing foliage that can be veined, speckled, or even spotted. Heuchera also produces red, pink, or white flowers in the spring. It is hardy in zones 3-9 and grows up to three feet tall.
The sumac tree can be found just about everywhere – but if you’re looking for more colorful foliage, you’ll want to grow the domesticated form of the native sumac known as ‘Tiger Eyes.’ This plant will produce gorgeous chartreuse foliage that brightens to a yellow as it matures. It also has pink stems that offer color year-round. It is hardy in zones 4-8 and is best grown in full sun or partial shade.
Hostas are perfect for the shade and are perennials that are hardy in zones 3-9. They require minimal care, just needing a bit of water about once a week in dry spells. Depending on the variety you decide to grow, you’ll find hostas with all kinds of foliage colors and patterns, including variegated, emerald green, blue, and chartreuse. They also send forth gorgeous spikes of lavender, white, or pink flowers in the summer for you to enjoy as well.
5. Hyacinth Bean Vine
The hyacinth bean vine, or Dolichos lablab, is another fun plant to grow for colorful foliage. It is an annual vine that produces large amounts of dark purple foliage and is easy to grow in full sun. It’s only hardy in zones 10-11, unfortunately.
The tropical canna plant produces large, oversized leaves that look bold and dazzling no matter where you choose to plant them in the garden (but it’s important to note that this rhizome-growing plant prefers full or partial sun). With green, black, bronze, variegated, or even striped foliage, this plant can be grown in hardiness zones 7-10 and will grow up to six feet tall and just as wide.
There are several kinds of ninebark you can grow, but no matter which type you decide to plant, you’ll love the dark purple, practically black foliage of this backyard shrub. An easy-to-care-for plant, it stands up well to all kinds of environmental problems, including extreme cold, drought, and even excessive heat.
The foliage of this plant is usually purple or black, but you can also find varieties with bronze, green or chartreuse leaves. These plants even produce gorgeous purple or white flowers for you to enjoy! It’s hardy in zones 3-7 and can grow up to eight feet tall.
8. Smoke Tree
The smoke tree is likely a plant that you haven’t heard of – but it’s the perfect plant to grow if you want a rainbow-hued tree that will actually change colors. It has large blue-green or purple leaves that can turn yellow, orange, or red in the fall. However, there are some with lime green leaves that become orange or red in the fall, too.
Technically a small tree, the smoke tree can be pruned into a shrub form if you want it to grow in a more compact fashion. It grows best in full or partial sun in zones 5-8.
9. Cordyline fruticosa ‘ Waihee Rainbow’
This plant, also known as variegated cordyline, tolerates a lot of sun and produces long, narrowish leaves that are splashed with all kinds of colors, including pink and green. It also grows purple fruits. A tropical plant, it only grows in the warmest growing zones but can also be grown indoors as a houseplant.
Caladium’s foliage may not represent every single color of the rainbow, but since its tropical foliage can be found in just about any shape, color, and size, you’ll find that you have a large variety of options with this plant. The perfect pick for a shady garden, the caldium grows from a tuber that is planted shallowly in the garden.
This plant is hardy in zones 9-10.
11. Wild Rabbit
A lovely colored plant with a fun name, the Wild Rabbit is a bromeliad also known as Neoregelia. A light green plant with red banding, it also has splashes of white in its variegated pattern. It grows up to six inches tall and 12 inches wide, a compact plant that’s perfect for growing as an indoor houseplant.
12. Begonia ‘Ginny Galaxy’
The begonia is another plant you can grow for endless color. However, if you want rainbow shades, go for a variety like ‘Ginny Galaxy’ or ‘Salsa.’ These multicolored plants offer green leaves splashed with shades of pink, silver, and burgundy red.
Aglaoenma, or Chinese evergreen, is a plant that many people don’t consider when they’re thinking about rainbow-colored plants to grow indoors. However, this herbaceous perennial can easily be grown as a houseplant regardless of where you live – and if you pick the right variety, like Aglaonema commutatum, you’ll be rewarded with rainbow foliage.
14. Nerve Plant
The nerve plant, or Fittonia, is a classic choice if you want rainbow-shaded houseplants. Your best bet is to grow a variety like ‘Red Star,’ which offers green leaves with deep reddish-pink veins. Another good option is ‘Juanita.’
15. Moses in the Cradle
Moses in the Cradle, also known as Tradescantia spathacea or boat lily, is technically an herb. It has rosettes of waxy green leaves that are glossy purple underneath. Choose a tri-color variety for the best and most beautifully colored foliage. It’s best grown as a houseplant indoors.
16. Friendship Plant
The friendship plant is a tropical plant that produces fuzzy foliage and can easily be established from root cuttings. It has gorgeous pink, green, and bronze foliage and thrives in indirect sunlight.
17. Rainbow Peperomia
Rainbow peperomia is another plant to consider growing for gorgeous foliage color. It grows in an upright habit and has green leaves tinged with both yellow and pink. Technically a succulent, it is remarkably easy to care for, particularly when grown as a houseplant indoors.
Finding the Rainbow Plant to Suit Your Needs
When it comes to choosing plants for the garden, it’s important that you select specimens not just for their foliage and their beauty, but also for their suitability for where you intend to grow them. Select plants that will grow well in your growing zone (or those that can be cultivated indoors) and you’ll have a much easier time when it comes to keeping them alive.
Fortunately, there are rainbow plants that can be grown in just about any climate – it’s all about finding the plants with rainbow foliage that work best for your unique growing needs!