Some purists don’t have any truck with variegation, but I think they are wrong. In the dull days of late autumn and in a shady corner, variegation can bring a vibrancy to planting and add an extra dimension Here are some plants to consider.
Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald and’ Gold’: A wonderful sturdy evergreen shrub. With shiny mid green leaves with a thick band of yellow variegation on the edges. It is a small shrub and will grow in full sun to part shade on most soils, but will not tolerate water logging. It can even be trained as a good dense wall shrub.
Sadly there is no Free from copyright image to illustrate this plant.
Phormium ‘Maori Sunrise’: A dramatic evergreen shrub with bold sword like foliage, which arches gracefully. The leaves are a mix of bands of colour, from soft pink, to red and cream. A good statement shrub or for a focal point pot. A Small to medium sized shrub, grows on most free draining soils in full sun or a little shade.
Pittosorum tenuifollum ‘Garnettii’: A hansom medium to large evergreen shrub. With a broad conical habit and beautiful foliage. Small clusters of wavy edged leaves in soft green with white almost sliver variegation, produced on dramatic black stems. Makes a dense shrub or even a small tree. Good to lighten the back of a large border.
Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’: This is a beautiful medium sized shrub. With all the dramatic winter colour of it’s red stems and the added bonus of soft green and cream variegation. Like all dogwoods, very tough and will grow almost any where as long as it is not to dry. Sun to semi-shade.
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus: This is a stunning grass which has the wow facture. Growing to nearly 2m tall. Its upright green leaves have thick horizontal yellow stripes, defiantly one for the jungle garden. Grows well in full sun in water retentive soil.
Iris pallida ‘ Aurea Variegata’: There is lots to love about this mid height bearded Iris. It’s scented light mauve flowers and its grey leaves with striped cream variegation add a little extra. Grow on well draining soil in full sun.
Vinca minor ‘Ilumination’: This is a wonderful new variety of the lesser ‘periwinkle’ it has been around for a few years now and is a must for a dark and gloomy corner. An evergreen ground cover, that crawls over the ground and will grow in dark shade in most soils. The mid green glossy leaves have a large central splash of gold. Small open purple flowers are produced in spring.
Top tip: If you suddenly see sections of your plant reverting to plain green, then get going with the sectors and prune them out. Remember variegated foliage is not as strong growing as normal green foliage, so if you don’t act your plant will quickly loose all its variegation and revert back to plain green.
I hope I have inspired you to look again at variegated foliage, it is not just white variegation, but gold, pink and many other colours. Evergreen variegated plants really have an added bonus in the winter months. Add an extra touch of colour to your garden.