Potted plants and stripey leaves for Foliage Follow-Up


It’s so simple, but I really enjoy this collection of potted plants on my back steps. I can see them from my bedroom and living room windows, and they’re a focal point when sitting outside on the upper patio. I just chose single plants to pot up in a few colorful pots, balanced by several terracotta pots — and they’re all attractive foliage plants that appreciate bright shade.

Purple oxalis (Oxalis triangularis) anchors the group in the tall turquoise pot. From the top step moving down, there’s a ‘Sticks on Fire’ euphorbia, variegated Agave desmettiana, a stripey passalong yucca from Diana/Sharing Nature’s Garden (possibly Yucca aloifolia variegata), Aloe brevifolia, Agave desmettiana ‘Joe Hoak’ (a passalong from Bob/Central Texas Gardening), and ‘Bloodspot’ mangave.


In a square terrazzo pot set in a planting bed, a nearly black ‘Burgundy Ice’ dyckia is brightened by a waterfall of silver ponyfoot (Dichondra argentea) spilling over the edge and rooting into the soil.


The silver is picked up nearby in the stock-tank planter that’s home to an Agave weberi ‘Arizona Star’ and Yucca rostrata ‘Sapphire Skies’. Behind those leans an ‘Alphonse Karr’ bamboo. Just visible at right is a variegated Agave americana in a pot. And in front of all is a rapidly growing clump of ‘Bright Edge’ yucca. Yep, this has become a spiky, variegated ghetto.


Another of my favorite yuccas is Y. filamentosa ‘Color Guard’, which looks great with anything and grows well in much colder climates than mine (up to zone 4, according to Plant Delights). Here it’s softened with bamboo muhly grass (Muhlenbergia dumosa) and more silver ponyfoot.

Please join me in posting about your lovely leaves of June for Foliage Follow-Up, a way to remind ourselves of the importance of foliage in the garden on the day after Bloom Day. Leave your link to your Foliage Follow-Up post in a comment. I really appreciate it if you’ll also include a link to this post in your own post (sharing link love!). If you can’t post so soon after Bloom Day, no worries. Just leave your link when you get to it.

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By the way, if you follow me on Facebook (and if not, I hope you will), I’m folding my two separate pages — Digging and Lawn Alternatives — into a new Facebook page called, ahem, Pam Penick. Please “Like” my page to enjoy photos of beautiful gardens and lawn alternatives, get notifications of my blog posts and upcoming talks, and just hang out with me and talk plants! I hope to see you there!

Speaking of garden talks, I’ll be in San Antonio on Monday at noon to give a free talk at the San Antonio Garden Center about losing the lawn and gaining a waterwise landscape or beautiful garden. Lawn Gone! book-signing afterward. Please join me! P.S. If that’s during your work day, just bring a bag lunch and come on out.
Where: 3310 N. New Braunfels, San Antonio, TX (adjacent to the San Antonio Botanical Garden)
What: Essentials of Gardening class, hosted by the Gardening Volunteers of South Texas

All material © 2006-2013 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

30 Responses

  1. Hi Pam, for June’s GBFF, I’m hoping a fellow blogger can help me identify my two sedums. http://enclosuretakerefuge.com/2013/06/16/foliage-follow-up-two-sedums/

  2. Pam I love your garden foliage. It is always displayed in a simple yet fabulous way!

    I am joining in and thanks for hosting!

    http://gardenseyeview.com/2013/06/10/those-wonderful-june-blooms/

  3. The garden is turning into a leafy jungle with all our rain. I am doing something similar with pot plants on the deck concentrating on foliage. Always looks great and no deadheading! http://eachlittleworld.typepad.com/each_little_world/2013/06/foliage-follow-up-6162013.html

  4. Your spikey, variegated ghetto looks good! Some of my foliage picks this month also feature plants in pots. Thanks for hosting the foliage follow-up, Pam! http://www.krispgarden.blogspot.com/2013/06/foliage-follow-up-for-june.html

  5. Anna says:

    I love the purple oxalis. wood sorels are my favorite weed. I almost never pull them out, but the purple oxalis with it’s extra large leaves and triangular leaves is very fancy.

