For flowers, foliage or both. The hardy and half hardy (annuals in cold climates)
 Crocosmia 'Golden Fleece' Perennial for a hot sunny border. Flowers attract hummingbirds and anyone seeking great blooms for cutting. Zones 6-9.
 Actaea simplex 'Black Negligee' (sold as Cimicifuga). "What's better than something that is black, lacy and smells terrific?" (Heims) Zones 4-7.
 Agastache hybrids Tubular flowers complement everything and attract hummingbirds. Delicate gray-green foliage. 'Apricot Sunrise' is orange; 'Tutti Frutti', pink. Zones 7-9.
 Aquilegia 'Swallowtail' "Biggest blossoms I've ever seen on a columbine." (Schultz) Yellow and lemon-yellow bicolor flowers. Zones 5-10.
 Arisaema fargesii Cobra-head blooms, plus remarkable three-part, 2-foot leaves that look decidedly tropical. "A really cool Jack-in-the-pulpit Relative." (Druse) Zones 5-9.
 Silver Spear (Astelia chathamica) Drama in a container. Silky leaves up to 4 feet long form a 6-foot clump. Zones 8-9.
 Tropicanna? Gold Canna Like yellow and green striped banana leaves. "Beautiful with Solar coleus in a whiskey barrel." (Fell). Zones 7-10.
 Coreopsis Rosea 'Sweet Dreams' Thread-fine foliage, bicolored raspberry-rose and white flowers, long blooming. Zones 4-7.
 Curcuma Alismatifolia Pink ginger relative, called Siam tulip. Striking cut flower. Sold as summer-only plant.
 Diascia Flying Colors Light and airy, quintessential container plant spills from a pot. Rose, apricot, lavender, other colors. Grow as annual.
 Dicentra Spectabilis 'Goldheart' Classic arching strings of tiny pink bleeding-heart blooms, plus neon-level chartreuse foliage. Zones 3-9.
 Echinacea 'Art's Pride' (also sold as Orange Meadowbrite). Major breakthrough in plant breeding, this is the first orange coneflower. Zones 4-9.
 Echinacea 'Paranoia' This coneflower is both dwarf (10 inches tall) and yellow. Zones 5-8.
 Euphorbia dulcis 'Chameleon' Dusky purple foliage, summer and fall. Zones 5-7.
 Farfugium Japonicum 'Kagami-Jishi' Big, bold leaves overlaid with the leaf color and patterns of 'Moon and Stars' watermelon. "Set it along a path with hostas and ferns where it raises a smile from passersby." (Beaudry) Zones 7-9.
 Gaura lindheimeri 'Whirling butterflies' Airy, graceful, sun-loving. White flowers on 3-foot plants whirl in breeze. Zones 5-8.
 Geranium 'Rozanne' Hardy blue geranium. "Outstanding. Flowers from late spring into October, with striking violet-blue blossoms — really attractive in front of tiger lilies." (Ocone) Often called Roxanne. Zones 5-8.
 Hemigraphis Alternata Deep purple leaves with silver sheen. Dramatic in pot. Grow as an annual.
 Kniphofia 'Jenny Bloom' Grassy foliage, apricot blooms fading to cream. "Converted me to red-hot pokers." (Chivers) Zones 6-9, half hardy.
 Leptinella Squalida 'Platt's Black' Ground cover with deep purple foliage. Zones 5-7.
 Omphalodes Cappadocica 'Cherry Ingram' Woodland ephemeral blooms relatively long with tiny starry blue flowers. "They glow at dusk, piercing the dark garden from yards away." (Druse) Zones 6-8.
 Paris Quadrifolia Woodland shade-lover could pass for trillium. Grow for the oddly charming green flowers. Zones 5-8.
 Penstemon 'Red Rocks' (Mexicali hybrids) Pleasant rose color, tidy plant. "Needed finishing school in Europe before it became welcome here." (Druse) Zones 4-8.
 Phormium 'Maori Maiden' One of many improvements on New Zealand flax, the faithful companion of white rock mulch in 1960s California landscapes. This is small (to 2 feet) with arching leaves in apricot pink to rose red. Zones 9-10.
 Plectranthus Argentatus Use silver-gray foliage as go-with-everything foil in border or pot. Usually grown as an annual.
 Podophyllum 'Kaleidoscope' "Omigod! The 18-inch-wide leaves are patterned like an amazing mosaic with huge burgundy bells." (Heims) Zones 6-8.
 Pulmonaria 'Northern Lights' Silvery foliage. Tough, mildew resistant, produces a cloud of flowers in cranberry, purple and blue. Zones 4-9.
 Salvia Greggii 'Hot Lips'. "Flowers make a fascinating change over the seasons." (Avent) Red and white in spring, all red in summer. Zones 7-10, half hardy.
 Saruma Henryi Great woodland plant, related to wild ginger. Fuzzy heart-shaped leaves, very hardy. Small yellow flowers. Zones 5-8.
 Tacca Chantrierei Bat plant. "Haunting" comes to mind. Almost black or white, with 18-inch-long whiskers. Greenhouse plant can spend summer outside in a warm shady spot.
 Toad Lily (Tricyrtis formosana). Native to Asia, conquered England, on its way up here. Woodland plant with small but abundant maroon-spotted, exotic-looking blooms. Blooms late in August and after. Combine with hostas and ferns. Zones 4-9.
 Verbascum 'Sugar Plum'. Dwarf plant (12 to 18 inches), clear purple flowers. Zones 5-9.
 Verbena hybrids Tapien® series is flat ground cover or basket trailer with feathery foliage. Superbena® series is vigorous, bushy, trailing, outstanding in pots and baskets. Grow as an annual. Zones 8-10.
ATHYRIUM: Remarkable hybrid ferns, hardy and colorful. Zones 4-8. Latest introductions include:
'Ghost' Silvery with delicate lacy fronds to 3 feet.
'Branford Rambler' Mint-green fronds with a purple tint.
 A. Niponicum 'Burgundy lace' Swirling mix of purple and silver.
CORAL BELLS: Today's Heuchera models concentrate more on fancy foliage than flashy flowers. May be no better choices for containers. Zones 4-9.
 'Black Beauty' Dark maroon, ruffled leaves. Airy pink flowers.
 'Amethyst Myst' Deep purple leaves, dusted with silver. Delicate pink flowers.
 'Green Spice' Goes anywhere, always looks great. "The little black dress of the border, except it's not little or black." (Davis)
 'Plum Pudding' Exquisite purple leaves with darker purple veins.
HEUCHERELLA: Hybrids combine Heuchera flowers with Tiarella leaves. Great shade ground cover. Zones 4-9.
 'Dayglow Pink' "The color turns heads or drops jaws. Stubbornly hardy." (Martin)
 'Kimono' "Lovely maple-type leaves with dark markings." (Chivers)
 'Sunspot' "Shocking contrast of a summer yellow and a red blotch at the center of the leaves lights up a container or border." (Heims)
HOSTA: Go for the gold leaves or lavender foliage. Tons of choices today.
 'Brother Stefan' Corrugated gold leaves with blue-green border. Zones 3-7.
 'Holy Mole' Mutation from — what else — 'Guacamole'. Fast, robust. Light green leaves with black-green border. Pale lavender flowers. Zones 3-9.
TIARELLA: Useful, shade-tolerant woodland ground covers. Zones 4-9.
 'Black Snowflake' Striking deep green, black-centered leaves.
 'Neon Lights' Huge black-centered leaves; great in containers.
 'Jeepers Creepers' The bold foliage looks good even when the plant is not in bloom.