Guide To Plants With Texture In Garden Design

What is texture?

Texture plays a very important role in our life, it impacts our mood and gives the illusion of depth and space. We associate textures with the way that things look or feel.

From sofas, the beds in our home to every single part in our garden including trees, leaves, and grass, whether we notice it or not, we are surrounded by texture.

By combining a degree of plant texture in a landscape, your home or garden design will be engaging and save you a lot of money on art.

Living room with plants

Why do plants have different textures?

It is an impressive art infused with nature but have you ever wonder why plants have different textures? Interestingly, that there are so many reasons that can make up a plant’s texture, such as the plant size, shape, and leaf surface. Plants have evolved these textures to survive in their environment.

What are the 3 main plant textures?

Plants can be group into three main textures:

  • Fine texture – This includes garden plants with thin stems and fluffy leaf textures, leaves with white or another color in the margins, and plants that are shiny and reflect lots of light can appear fine textured too.
  • Medium texture – Medium sized leaves and stems that are usually smooth and rounded. Most plants fit into this category
  • Coarse texture – Describes plant textures that are rough and sharp, though their main leaf structure might be large such as spiky cacti and succulents.
Diagram shows plant textures
The three plant textures can be shown in three categories: leafy plants, branches, and grasses.

When decorating with plant texture, a balance of 33% fine, and 66% coarse and medium textures is ideal. But how you use these textures is largely up to your artistic style. Anything is possible!

Let’s find out more about how plants with texture could turn your garden and your home into a textured and remarkable place.

Three houseplants
Coarse texture on the left, fine texture center, and medium texture on the right // Photo by Amin Hasani on Unsplash

Guide to plant textures

1. Fine texture

Fine-textured plants usually have small, delicate foliage; strappy, small leaves; tall, thin stems, and delicate flowers. They have a light and fluffy feel and create an illusion of filling space. Ornamental grasses are typical fine-textured plants.

Placing this texture in the house can help small spaces seem bigger. Fine, feathery, and small textures can be used to accentuate the form and color of other plants as well.

Here are some fine-textured plants that can light up your sweet home.

Grass in pot
Spiky leaves of ornamental grass are fine-textured // Photo by Dose Media on Unsplash

Summer Sparkles (Gypsophila)

Summer Sparkles is a compact gypsophila, also known as Baby’s breath. They can grow around 40cm in height with a 100cm spread, forming branched, rounded clumps with thin long stems. They are full sun plants and bloom around early summer to late summer.

With the habit of creating profuse blooms and clusters of densely white/pink flowers, they will add more texture to your bland, dull balcony. They go really well with almost every other plant, so grow them alone or use them to accentuate are selectable.

Asparagus Fern (Asparagus aethiopicus)

The Asparagus Fern, which can grow up to 100cm in height, is a wonderful botanical that is easy to grow. They’re not actually ferns, but members of the lily family. The reason why people call them ferns is because of the way their foliage grows, arching delightfully to look like the leaves of a fern.

They love bright but direct sunshine and don’t forget to give them some water, humidity keeps them green and healthy. Asparagus Fern is a lovely way to get texture in the garden and with very fine leaves, they can bring out an elegant and relaxing feeling for your home.

Fern plant
Ferns are beautiful tablepieces // Photo by Angelica Reyes on Unsplash

Parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegan)

The parlor palm is one of the most popular houseplants. Growing to around 180cm in height with a 90cm spread, it forms thin stems and feathery leaves with a fresh green color. The parlor palm creates a charming and delicate form with an airy overall texture.

Although they are famous because of their looks, people also know them from NASA’s list of “50 Indoor plants that clean the air”, which highlighted their air-improving ability. Unlike some other plants, parlor palm is an easy-going one. They can survive in low light conditions but no light at all is not healthy for them.

Place a couple of parlor palm pots in the house and your bland corners will be absolutely jazzed.

Hens and chicks (Sempervivums)

Hens and chicks are beautiful plants, also called Liveforever. There are around 40 species of these flowering plants, growing up to 12cm in height and 30cm wide. They are very low-maintenance and super easy to grow.

Known as highly aesthetic plants, they have really cool texture. The way their leaves are set up means they look like wonderful lotuses on land. If you’re looking for a plant that can bring out a relaxing and calming vibe for your home, then sempervivums are perfect for that.

Chicks and hens plant
Hens and chicks and other succulents could be considered fine-textured too // Photo by Kimberly Fowler on Unsplash

2. Medium texture

Medium-textured plants are the most common plant type. Different from fine texture, medium-textured plants have bigger foliage and branches, their medium-sized leaves normally arching into simpler shapes with smoother edges.

The structure and size of their leaves are dissimilar to the fine-textured plants. With medium-sized foliage, it allows them to create a cozy feeling. Interestingly, if you place them alone, they will help to reduce empty space; but if you mix them with plants that have a fine plant texture, your home or landscapes will appear to have more room. That’s why they work very well as background plants.

Have a quick look at our plant recommendations below for some beautiful medium-textured plants that will refresh your home.

Cast iron plant

Cast Iron plant is a popular indoor plant. They have thin stems that grow up to 60cm in height and elongated forming leaves. Being low maintenance, a fair amount of neglect is acceptable for them.

