Share the story
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • 31
  •  
  • 1
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

In the garden, it’s not just the flowers that put on a show. Instead, the stems and foliage can fill us with fascination with their beauty. Here are some of the top plants with variegated leaves to add something special to your garden.

1. Brunnera macrophylla (Siberian bugloss) ‘Sea Heart’

The heart-shaped leaves of this perennial have wonderful patterns of silver with green margins and veins to bring depth to your border. Though the foliage is beautiful by itself, small blue flowers bloom in spring. Low growing to up to 30cm, this is a great plant for groundcover.

  • Flowers in spring
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows up to 30cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Partial shade
  • Sheltered
Rose-petal-salad-2

2. Acer campestre (acer) ‘Carnival’

This ornate tree is small in size making it great for smaller gardens. The lobed foliage is green with creamy margins for a light effect. The tree grows into a lollipop shape with bushy growth that can be pruned into a neater shape if that is wanted.

  • Variegated, deciduous foliage
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 3m tall
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
Rose-petal-salad-2

3. Berberis thunbergia f. atropurpurea (purple Japanese barberry)

Next is a shrub that is an all-round winner. The deep reddish-purple leaves are marked and become deeper in colour through the year. In spring, tiny yellow flowers bloom that are attractive to pollinators. Then, in autumn the shrub is covered in glossy red berries that are a food source for birds like thrushes and blackbirds.

  • Deciduous foliage, flowers in spring
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows up to 1.5m tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
Rose-petal-salad-2

4. Buxus sempervirens (box) ‘Elegantissima’

Dense and evergreen, this shrub has small green leaves with yellow margins which have a lovely impact with the bushy growth. Perfect for hedging and topiary, they are versatile and can also be used as container plants in any garden style.

  • Evergreen foliage
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows up to 1.5m tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Partial shade or full sun
  • Exposed or sheltered
Rose-petal-salad-2

5. Euonymus fortunei (spindle) ‘Silver Queen’

Another bushy evergreen shrub, however these leaves that are margined with white can sometimes take on a pink tinge. It’s a low maintenance pick, and can be a great choice for banks, slopes, and ground cover too.

  • Evergreen foliage
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 2.5m tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
Rose-petal-salad-2

6. Hedera helix (ivy) ‘Glacier’

For a large, evergreen climber with variegated foliage, this is a popular pick. Suited to many garden styles, the shrub will weave and wind its way up walls, trellises, and structures with its dense growth.

  • Evergreen foliage
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 2.5m tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
Rose-petal-salad-2

7. Philadelphus coronarius (mock orange) ‘Variegatus’

This medium-sized shrub has ovate leaves with creamy margins that are joined by white blooms in summer that have a strong scent. Suited to cottage as well as coastal gardens, the variegated foliage of this plant will add depth to your garden without asking for much in return.

  • Deciduous foliage, flowers in summer
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows up to 2.5m tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
Rose-petal-salad-2

8. Osmanthus heterophyllus (variegated holly) ‘Variegatus’

The spiny leaves of this evergreen shrub will add texture and architectural interest to the garden. Perfect for hedging and screens, the bold creamy edges of the green leaves is sure to add some magic, especially when the small white flowers bloom in spring.

  • Evergreen foliage
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 2.5m tall
  • Well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
Rose-petal-salad-2

9. Pittosporum tenuifolium (tawhiwhi) ‘Irene Paterson’

When the leaves of this evergreen shrub open they are white, becoming darker green with white markings. In winter, they can even take on a pink tinge for even more foliage interest. Not only that, but from spring, deep purple flowers bloom.

  • Evergreen foliage
  • Hardy through most of the UK
  • Grows up to 1.5m tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Sheltered
Rose-petal-salad-2

10. Rhododendron ‘President Roosevelt’

For the acidic garden, this rhododendron has green flowers splashed with yellow. The foliage is joined by vibrant red flowers in spring. The foliage is evergreen, for structure all year round in flower beds and borders.

  • Evergreen foliage, flowers in spring
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 2.5m tall
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Sheltered
Rose-petal-salad-2

Add interest to your garden with plants that have variegated leaves to put on a show as well as your flowers. I’d love to hear your favourite plants with variegated foliage, so let me know on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

Spring is here, see my post on spring pollinators:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas:

spring pollinators
Spring pollinators
Pinterest
Pinterest Board


Share the story
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • 31
  •  
  • 1
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •