March 2015
Garden insiders know that using variegated plants in the landscape can lighten a dark space, provide a focal point, and add texture and variety. Too many can be overwhelming, but used just right, as with this Variegated Japanese Sedge, these plants raise the sophistication level of your landscape. This sedge looks magnificent planted in mass, alongside a deeper green shrub for contrast and an allée of broadleaf trees to set the scene. Then all you need is a slight breeze to set everything in motion.

The Many Shades of Green

We love discovering new variegated plants. White, cream, yellow, pink and purple can add va-va-voom to green foliage, even when a plant isn’t blooming. Karen Chapman, award-winning author and international gardening speaker, celebrates stripes, swirls, edging and spotting on leaves of some newer varieties of old favorites, while also giving helpful tips.

This Leaves the Others Behind

For big, bold…almost prehistoric looking foliage, Camouflage™ Variegated Japanese Aralia is this year’s stunner to brighten up a shady spot or to create a head-turning container. Each big, vibrant leaf has a camouflage pattern of yellow, lime, and green.  

Kick up the Contrast

Variegated grasses easily fit into a perennial border and contrast so that the bright colored blooms really pop. This Moor Grass is cold hardy and looks great all spring and summer. For color on its own, Fireworks Fountain Grass pops with white, green, pink and burgundy foliage. Cabaret Japanese Silver Grass has bold, milky-white stripes on strappy leaves.

Change is Good

Like many variegated plants, the color of this evergreen shrub changes with the seasons. Emerald ‘N Gold Wintercreeper has bright green foliage with a gold edge that turns a bright pinkish-red in the fall and winter. Kaleidoscope Abelia is another great shrub for a year-round burst of color.

Leaves a Great Impression

As if Bougainvillea isn’t dazzling enough, when it has variegated foliage like Raspberry Ice, it’s truly memorable. This stunner was discovered as a sport of Bougainvillea Spectabilis. On our own nursery, we noticed a yellow-green variegation on a sport of the super popular Purple Queen®, and were able to propagate the striking Golden Jackpot®. It can even handle a little shade – a real winner!

A Glow from Within

You can also find succulents with variegation. We love the Variegated Dwarf Agave that seems to glow from the inside out with bright golden-yellow edged, fleshy curved leaves. Variegated Fox Tail Agave has bright white edging that adds a frosted touch.