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What is an Accent Plant?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 16, 2024
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An accent plant is a plant, tree, bush or grass that captures the eye and acts as a focal point in an outdoor landscape or indoor display. An indoor plant accent should coordinate with a home's interior, while plants to accent the exterior should coordinate with the outside paint color and house style. Color and texture are the main qualities an accent plant may have to stand out.

The monkey puzzle tree is a good example of an outdoor accent plant, as it commands attention with its unusual spiky branches and reptile-like scaly texture. This evergreen tree is native to South America and is Chile's national tree, but it can grow in many different climates. The monkey puzzle tree is said to have been first called that in Britain when someone commented that a monkey would think the odd-textured tree would be a puzzle to climb. The tree doesn't naturally grow in areas inhabited by monkeys.

Roses can be thought of as accent plants that stand out due to their texture since each rose on the bush has beautifully overlapping soft petals that contrast strikingly with their rough, thorny stems. Roses are available in many colors and varieties. A rose bush is a popular accent plant near a front door or beside basement windows. Rose bushes can also make great accent plants when planted in intervals along a backyard fence with other flowers and plants placed in between.

The bright red blooms of the dragon wing begonia really stand out. Parts of this flowering plant reach upward while the main part of it drops downward, and this creates a winged effect. The bold red of the flowers contrasts artistically with garden greenery or green plants in hanging planter baskets. Not only is the red color of the dragon wing begonia's flowers bright and eye-catching, this accent plant also usually has many blooms and this makes the color even more attention getting.

Another colorful and popular accent plant is lavender. Lavender has beautiful, vivid purple clusters of flowers and it suits sunny areas in garden sections at the front or back of a house. Small bunches of lavender can be hung and dried in a garden shed before the dried buds can be removed to use in crafts and even in baking.

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