Variegated Perennial Plants for the Shade and Sun Garden

Variegated Perennial Plants for the Shade and Sun Garden

By Published February 15, 2015 Updated June 15, 2022

Do you think the monochromatic green garden look is so last (growing) season? Are you looking for rare and unusual plants to showcase in your yard? Variegated plants could be the antidote to your all-green garden blues!

A plant is considered to be variegated when white or other colors replace the usual green parts of the leaves. Variegated leaf plants can appear to have a regular pattern or the leaves can have more uneven coloring. You can find a variety of variegated perennials, be they groundcovers like Farfugium japonicum 'Kaimon Drake', an ornamental grass like Arundo donax 'Peppermint Stick', or a cultivar of an agave like Agave lophantha 'Splendida'.

In order to make your variegated perennials really stand out, it helps to plant them against a dark background. Whether it is a green hedge, a grassy field or a stand of trees, the contrast will accent the variegated plants and bring out the uniqueness in the background as well.

While not true for all of variegated plants, they do tend to be less hardy than their all green equivalents. You may notice that the variegated leaf plants suffer more insect damage because of weaker tissue. You should keep an eye on any branches or shoots that emerge solid green. Offsets of variegated perennials tend to revert back to a stronger predecessor. If these branches are removed, it helps maintain variegated leaf integrity.

So add some white, cream, yellow, blue or even red to your yard -- it will make your garden appear to be full of rare and unusual plants that will surely brighten your day!

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