• Jessica Bellef

Stylist's Tool Kit: Foliage

In this series, I share with you the 'shoot helpers' that stylist's turn to when they are creating a scene in studio or in a home. First up is a top 5 count down of hardworking foliage varieties that deserve to stand apart from florals and have their time in the spot light. These cuttings look great en masse or add a delicate texture when only a few sprigs are displayed. Foliage can be a cheaper alternative to a bouquet of arranged florals and are a sly shortcut if keeping potted plants alive isn't your thing.

1. Silver dollar eucalyptus


The dusty sage colour of this Australian native is perfect for spaces that require a little hint of freshness when a bright green leaf won't suit the palette. The strong shape of each frond adds sculptural texture to a space and they look great in either a simple clear vessel or a weighty ceramic vase. Watch out for that sap though- cutting these guys can result in sticky fingers if you aren't careful!

2. Fig


Step down fiddle leaf fig- you have hogged the spotlight for frankly way too long and it's time for other members of your family to shine. Over 700 varieties of fig exist (according to Google) and each fig type features a beautiful, wonky maple leaf shape in a delicious shade of glossy green. Add a big branch of leaves to a huge glass vase filled with fresh water and let it tower over a dining table or hallway console.

3. Pepper tree


I love the cascading lengths of the pepper tree foliage. Sometimes you just need long droopy greenery that hangs low, down the front of a vase or over a shelf or mantle. Added bonus if you get a cutting that has peppercorns on it - the perfect little orbs of berry red will add subtle colour to the arrangement.

4. Tropicals


I'm going to lump a whole lot of leafy green goodness under the 'tropical' heading: banana leaf, areca and fan palm, monsteras, bird of paradise, elephants ears and the like. Scale them up and let them be the lush dramatic focal point they deserve to be. Keep the water fresh and you will get weeks and weeks out of the cuttings.

5. Magnolia


Magnolia leaves have a beautiful vintage air about them and a slight curl in their shape. The sepia colour of each leaf's underbelly mixed with it's glossy deep green topside is perfect for an autumnal setting and any space that needs a hit of rich, rusty colour.