Accent Plants

One way to add interest to a garden is to add accent plants. These plants have a contrasting color, form, flowers, texture or size compared to the adjacent plants.

Color Accents

Red Japanese Maple is a good contrast to the surrounding green foliage. The weeping Willow is also a good accent.

The Smoke Tree is a good accent when it is flowering and fruiting.

Red Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Lady in Red’) works well with the surrounding green plants.

Orange Rocket Barberry attracts the eye from the nearby plants.

The yellow color of the above grass-like plants make them good accents.

The top plant is Bowles Golden Sedge (Carex elata ‘Bowles Golden’)

The bottom plant is Dwarf Golden Bamboo)

Three accents in a row (Berberis ‘Orange Rocket’)

Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) is a house plant that can be used as an outdoor accent for the warm season.

Blue-grey foliage of Catmint contrasts with Rubus ground cover.

Form Accents

Camperdown Elm’s weeping habit is a good contrast to the surrounding plants.

The weeping form of the Weeping Japanese Cherry becomes an accent even though the color and texture is similar to the background plants.

This Resteo has a strong weeping habit and attracts attention to the ponds below.

The Fairy Wand has a strong spiky accent form.

Spiky form of Dasylirion quadrangulatum

The conical form of the Alberta Spruce is a good accent. But when you have too many accents in a small area they lose their effectiveness.

Flower Accents:

The chartreuse green flower color of the Euphorbia ‘Blue Haze’ is very unusual and therefore creates an accent.

The flowers of the Saffron Buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum ‘Shasta Sulfur’) are a contrast to the surrounding green foliage.

Some plants are not an accent but when they are in bloom like this Fremontodendron they stand out in the landscape.

Texture Accents

Any plant with much larger leaves than the surrounding plants becomes an accent for that area. Chilean Umbrella Plant (Gunnera tinctoria)

Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) is related to the common artichoke.

Size Accents

The Mexican Orange in the background becomes the accent because of its larger size compared to adjacent plants.

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