  6. It is fun seeing what kinds of plants grow well in different climates. I have that purple oxalis, and bring it inside for the winter. It can be neglected to the point I think it’s not going to make it, but once it gets outside in the spring, it quickly grows and becomes full and lush again. http://acornergarden.blogspot.com/2013/06/foliage-follow-up.html

  7. Amy says:

    Love all that variegated, spiky foliage, and silver ponyfoot is one of my favorites (although I’ve killed it several times trying to get it established). Thanks for hosting the celebration of foliage!
    http://waitingforplumeria.blogspot.com/2013/06/foliage-follow-up-june-2013.html

  8. Denise says:

    Pam, I promise I do have a FFU buried in the Bloom Day post. I agree, the simple pots are so effective. And I bet you’re getting to be a whiz at these garden talks! http://agrowingobsession.com/?p=43040

  9. Jean says:

    I love that dyckia in the dark pot with the ponyfoot. So many nice combos in your garden Pam.

  10. Anna K. says:

    Love the shapes, colors and textures of all those cacti, agaves etc. Need to find a way of including more of those. Pots seem like the way to go – I do love your back step display! http://thecreativeflux.wordpress.com/2013/06/16/foliage-follow-up-june-2013/

  11. Your Yuccas are delightful, and I’ve always been smitten with Muhly Grass! I started my first succulent “garden” this spring, although I’ve had various Sedums in the garden for years. Thanks for your inspiration in growing succulent/rock gardens! And thanks for hosting! Here’s my link: http://plantpostings.blogspot.com/2013/06/with-peonies-blooming-two-weeks-later.html

    I hope your new succulent pots perform well for you, PP. They are quite easy given the proper conditions, asking very little in return for beautiful foliage and little watering. —Pam

  12. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Fabulous foliage Pam. Happy FF.

  13. Holleygarden says:

    I have some purple oxalis planted in the garden, but I’ve never thought to put them in pots. They look beautiful contrasting with the turquoise. Thanks for the idea. I’m linking in with my foliage post:
    http://dreamingofroses.blogspot.com/2013/06/peacock-orchid.html

  14. Jason says:

    I really like the grey foliage on that Dichondra. Here’s my contribution. http://gardeninacity.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/foliage-follow-up/

  15. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Striped foliage is gorgeous! Love the black & silver combination and may have to steal, um I mean borrow, that idea! My foliage follow up post is totally random. (Like that’s a surprise!)

    http://outlawgarden.blogspot.com/2013/06/foliage-follow-up-random-as-usual.html

  16. Hi, Pam–I LOVE that purple oxalis! Is that hard to find? It must be. I’ve never seen it around here. Lovely, especially in that pot!

    Hi, Kathryn. The purple oxalis is very common in central Texas gardens, and readily available at every nursery. How strange that it’s so hard to find in your area. If it ever produces seeds I’ll send you some. —Pam

  17. Alison says:

    Here’s my Foliage Follow-up, a day late. I’m focusing on spiky goodness like you, but I did something a little different this time. http://bonneylassie.blogspot.com/2013/06/foliage-follow-up-june-2013.html

    I just bought a purple Oxalis too, but mine went in the ground.

    Great post idea, Alison. The how-to on planting spiky dyckias and agaves is sure to be useful to gardeners wondering how it’s done. —Pam

  18. Hannah says:

    Love that silvery Dichondra and purple Dyckia! Gorgeous. Purple Oxalis is on my short list of houseplants I can’t seem to kill. It is available from some bulb companies in the summer bulb section. Little tubers in the soil live over the winter without water to make it easier to divide, or the plant can keep leaves all winter with water. I don’t think it would make it outside here… Iron Cross didn’t. I feature some variegated shrubs this month. I’m resisting the spiky plants at present… http://weedingonthewildside.blogspot.com/2013/06/foliage-follow-up-june-2013.html

