Creating A Pastel Plant Aesthetic With Light Colored Foliage

Overhead view of the pastel green leaves of a hosta plant
(Image credit: Harry Wedzinga)

Pastel green plants evoke a calming response in the garden. To capitalize on that fact, many designers create stunning landscapes with just one color – green. It doesn’t have to be just one color of green either. Varying shades of green contrast nicely. Lightly colored foliage plants such as the many options with heuchera or a pink bromeliad add charm and a quiet feel to their surroundings.

Sit back and relax while we take a look at light green foliage plants and pretty pastels.

Pastel Plants with Pretty, Pale Foliage

If you want to add a serene feel to your garden, design with soothing greens and delicate pastels. For a shaded area, you can’t go wrong with hostas that are shades of green and blue. To extend the blue plantings try these hostas: ‘Siebold,’ ‘Elegans,’ ‘Francis Williams,’ ‘Krossa Regal,’ and ‘Helen Doriot.’ To the front of the border add lots of Japanese painted fern for a monochromatic color scheme and serene feel. Or try Japanese painted fern with the soft, peachy tones of 'Siren’s Song Orange Delight' heuchera for a pastel and calming look.

In a partly sunny area, choose lightly colored shrubs such as dappled willow with evergreens such as ‘Green Gem’ boxwood or ‘Elf’ mountain laurel.

Here are pastel plants to try:

  • Siebold Hosta (Hosta sieboldiana) – Large hosta with heart shaped, bluish green leaves. Full to part shade. Two to three feet tall (61-91 cm.), up to a 4 foot (1 m.) spread. Hardiness zones 3 through 8.
  • Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum') – Low growing stature with silver edged, blue-green fronds and a purplish midrib. 18 to 24 inches (46-61 cm.) tall and wide. Full to part shade. Hardiness zones 4 through 8.
  • Cotton Candy Bromeliad (Neoregelia 'Cotton Candy') – In warm climates this pink, tropical epiphyte can be grown outside. For cooler climates, plant in containers that can overwinter indoors. 6 to 10 inches (15-25 cm.) tall, 10 to 12 inches (25-31 cm.) wide. Full to part shade. Hardiness zones 9 through 11.
  • Siren’s Song Orange Delight Heuchera (Heuchera 'TNHEUSSOD') – Soft, peachy tones add warmth to a shady garden. Filtered sun. 18 inches (46 cm.) tall, 15 inches (38 cm.) wide. Hardiness zones 4 through 9.
  • Flamingo Dappled Willow (Salix integra 'Flamingo') - Pink, white, and apple green variegated foliage on easy-to-care-for deciduous shrub. Full to part sun. Hardiness zones 4 through 10.
Susan Albert

After graduating from Oklahoma State University with a degree in English, Susan pursued a career in communications. In addition, she wrote garden articles for magazines and authored a newspaper gardening column for many years. She contributed South-Central regional gardening columns for four years to While living in Oklahoma, she served as a master gardener for 17 years.