GARDENS BY THE BAY
VARIEGATED-FOLIAGE PERENNIALS & THEIR COMPANIONS - 3
As lovely as some variegations are, they require solid-green foliaged plants near them for contrast. Always keep in mind that too much variegation makes an overly "busy" scene.
There are still some links to variegated foliage plants and their companions below. However in many cases, variegated plants will simply be listed by name, with a brief description, to help you do your own research on what is suitable on your site using Google and Google Images or your own favourite search engine. Be sure to bookmark this page before leaving our site so you can find your way back to us again.
* Watch for the animated hummingbird and butterfly with the plants that attract them. *
The deer icon indicates plants that deer are not usually attracted to.
The best time and method to propagate plants can be found on our image-intensive PROPAGATION page.
To help your plants grow their best, check out our FERTILIZATION page.
To create your own plant partnerships based on tried and true color theory, check out our GARDEN COLOR page.
To see if a particular plant is on this page press Ctrl+F, type in the name, then click the Find button.
Whether the variegation is longitudinal or transverse, in white, cream or yellow, in wide bands or narrow ones, variegated Maiden Grass, Silver Grass or Eulalia forms are truly a wonderful addition to any garden.
Try any of the forms below to research for yourself.
You can find valuable information on the genus Miscanthus, in both solid-leaf and variegated-leaf form, on the second of our Ornamental Grass pages at the link below. You will also find images of several variegated forms including 'Silberpfeil', 'Strictus', 'Variegatus' and 'Zebrinus' at the same link.
- Miscanthus sacchariflorus 'Gotemba': bright yellow and green striped leaves, too aggressive for a border
- Miscanthus sinensis 'Dixieland': similar to M. s. 'Variegatus' but more compact, Zone 6
- Miscanthus sinensis 'Goldfeder': 'Gold Feather', light golden-edged green-centered leaves, Zone 6
- Miscanthus sinensis 'Hinjo': also called 'Little Nicky', similar to M. s. 'Zebrinus' and 'Strictus', horizontal bands
closer together, to 6 feet in full flower, Zone 5
- Miscanthus sinensis 'Kirk Alexander': yellow horizontal banding, more compact than M.s. 'Zebrinus', Zone 6
- Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light': synonym 'Gracillimus Variegatus', leaf margins edged with narrow band of white,
silvery appearance from a distance, very fine textured and elegant, Zone 5
- Miscanthus sinensis 'Puenktchen': 'Little Dot', transverse variegation similar to M. s. 'Strictus', very spiky, Zone 5
- Miscanthus sinensis 'Rigoletto': similar to M.s. 'Variegatus' but more compact, Zone 6
- Miscanthus sinensis 'Silberpfeil': 'Silver Arrow', similar to but less floppy than, M. s. 'Variegatus',
and brighter white variegation
- Miscanthus sinensis 'Strictus': Porcupine Grass, horizontal bands of bright yellow on green leaves,
more upright and hardier than 'Zebrinus', September bloom, Zone 5
- Miscanthus sinensis 'Variegatus': 4-6' tall, narrow, white-striped leaves, plumes in August-September, Zone 5
- Miscanthus sinensis 'Zebrinus': Zebra Grass, similar to, but more lax and less hardy than, 'Strictus',
irregularly-spaced yellow transverse bands
- Miscanthus sinensis var. condensatus 'Cabaret': to 9 feet tall, wide leaves with central white linear stripes and
wide, dark green leaf margins, late September bloom, Zone 6
- Miscanthus sinensis var. condensatus 'Cosmopolitan': improved form of M. s. 'Variegatus', very wide leaves,
reverse pattern to 'Cabaret', Zone 6
Moor Grass is a wonderful ornamental addition to a garden. Clumping and warm-season it blooms early, and remains attractive well into fall. I love my tall, solid green see-through Moor Grass, but welcome the different appearance my newer, shorter-statured variegated form will provide.
Molinia caerulea 'Variegata': 12-18"x12-18", green foliage edged in creamy-yellow
Solid-leaf forms of Molinia, their suggested companions and care information can be found at the link below. You will also find an image of my tall forms at the same link.
with: Asiatic lilies ( especially pale yellow)
Variegated Water Celery is a species that thrives in moist sites. In fact, I finally found it in a water garden catalogue after searching for information about this plant which was new to me prior to its purchase.
Oenanthe javanica 'Flamingo': 12-18" tall, foliage variegated pink, green and white
where: in water gardens where it serves as a natural filter
I feel the same about Garden Phlox with variegated foliage as I do about the Iris - they're not for me. Maybe it is the generally pale-coloured flowers that make me uneasy when seen against the variegated foliage. Of course, you must decide what appeals to you and can be used for the effect you wish to create in your own gardens.
