Learn About Types of Foliage for Flower Arranging from HGTV
From: DK Books - Flower Arranging
Some foliage works better in large arrangements to fill out and shape the design, while sculptural grasses create interest and height. Other foliage, usually of year-round varieties, works better in small designs to give added detail and color. Ultimately, the foliage that you choose for an arrangement will depend on its seasonal or year-round availability.
With the exception of ruscus, year-round foliage tends to be short and so is best used for medium-sized and compact arrangements. Choose foliage such as pittosporum, bear grass, snake grass, leather leaf and black ti and green ti leaves. Salal, shown at the far left, is a dense filler best used for small designs and bouquets. The unusual silver-green leaves, pleasant scent and handsome arching stems of eucalyptus, beside it, enhance the shape of a design and add an extra flourish. The attractive feathery leaves on long curved stems of the next example, ruscus, add a delicate texture to a design.
The tall, straight stems of smokebush, forsythia, white leaf and rhododendron are ideal for large displays, and any side shoots can be used at the edges of a design, or in a compact arrangement. The red-stemmed foliage of red robin, shown second from the right, adds a rich color accent to a fall display. Tall and dramatic, privet (far right) provides an effective backdrop for long-stemmed flowers. Hebe, berried ivy, senecio and hypericum are best-suited for compact arrangements. With its unusual lime-green color and lacy appearance, alchemilla, shown at center-right, is ideal for breaking up a dense mass of flowers. It is pretty enough to be used like a flower in some designs. Condition seasonal foliage well, or it will quickly droop.