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Add variation to your borders and brightness to a full spot by choosing trees and shrubs with variegated foliage.
Cornus controversa 'Variegata'
Variegated plants have leaves with streaks and blotches of different colours. Typically these would be a combination of two colours; green and gold or green and white.
A plant with variegation can be the finishing touch to breakup a monotone green border or lighten a dark corner of the garden. However use sparingly, as too much variegation can make your garden too busy.
Most variegated plants require full sun or dappled shade to maintain their variegation and vigour. The paler parts of the leaf lack the chlorophyll needed to create energy for growth. So plant in a sunny situation to make full use of the chlorophyll they have. This principle does not hold true for all variegated plants but needs to be considered.
Sometimes variegated plants will revert back to their original plain green colour; this is known as reversion. Prune out the reverted branch or shoot before it takes over and affects the overall appearance of the plant. It could be a sign that the plant needs more light to maintain the desired variegation.
Below are some trees and shrubs with silver or golden variegation. See our Find a Plant for a wider selection of plants with variegated foliage.
Acer negundo 'Elegans', A. negundo 'Flamingo', A. platanoides 'Drummondii' AGM, A. pseudoplatanus 'Simon-Louis Frères'Castanea sativa 'Albomarginata'Cornus controversa 'Variegata' AGM, C. florida 'Daybreak', C. kousa 'Gold Star'Ligustrum lucidum 'Excelsum Superbum' AGM (e), L. lucidum 'Tricolor'Liquidambar styraciflua 'Golden Treasure', L. styraciflua 'Silver King', L. styraciflua 'Variegata' Liriodendron tulipifera 'Aureomarginatum' AGMQuercus cerris 'Argenteovariegata'Zelkova serrata 'Variegata'
Abelia × grandiflora Confetti = 'Conti', A. × grandiflora 'Francis Mason' AGMCistus × hybridus ‘Gold Prize’Coronilla valentina subsp. glauca 'Variegata' (e)Cotoneaster atropurpureus 'Variegatus' AGMDaphne × burkwoodii 'Astrid', D. odora 'Aureomarginata' (e)Euonymus fortunei Blondy = 'Interbolwi' (e), E. fortunei 'Emerald Gaiety' AGM (e), E. fortunei 'Emerald 'n' Gold' AGM (e), E. fortunei 'Harlequin' (e), E. fortunei 'Silver Queen' AGM (e)Forsythia 'Fiesta'Fuchsia magellanica var. gracilis 'Variegata' AGM, F. magellanica var. gracilis 'Versicolor' AGMHebe × andersonii 'Variegata' (e), H. ‘Rhubarb and Custard’ (e), H. speciosa 'Variegata' (e)Hypericum × moserianum 'Tricolor'Leucothoe fontanesiana 'Rainbow'Pachysandra terminalis 'Variegata' (e) AGMPhormium cookianum subsp. hookeri 'Cream Delight' (e), P. cookianum subsp. hookeri 'Tricolor' AGM (e), P. 'Sundowner' (e) AGM, P. 'Yellow Wave' (e) AGM, P. tenax 'Variegatum' (e) AGMPieris japonica 'Little Heath' (e) AGM, P. japonica 'White Rim' (e) AGMSalvia officinalis 'Icterina' (e) AGM, S. officinalis 'Tricolor' (e) AGMVinca major 'Variegata' (e) AGM, V. minor 'Argenteovariegata' (e) AGM, V. minor 'Alba Variegata' (e), V. minor 'Aureovariegata' (e)Yucca filamentosa 'Bright Edge' (e) AGM, Y. flaccida 'Golden Sword' (e) AGM
Actinidia kolomikta AGMAmpelopsis brevipedunculata 'Elegans' Ceanothus 'Pershore Zanzibar' (e)Hedera algeriensis 'Glore de Marengo' (e) AGM H. colchica 'Dentata Variegata' (e) AGM, H. colchica 'Sulphur Heart' (e) AGM, H. helix 'Caecilia' (e) H. helix 'Eva' (e) AGM, H. helix 'Glacier' (e) AGM, H. helix 'Goldchild' (e) AGM, H. helix 'Little Diamond' (e) AGM, H. helix 'Midas Touch' (e) AGM, H. helix 'Minor Marmorata' (e), H. helix ‘Oro di Bogliasco’ (e)Jasminum nudiflorum 'Aureum', J. nudiflorum 'Mystique', J. officinale 'Argenteovariegatum' AGM, J. officinale 'Aureum'Lonicera × italica Harlequin = 'Sherlite'Pyracantha 'Sparkler' (e)Solanum dulcamara 'Variegatum'Stachyurus 'Magpie'Trachelospermum jasminoides 'Variegatum' (e) AGM
× Hibanobambusa tranquillans 'Shiroshima' (e)Pleioblastus auricomus (e) AGM, P.chino f. aureostriatus (e), P. variegatus 'Tsuboii' (e), P. variegatus (e) AGMPseudosasa japonica 'Akebonosuji' (e)Sasaella masamuneana f. albostriata (e)
RHS Find a Plant
ShrubsShrubs: larger for year round interestShrubs: small shrubs for year round interestShrubs: evergreen by sizeShrubs: evergreen for specific situationTrees and shrubs: colourful foliage10 AGM winners with mottled and splashed leaves
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