Phlox paniculata 'Goldmine': 28"x20", deep magenta flowers, gold-edged foliage
in front of: shrubs or conifers with dark green foliage
Phlox x procumbens 'Variegata': creamy-yellow & green variegated foliage, mauve-pink flowers, 8"x12"
synonym: Phlox x procumbens variegata
where: woodland gardens, rock gardens, partial shade
If you want to research more of the variegated-foliage forms available, start with some of those below.
For more Phlox information and companionship ideas, follow any of the links below.
- Phlox paniculata 'Becky Towe': 20-28"x18-24", salmony flowers with darker magenta eye, broad gold edges on foliage
- Phlox paniculata 'Darwin's Joyce': 25"x24", light pink flowers with magenta eye, variegated foliage
- Phlox paniculata 'Harlequin': 30-36"x , vibrant hot-pink flowers, white-edged green foliage
- Phlox paniculata 'Norah Leigh': 24-36"x15-18", fragrant pale pink flowers, narrow green foliage with white margins
- Phlox paniculata 'Pink Posie':
- Phlox paniculata 'Silvermine': white flowers
Distinctive divided foliage is common to the Jacob's Ladder genus. Bloom occurs in late spring or summer. They are valuable for use in shady or woodland situations and prefer soil that is fertile and well-drained. Propagate by division in spring or by seed sown in fall. If you prefer variegated foliage, you will not be disappointed with the form below.
Polemonium 'Brise d'Anjou': 18-24"x18-24", fern-like cream and green foliage, violet-blue flowers
said to be: "a breath of fresh air among shade-loving perennials"
follow the off-site link for photographs and more information:
Blooms of Bressingham, New Zealand
where: light shade, in rich, moist, well-drained soil
with: grey-blue or cream and green variegated hostas, ferns including native Asplenium bulbiferum
with: Pulmonaria esp. silvery 'Majeste', Helleborus orientalis, Heuchera
with moisture-loving: Ligularia 'Britt-Marie Crawford' with chocolate foliage
with: Aruncus dioicus, Perovskia atriplicifolia, most Ornamental Grasses
mass planted with: Astilbe, Bergenia, Galium odoratum
Polemonium 'Stairway to Heaven': 10-16"x16-18", violet-blue flowers mid-late spring, white edged medium-green foliage
I first saw this form only recently and will be adding an image and information soon
Many other forms of Jacob's Ladder are available. Have a look at some of them by following the links below.
Always considered a wonderful foliage plant, Solomon's Seal has white flowers in late spring and is just as wonderful in its variegated-leaf forms. If you want more, divide clumps and replant divisions in spring or fall.
Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum': Fragrant Solomon's Seal, 24"x12"
combined with: Astilbe chinensis 'Pumila', Asarum europaeum, Athyrium goeringianum 'Pictum',
Polygonatum odoratum (var. thunbergii) 'Variegatum': the most fragrant form
Hosta sieboldiana 'Elegans' & Convallaria majalis
where : shady sites
generally with : bold foliage plants (to compliment its architectural quality)
with : Hosta, ferns, Heuchera, Alchemilla mollis
combined with : Adiantum pedatum & Hosta spp.
Find solid-leaved forms of Solomon's Seal and valuable information about the genus and suggested companions for its different forms below.
Among the earliest perennials to flower, Bethlehem Sage is particularly valued for its foliage, usually splashed with white or silver on green leaves. Also commonly called Lungwort, some forms are subtle, while others are striking.
Pulmonaria 'Excalibur': 8-10"x12-18", brilliant silver foliage with narrow dark green edge, pink flowers
with: Hosta and ferns in shaded locations
Do your research, then make up your wish list from among the variegated-foliage forms described below.
Follow the links below for more Lungwort forms and information about the genus and its care.
- Pulmonaria x 'Apple Frost': 6-9"x18-24", blue and pink flowers, silver-white marbling on ruffled foliage
- Pulmonaria x 'Berries 'N Cream': 6-8"x18-24", raspberry-pink flowers
- Pulmonaria 'Golden Haze': foliage has golden edges
- Pulmonaria 'Milky Way':
- Pulmonaria 'Spilled Milk':
- Pulmonaria longifolia 'E.B.Anderson': 9-12" tall, dark blue flowers, long, narrow, silvery-white spotted foliage
- Pulmonaria saccharata 'Margery Fish': 9-18"x18-24", silver-splashed leaves, plant needs afternoon shade
Pulmonaria in shade
Pulmonaria with silver foliage
While many forms of Sage are grown for their colourful blooms, others are particularly beautiful for their foliage. Some even have variegation in the foliage to provide additional interest once flowering is done.
