Friday, July 8th, 2011...12:00 am

Shrubs, Perennials and Trees with Chartreuse or Gold Leaves

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In the morning light by Quite Adept

Since the email arrived asking for recommendations of plants with burgundy leaves, TheGardenLady has been thinking that some readers might be interested in plants with Chartreuse or golden foliage. When TheGardenLady first saw chartreuse leaves on plants, she couldn’t understand why people would want leaves that look sick. But as the plant producers have created more chartreuse-leaved plants, I have gained a greater appreciation of this color in the garden. The landscape with green, burgundy and chartreuse plants makes for more visual interest, with flowers being almost a gilding to the proverbial lily.

When looking at the name of a plant, if there is the word Aurea in it, it is the Latin word for gold. Of course, the Aurea may refer to the flower, not the leaf.

One example is the Catalpa Tree, Catalpa bignonioides ‘Aurea” This easy to grow Catalpa tree has big, yellow leaves with white flowers.

Then there are a number of golden Chamaecyparis or False cypress:

  • Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Tetragona Aurea’ the Golden fernleaf cypress
  • Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Filifera Aurea’ the Golden threadleaf sawara cypress; Golden threadleaf or Lemon Thread Sawara
  • Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Plumosa Aurea Nana’
  • There is Corylopsis spicata ‘Aurea’ the Spike Winter Hazel that not only gets chartreuse new leaves, it has fragrant yellow flowers as well.
  •  Another example with Aurea in the name is the Cryptomeria japonica the Golden Japanese Cedar Elegans Aurea.

Many of the shrubs or small trees that come in burgundy also come in chartreuse or gold. But there seems to be more chartreuse or golden shrubs than burgundy shrubs.

Because all my friends have the burgundy Smokebush, TheGardenLady had to be different. So I bought Cotinus coggygria ‘Golden Spirit’ Smokebush. I think I prefer the burgundy leaves and wish I had the burgundy smokebush instead; but a friend who has four burgundy Smokebushes (3 came from the mother shrub) she wanted one like my chartreuse smokebush as well. Plant lovers want them all. I am limited because my property has so many huge old trees.

Acer shirasawanum ‘Autumn Moon’by nestmaker

 There are several Japanese maples in chartreuse. Acer shirasawanum ‘Autumn Moon is just one of them.

A short list of shrubs with golden or chartreuse leaves are Buddleia ‘Evil Ways’, Tiny Gold Barberry, Hydrangea like Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Little Honey’, Spirea “White Gold’. There are many others.  See here.

Of course, there are also many gold or chartreuse leaved perennials and grasses like Dicentra spectabilis ‘Gold Heart’ bleeding heart or Golden Japanese Forest Grass (Hakenachloa macra). And don’t forget all the hostas with golden leaves. See hereTheGardenLady has some Hosta ‘Bright Lights’ that are chartruese with a dark green border that brightens up a dark spot.

For an extensive list of chartreuse as well as burgundy shrubs and perennials check out the Monrovia website.

Monrovia is a company that produces excellent garden plants- they list 2300 in their catalog. They do not sell directly to the customer but if you type in your zip code on their site, they will tell you where their plants are sold in your area.

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