Here are the top 5 foliages that I LOVE to use in my arrangements

Credit:  Vision & Style Photography

Here are the top 5 foliages that I LOVE to use in my arrangements 

There are so many choices when it comes to foliage for arrangements. Foliage can serve as a  stand-alone or as a compliment to other flowers in an arrangement. It can provide structure,  movement, and add interest to an arrangement as well. Your choice of foliage can make or  break a flower arrangement. Choose the right foliage and you are on your way to creating  beautiful works of art. 

Many types of foliage have accompanied me on my floral journey.  As an aspiring floral designer creating bud vases and small arrangements, leather leaf was my safety net. Trial and error came along and proved to be my best teachers.  As I matured in my craft and began creating more complex arrangements and installations, I learned there were 5 gems that I needed to bring along on my journey. 

To say that my LOVE runs deep for these 5 is an understatement.  These 5 have never let me down. They are readily available, play well together in structures and arrangements, and allow me to design without limitations.  

What are my 5 favorite foliages? Salal, Italian ruscus, seeded eucalyptus, pittosporum, and huckleberry. Why my love affair with these 5?  Read on to learn more!  


Salal reigns supreme on my list of favorites. What is there not to love about these beautiful dark green waxy leaves?  Salal is available year-round, is long lasting, and allows you to create  the simplest to the lushest arrangements.  Its long length provides the perfect foundation to define the overall size and shape for  structures, floral arches, and tall centerpieces while its tips are perfect for compote  arrangements, floral sprays, and bouquets. Salal has the ability to take center stage in greenery  arrangements or act as the main “filler” character in flower arrangements.  

Credit: Vision & Style Photography 

Italian Ruscus 

When it comes to designing for events, Italian ruscus is a foliage that you will typically find on  my “greens to purchase list”.  Whether used to accent décor elements or in arrangements, there’s just something classy about Italian ruscus.  

It provides the perfect level of sophistication for tall arrangements, cascading bouquets, garlands, and floral arches. Its long trailing dark green leaves provide height, depth, and movement throughout an arrangement. Italian ruscus’ versatility allows it to be incorporated into everything from boutonnieres and corsages to floral railings and chandeliers. When smilax is not an option, Italian ruscus is a great alternative. 

Seeded Eucalyptus 

One can never go wrong with eucalyptus. Of all the varieties of eucalyptus, there is something  special about the green clustered pods of seeded eucalyptus. Its pleasing aroma and long-shelf  life make seeded eucalyptus one of my favorites.  

Seeded eucalyptus works well with themes from rustic to romantic and pairs well with silver  dollar eucalyptus, roses, and hydrangeas. The seeds add just the right amount of pop to corsages and boutonnieres while its silvery green leaves add beautiful texture to bouquets,  floral garlands, and wreaths.  

Credit: Purple Star Photography


There are three varieties of pittosporum that I absolutely love – green, variegated, and mini  variegated. Green and variegated pittosporum with their hardy, uniquely shaped leaves serve  as beautiful decorative fillers in any arrangement. The white and gray/silver leaves of  variegated pittosporum provide the perfect color contrast in all greenery arrangements, tropical compote arrangements, and white floral arrangements. I often pair variegated pittosporum with my #1 favorite – salal. When a touch of a dainty variegated green is needed for bud vase arrangements or bouquets, mini pittosporum is a win every time.

Credit: Comfort Photography 


To round out my list of favorite foliages, huckleberry or “huck” is the ideal foliage for  installations and garlands. Its dark green leaves and thick wood-like stems provide the perfect foundation to support other greenery elements in designs. Huckleberry provides  great coverage and has a way of captivating the eye as it trails up and down draping and other installations.  

Credit: Purple Star Photography 

Whether solo, paired with its counterpart, or sprinkled in with beautiful flowers, each  foliage has afforded opportunities to create beautiful works of art for others. Works that bring lots of smiles and warms many hearts. For that, each will forever remain staples in my designer toolkit.

What are your must-have foliages for arrangements? Let me know in the comments. 


Writer: Lisa Nelson 

Location: Reynoldsburg, Ohio  

Business: Just for the Occasion, LLC


Handle: @jusfortheoccasion


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