Salvia officinalis 'Icterina': Culinary Sage, gold/green variegated foliage, purplish flowers
over: Dyssodia tenuiloba
beside: Santolina chamaecyparissus, Dianthus 'Aqua'
in front of: Kniphofia 'Royal Castle'
Salvia officinalis 'Purpurascens': subtle gray and violet foliage, 2'x3', blue-purple flowers
with: Heuchera sanguinea 'Irish Mist' (a red variegated form) or 'Snow Storm'
over: Ocimum basilicum 'Dark Opal'
in front of: Helianthemum 'Wisley Pink'
beside: Sedum 'Vera Jameson', Stachys byzantina
If you are seeking more information about the genus, Salvia, its care and valued companions, follow the links below.
Salvia forms to attract Hummingbirds
purple Salvia forms
Salvia with silver foliage
white Salvia forms
yellow Salvia forms
If you want lovely flowers and highly attractive foliage, all on a small scale, you can do no better than to try the many Saxifrage forms. Foliage is usually in a basal rosette, with flowers blooming well above. Add these to your rock garden, raised bed or alpine house for a new experience. They are divided by cultivation requirements into four basic types so you may need to do some research about which will suit your conditions best. Variegated forms are available.
Saxifraga x urbium 'London Pride': 12" x indefinite spread, serrated green leaves with yellow variegation
Many forms of Saxifraga are more suited for alpine and scree beds. Research the variegation of the form below and seek this one out if you wish, as it is more suited to an open border.
a little yellow variegation on the foliage adds an element of simple excitement
- Saxifraga x urbium 'Aureopunctata': Zone 5, green and gold leaf variegation
This genus, though distinguished by its truly ugly name, is mostly grown for its variegated foliage. Preference is for semi-shade with moist soil. Propagation by division should be done in spring, by softwood cuttings in summer. The common name Figwort isn't much better-sounding.
Scrophularia aquatica 'Variegata': Water Figwort, 12-18"x12", dark green with bold cream-white variegation
synonym: Scrophularia auriculata 'Variegata': toothed leaves
note: maroon flowers are insignificant and should be removed as they appear
where: as a potted water-garden plant or in moist to wet, rich soil
in semi-shade with: Ligularia 'Desdemona'
If you have lots of sun you will welcome the wealth of choices in the genus Sedum. In addition to solid-leaved forms, both short and tall, there are choices with variegated foliage as well.
Sedum kamtschaticum 'Variegatum': Variegated Russian Stonecrop
Sedum spectabile: variegated
in front of: Kniphofia
Do some research on other variegated-foliage forms of this attractive perennial as named below.
with: solid-foliaged versions of Sedum spectabile
Sedum 'Frosty Morn': 2' tall, predominantly white wide margins on green foliage, whitish flowers, a gorgeous form
Sedum alboroseum 'Medio-variegatum': white-blotched green foliage, similar to 'Autumn Joy', greenish-white flowers
Sedum spurium 'Tricolor': variegated green, red and cream, pink flowers
There are numerous non-variegated forms of Stonecrop that can be accessed by following the links below. And lots of helpful information and partnership ideas as well.
Sedum as edgers
Sedum with silver foliage
Many forms of Thyme have aromatic leaves as you would expect from an herb plant. Flower spikes tend to be short. There are many choices, both tall and small, and even a few with variegated foliage.
You might want to Google some of the forms below to see whether or not they might meet your needs for this type of plant.
Many more forms of Thyme can be found on other pages within our site, along with information about their care and perfect companions.
- Thymus 'Argenteus': Silver Thyme, 10", light green with silver variegation
- Thymus 'Doone Valley': 4-6" creeper, dark green with bright gold tips in spring and fall
- Thymus 'Gold Edge': 10", lemon fragrance, green and yellow foliage variegation, pink flowers
Thymes with silver foliage
Coming upon a patch of spring-blooming white Trilliums in a woodland setting is always exciting. To increase the excitement may mean coming upon a red- or yellow-flowered form, a highly scented one or one with variegated foliage such as those below.
Trillium cuneatum: maroon flowers, mottled foliage
where: shady bowers
with: Anemone blanda 'White Splendor' (pure white with yellow centres)
Trillium sessile var. luteum: Yellow Trillium, lemon-scented, mottled bright green foliage
excellent with: Adiantum pedatum (Maidenhair Ferns)
To add more interest to your wildflower or woodland garden, or in a moist, shady spot, you might want to research and try the additional variegated-foliage form below.
Follow the links for more forms of and information about Trilliums and their partners.
- Trillium sessile: Toad Trillium, maroon flowers appear just above beautifully mottled foliage
There are certainly tulips with variegation in the flowers. Did you know there are also tulips with variegated foliage? Some species are predominantly variegated-foliage forms.
