texture1Texture is such an exciting element in plants-and plantings.  Defined by Wikipedia as “an identifying quality”, or the “appearance and feel of a surface”, the texture of a plant can be about its appearance.  Some plants are shiny leaved; some have felted leaves.  Some leaves and flowers are thin (sometimes referred to as “substance”) and some are thick and juicy looking. Some leaves are wisy and airy looking-others are big and broad-and look as though even a big wind wouldn’t disturb them. This kale is ultra-crinkled-beautiful.

texture2Texture can also refer to how a plant feels to the touch-who could resist touching this scotch moss?  Contrasting textures can make for a lot of excitement in a planting-but even the relationship of one small texture to another can be interesting. 

texture3Some plantings where all the textures read similarly encourage focus on color, or mass.  The choice of plants very much dictates what about a plant or planting becomes the dominant element.  This box of grass, euphorbia Diamond Frost, thyme and sedum has that casual roadside weed look to it.  You notice the blue of the sedum first off, as the textures of all the plants are so similar.  There is a whole story here about little leaves. 

texture4Malabar spinach has thick, substantial leaves that are glossy and wrinkled.  This texture reads all the more strongly for its pairing with the diminuitive felted stems and leaves of lime licorice. 

texture5The hunky, toothy, slighting menacing leaves of this cardoon are softened by the much less architectural “Dallas Blues” panicum grass-and the so sweet blue petunias.  The cardoon has a felted leaf-the panic grass is smooth and shiny.  Those blue petunias are along for the ride-and soften much the architecture of the cardoon-and the pot.

texture6Large flowers like zinnias and petunias have a simple texture, while its companion grass has a complex, texture-like fireworks. Diametrically opposed to this delicately textured grass, caladiums and this lime dieffenbachia have leaves so thin and so wide the sun shines through them; it looks like the lights are on in this very shady spot.  Identifying what about a particular plant you like will help a lot to inform your design with them.  Everyone knows texture.  Its the process of being conscious of it that can help make for inspired plantings .



  1. i am learning a lot from these posts. who knew?

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