11 Plants With Big Foliage For Dramatic Outdoor Gardens

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Real Men Sow

Large leaves can have a big impact on the garden. They can be a focal point and stand out from the smaller plants around them if they are well placed. These plants are great for creating an exotic or jungle look. Many plants with bold leaves are also hardy so they don’t require protection in winter.

Large-leaved plants don’t have to be restricted to large gardens. They allow you to experiment with scale in smaller spaces. For maximum impact and interest, you can introduce them to a small garden.

List Of Plants With Big Foliage That Look Great


Cannas are large, paddle-shaped leaves with brightly coloured exotic flowers. Canna “Phasion” has stunning leaves that are striped in green, purple and orange, as well as orange flowers. They don’t have the ability to withstand winter, so they need to be protected from the elements.


Globe artichokes, a majestic plant that is best placed at the back border. They form a clump with large, silvery leaves that can grow to 1 m in length and contrast well with other plants’ foliage. In late summer and autumn, they bear thistle-like flowers that grow on tall stems. Birds also love the seed heads.

Persian Ivy

Hedera colchica “Sulfur Heart” has large, variegated, yellow-colored leaves. It is a vigorous grower and has lime green flowers in the autumn. It may also be sold as “Paddy’s Pride”.

Angel’s Trumpet

Brugmansia is known for its large trumpet-shaped flowers and bold foliage. They also have a wonderful fragrance. The plant is not hardy and you should grow them in containers. If ingested, all parts of the plant can be considered to be harmful.

Elephant’s Ears

Bergenias are excellent groundcover plants, especially in partially shaded areas. Some varieties have reddish tinges to their leaves in winter, while Bergenia cordifolia “Purpurea” has unusually purple leaves throughout the year. Bergenias bear pink flowers in spring on tall stalks.

Ginger Lily

Ginger lilies are attractive and tropical-looking with paddle-shaped leaves. They are also extremely hardy and can withstand low temperatures in winter without sustaining any damage.


Scheffleras are architectural plants that are bold and deeply lobed with evergreen leaves. They are increasingly popular in UK gardens. Many are hardy, including Schefflera rhododendrifolia, pictured.


Hostas have large, variegated leaves that are often in shades of white, silver, or cream. The Hosta sieboldiana var. Elegans can grow to over 40cm in length with its large, puckered leaves. The foliage of elegans can attract snails and slugs so you should grow them in pots with slug protection.

Regal Fern

Osmunda Regalis, a giant fern, bears enormous bright green fronds which gradually unfold in spring. They turn bronze in autumn before they die back. Grow them in moist, acid soil and it looks great next to a pond.


Has large, paddle-shaped leaves and thick trunks, bananas look fantastic in tropical gardens. Musa basjoo is one of the most hardy varieties. Ensete ventricosum “Maurelii”, a tender variety with reddish-green leaves, is Ensete ventricosum “Maurelii”. You should plant it in a protected spot as wind can slash the leaves. Also, water well.

Chinese Rice Paper Plant

Tetrapanax Papyrifer “Rex” will need lots of space. The plant’s huge leaves can grow to 60 cm in length and can reach 2m in height. You can grow them in warm winters since it’s fully hardy. They’re also good to grow in full or partial sun.

Real Men Sow
Real Men Sow

Hello, I’m Pete and I’m currently based in the west of Scotland, in a small place called Rosneath, where I’m exploring my garden adventures. I personally started gardening around 6 years ago and initially, I started out by growing my favorite fruits and berries, such as strawberries, Raspberries & Gooseberries. Since then I’ve added a lot of vegetables and working closely with my neighbor, it’s been a lot of fun.