Tulipa greigii 'Red Riding Hood': 6-8", very early, red flowers, marbled foliage
Google some of the forms below to see whether these would make good additions to your garden.
- Tulipa 'Prince of Sanseviero': pink & white double, late-blooming, green leaves with narrow creamy margin
- Tulipa 'New Design': 18", pink & cream, Triumph type, cream flowers, green foliage with a cream edge
- Tulipa 'Robassa': 18", Fosteriana type, scarlet flowers, foliage has a pencil-thin edge of cream
- Tulipa greigii: 8-18" tall hybrids, foliage generally wavy-edged, always mottled or striped, early spring bloom
- Tulipa greigii 'Donna Bella': 14-16", flowers carmine with cream edges red-mottled foliage
Periwinkle, sometimes called Myrtle, is a genus of evergreen, trailing sub-shrubs and perennials grown for both their foliage and flowers. For additional interest throughout the season, you might want to consider trying a variegated-foliage form. These too make a wonderful ground cover in shade, but flower more freely if grown in some sun.
Research the variegated Periwinkle or Myrtle forms mentioned below or search out others for yourself.
- Vinca major 'Variegata': sub-shrub, bright green foliage with broad creamy-white margins, blue flowers, Zone 7
- Vinca minor 'Alba Variegata': 6" x indefinite, sub-shrub, Zone 4, glossy dark green foliage with pale yellow margins
The rugged plants in the genus Yucca, commonly called Adam's Needle, are native North American plants known for their spiky evergreen leaves. Nodding white flowers appear in spikes that can reach from 5 to 10 feet in height.
Yucca filamentosa: Adam's Needle, loose white filaments edge the stiffly upright leaves
uses: as specimen plants
where: in nearbly any soil conditions except wet ones
with: Sedum, Lavandula, Thymus, Hemerocallis, Ornamental Grasses
There are even some variegated foliage cultivars available. Seek them out at your local nursery after doing some research to see which forms appeal to you most.
More information about Yuccas, their care and favourite companions, can be found at the link below.
- Yucca filamentosa 'Bright Edge': yellow-variegated foliage
- Yucca filamentosa 'Golden Sword': yellow-centered foliage
- Yucca filamentosa 'Variegata': white-edged foliage
FOR MORE VARIEGATED-FOLIAGE PERENNIALS & THEIR COMPANIONS FOLLOW THE LINKS BELOW.
All of our own Gardens By The Bay pages can be accessed by clicking on the links below.
GARDEN POETRY |
GARDEN POETRY MUSE
GEORGIAN BAY VIEW
BOTANICAL LATIN - BASICS
CORNER GARDEN CONSTRUCTION  |
CORNER GARDEN PLANTING |
EAST GARDEN |
HOSTA GARDEN |
NORTH GARDEN |
BLUE PERENNIALS Aconitum -
Iris - Vinca
BULBS Allium - Hyacinthus |
Narcissus only |
Tulipa only |
BUTTERFLY MAGNETS Anaphalis - Hemerocallis |
Liatris - Veronicastrum
DAYLILIES Spider & Unusual Form
EDGERS Arabis - Iris |
Nepeta - Veronica
Alchemilla - Tanacetum
HOSTA Hosta - all
HUMMINGBIRD-FRIENDLY PERENNIALS Alcea - Salvia
ORANGE PERENNIALS Achillea - Tulipa
ORNAMENTAL GRASSES Acorus - Imperata |
Miscanthus - Spodiopogon
PINK PERENNIALS Achillea - Lilium |
Lychnis - Veronica
PURPLE PERENNIALS Aconitum - Liatris |
Polemonium - Veronica
RED PERENNIALS Achillea - Veronica
SHADE PERENNIALS Aegopodium - Erythronium |
Ferns - Polemonium |
Polygonatum - Vinca
SILVER FOLIAGE PERENNIALS
Achillea - Cerastium
Cornus - Limonium
Lunaria - Veronica
SIMPLY SPECIAL PERENNIALS Acanthus - Saxifraga
WHITE PERENNIALS Achillea - Iris |
Kalimeris - Yucca
YELLOW PERENNIALS Achillea - Hypericum |
Inula - Verbascum
VARIEGATED-FOLIAGE PERENNIALS Acorus - Erythronium |
Hakonechloa - Lysimachia |
Miscanthus - Yucca
Dianthus 'Tiny Rubies' |
Geum coccineum |
Kerria japonica |
Paeonia tenuifolia |
Papaver somniferum |
Salvia 'East Friesland'
Veronica 'Sunny Border Blue'
DIVISION - SPRING ONLY |
DIVISION - FALL ONLY |
DIVISION - SPRING OR FALL |
DO NOT DIVIDE
ORNAMENTAL GRASSES |
LOCAL GARDENS |
GARDENING BOOKS |