Not every garden needs to be full of blooming flowers to be a showstopper space. Sometimes we get locked into the idea that we need green leaves and flowers to create beauty in the yard. How can you add more interest to your yard? How about adding variegated foliage plants instead of high maintenance flowers? Another option is to baby the flowering plants in the sunniest spots of your yard and add variegated beauties into the shady and semi-shady areas.
Even the most avid gardener has places in his or her yard that don’t allow for blooming buds. And even the most manicured of spaces just won’t have blooms all of the time. Variegated plants are those that seem as though their green leaves are painted with white or light colored stripes, marbling or spots. True variegated plants must have the light markings go all the way through the leaf, not just paint the surface of the leaf.
A variegated plant like a hosta can provide a focal point in a sea of all green plants. It has a dreamy creamy colored outline all around its edges. Your eye cannot fail to see its striking contrasts as you wander through the garden. You can add variegated plants in containers for more excitement in green areas of your yard. Even when nothing is blooming, the variegated green leafy plants won’t let you down
If you have an especially shady or semi-shady area that needs “something,” you could plant these variegated options to highlight the area. Their bright contrasts look just like white flowers in the early morning and dusk.
Because variegated plants have less chlorophyll in the lighter areas of the leaf, you need to be careful not to place some varieties in full sun, especially in our scorching summer weather. They would love the scenario with full morning sun and a tree or larger shrub protecting them from afternoon sun. Avid gardeners say that occasionally a variegated plant will start to “turn” all green on a leaf or two. They suggest that it is best to clip those leaves or the whole plant could turn all green.
A variegated plant looks like the sun is reflecting off of them. Usually mass planting gives the most bang for your buck in the garden, but not with most variegated plants. They look best grown as a single standout specimen in a sea of green. Some great variegated options spotted by Gardengate’s Jim Childs are porcupine grass, yucca, hostas, nasturtium, horseradish and Virginia creeper.