  19. Scott Weber says:

    Don’t judge me too harshly, Pam…finally got mine done!!!
    BTW, love the purple Oxalis…perfect contrast to the rest of the grouping!
    http://www.rhonestreetgardens.com/2013/06/foliage-follow-up-celebrating-chartreuse.html

  20. Hilary McDaniel says:

    Please tell me what indeed to do. I can’t ever get the purple oxalis to live past May. It comes up every spring then as soon as the heat hits, it disappears until the cool weather again. We haven’t been lucky and gotten the spring rains. We are in a deep drought just north of Waco. We are in an area that seems to cause the fronts to split and go north and south of us, thereby, no rain. We water but you know there’s nothing like rain water. We collect every drop that falls. We have a 4″ layer of mulch to conserve. We are master gardeners, but this year, wacky weather has really played havoc with our garden. I’m thrilled to see your area finally get moisture. Any ideas? I have in pots and the ground, shade part sun. Thanks, Hilary

    Hilary, that often happens with my in-ground oxalis as well, especially if they get any kind of sun. My potted oxalis is way under a live oak tree, so it stays shaded, plus it’s by the hose so I give it an extra drink when I’m out there. That’s probably why it doesn’t go dormant in the summer. Or you know, maybe it’s just a stronger variety that I lucked into. It sounds like you’re doing everything right for your garden during the awful drought that Texas is suffering through. Hang in there! —Pam

  21. ricki says:

    You outdid yourself with your photos this time, Pam…gorgeous! My post focuses on gift plants this time: http://bannersbyricki.com/archives/3118

  22. Okay, so you know that I always love your foliage pics… so please forgive me that I’m a little fixated one something else right now. It’s that freaking adorable owl! I LOVE it!!! Totally makes me smile.

    I’m so far behind right now that I rolled my foliage and bloom day posts into one:
    http://blackswampgirl.blogspot.com/2013/06/a-winning-combo-bloom-day-foliage.html
    Maybe I’ll be caught up by July? (I hope!) :-)

    That owl is pretty adorable, isn’t he? He was a gift from my mom, and he’s moved around the garden a bit. But I think this is his forever home, mixed in with potted plants. —Pam

  23. I agree, it’s important to situate some plant vignettes in spots you can see from inside your house! I love your purple oxalis. Mine thrives in its outdoor home for the summer. The The silver ponyfoot is pretty too. I reminds me of licorice plant.

    I am featuring native ferns and a common nuisance vine in my Foliage Follow-Up this month!

    http://cosmosandcleome.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/foliage-follow-up-fifty-shades-of-green/

  24. Your “spiky, variegated ghetto” – my kind of slum…or is it really a barrio? My heart was into foliage, but I guess not enough to post. The mix of pots and globe on the steps are such a nice touch, and so easy to move about as desired!

    Yes, a barrio, for sure. That south of the border influence cannot be denied with these plants. —Pam

  25. Andrea says:

    They are all lovely, but i love most that silver ponyfoot. We have lots of those agaves too in the office grounds and on the highway i always pass by morning and evening to the office and home.

  26. Shirley says:

    Great foliage combos, I especially like the potted vignette. Love the sphere, I haven’t seen one that small.

    The metal sphere is from Target, Shirley! I have a couple of them. —Pam

  27. Greggo says:

    Pam, I’m trying the Color Guard Yucca in Kansas, will seed if Tony is right about zone 4. Love the spiky love. Link to my foliage post: http://greggosgarden.blogspot.com/2013/06/fine-foliage.html

  28. Mark and Gaz says:

    Lovely combinations.

    We have focussed on blue yuccas this month. http://www.alternativeeden.com/2013/07/the-other-blue-yucca.html

  29. Love the use of the silver fuzzy Indian Mullen (I think!) In the first photo on the left…. I had it planted last year for its contrast in texture, structure and colour.
    Im glad I found this blog and I will be looking for your book!