Moreover, their charming appearance is almost perfect for every corner of your house; regardless of where you place them. By the door, by the sofa, or in the bathroom, they still bring out a fresh and peaceful vibe.

The combination between deep green colors, dense and luscious foliage, and their low effort requirements has turned them into a must-have plant for interiorscape gardeners looking for a textured landscape design.

Medium textured plant
The Cast iron plant used against a fine-textured background Image @ Codel.com

Pothos

Pothos or Devil’s Ivy is a type of vine plant. The reason why people call them the Devil’s Ivy is because they can survive even in the worst conditions and neglect and use other plants as a support to grow. This enables the plant to reach sunlight with a minimum investment of energy.

Even though their characteristics can be bad if planted outdoors, they do great for growing inside.

Pothos has pretty, heart-shaped foliage, and they look fabulous in any room; you can hang them up or let them sit on top of the fireplace. They love the bright, indirect light, but room light or even deeper shade will also be fine for them.

Peperomia (Variegated)

Unlike other green plants, Peperomia variegated has very nice and unique coats on their leaves. They are bushy plants, thick stems with glossy, cupped, heart-shaped leaves, growing up to 25 – 30 cm in height; easy to grow and don’t need to constantly take care of. The interesting part comes from their multiple shades of olive, envy green, and cream white/yellow color. Their merry appearance will look right on any spot of your house, place them by the bookshelves or on your desks to create colorful environments.

ZZ plant

ZZ Plant is a beautiful plant with shiny medium-sized leaves, thick evergreen foliage; growing up to 30-60 cm in height. They are very easy to grow, accept a fair amount of neglect, and can also grow with a lack of water and low light levels.

They look good in almost any location in your house, their upright stems with glossy oval leaves can easily bright up your bland corner; they can also clean the air in your home too. But like several house plants, they are mildly toxic if ingested. To keep it safe, keep them away from children and pets.

ZZ plant leaves
Fine textured leaves of a ZZ Plant // Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

3. Coarse texture

We identify plants with coarse texture by their thick stems or branches and large leaves with irregular edges. Different from fine texture and medium texture, coarse plants bring out a rough and bold feeling; because of their characteristics, they are very visible and tend to catch the eye. Coarse-textured plants can provide a highlight for your house and they look good in virtually any location.

Here are some suggestions for coarse-textured plants that will make your home become a fun and interesting place, with coarse texture contrast!

Chinese fan palms

Chinese fan palm is one of the most popular indoor palms. It’s a lovely little plant with foliage that looks like large fans with ridges running down the leaf and becoming feathers at the end. It grows 30~60cm in height when grown indoors. Chinese fan palm is a slow-growing plant so it may take them years to grow into their maximum height.

Plants like the Chinese fan palm have a coarse texture that boldly draws attention, yet has enough detail and complexity to keep that attention. Place them center stage in your garden or with medium sized plants to create an arrangement that is more like art than just ordinary garden plants.

Fan palm plant
Palm trees often have fan like leaf structures that are coarse in texture // Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Philodendron Lacerum

Philodendron Lacerum has always been a wonderful houseplant for decades. Coming from a climbing genus, they stand out with their dramatic large leaves with irregular edges, they are also low maintenance and easy to grow.

Plus, they have the kind of incredible glossy green color only found in tropical rain forests. With an untrimmed max height of 70 feet, Philodendron Lacerum are well known in the landscape and interior design world for their tall stature. Their coarse frilly leaf textures are perfect to decorate with in large rooms or hallways or anywhere that can carry their size.

Hydrangea macrophylla

Hydrangea Macrophylla is a charming shrub, which is known for its big leaves and rounded flower clusters (Mopheads) or (Lacecaps) with flat flower clusters. They are not so difficult to grow and can reach 200cm in height with a 250cm spread.

Suitable to place in wide rooms or outside in any garden landscape with enough sunlight and moisture, they pack a punch when it comes to contrast and colorful textures. Plus, the element that affects their flower color is the pH of the soil which you are totally capable to adjust.

Hydrangea Macrophylla is the most beautiful around spring-summer. If you’re a summer lover then this is the plant that you can’t miss- its beauty will turn your home or garden into a remarkable and dreamy place.

Beautiful flowers in a pot
Hydrangea Macrophylla in Photo by Maarten Deckers on Unsplash

Prickly pear

Prickly Pear is a plant with distinctive looks, comes from the desert so they demand very low maintenance, survive in extremely rough conditions and grow to around 50cm in height. They have classic spines and flattened, fleshy, oval-shaped leaves in a dark green olive color that sprout beautiful fruit-like flowers.

Having a unique appearance, Prickly pear is pretty popular in home and garden plant design. They are perfect for any spot in your house, but people normally place them in the living room or garden to create a desert landscape

The start of your plant texture experiments

Using plant texture helps a lot to design your home or garden. When considering your design theme, don’t hesitate to mix and match plants together. The right plant texture can create a wonderful appearance, enhance your mood, and make your landscape engaging.

For more home decorating tips, check out our full guide on interior design. Or if you have all the inspiration you need and just need a planter, then we have the best!

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