Gold Foliage

Aug 8, 2012

 All That Glitters is Gold!

Gold foliage jazzes up any garden.  And since foliage works overtime – before, during and after bloom – or every month of the year in the case of evergreens, it’s a perfect color accessory.  Gold, yellow and chartreuse leaves add sizzle, quickly grab the eye, and are exceptional for ‘connecting’ garden beds around a property. Gold is a perfect complement for darker foliage plants that may seem somber by themselves. A bonus is that many gold-foliaged plants thrive in part sun or shade, where they perform like illuminating beacons.

Here are a few ‘Golden Ladies’ from our nursery stock:


gold heart dicentra garden splendorBleeding Heart (Dicentra) ‘Gold Heart’   36” Part Sun to Shade. Spring bloomer. Pink Flowers. ‘Gold Heart’ makes you want to put on sunglasses. Screamin’ yellow leaves and bright pink flowers get your blood pumpin’. ‘Gold Heart’ stays shorter and grows wider than green-leaved, spring blooming Bleeding Hearts. Another difference is its ability to hang on and not go dormant as early (or at all) as other spectabilis cultivars. Zone 3


spiderwort sweet kate




Spiderwort (Tradescantia) ‘Sweet Kate’  12” Part Sun to Shade. Summer bloomer. Violet flowers. ‘Sweet Kate’ is one of the few Spiderworts

that is a behaved clumper. Some confuse its brilliant gold blades to be an ornamental grass. Shearing it back in mid-summer results in a tighterclump. (pictured) Zone 3

carnival limeade centerton nursery


Coral Bells (Heuchera) 6” – 14” Sun to Shade. Summer bloomer. White, cream and pink flowers. ‘Lime Rickey’ (8”, white flowers), ‘Key Lime Pie’ (8” – 10”, pink flowers) and ‘Carnival Limeade’ (12”, cream flowers) glow in shady beds. ‘Carnival Limeade’ has silver undersides, a fuzzy surface and remains a gold beacon even in heavier shade. Zone 4


  angelina sedum proven winners



Stonecrop (Sedum) ‘Angelina’ 3” – 6” Sun. Summer bloomer. Yellow flowers. ‘Angelina’ has needle-like, gold foliage that turns coppery-orange in fall. Bright yellow, flat-shaped flowers smother the plant in summer. This should be treated as a groundcover that can easily be plucked where you don’t want it. Zone 3

hakonechloa prides corner farms



Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechola macra) 12” – 24” Part Sun to Shade. Summer bloomer. ‘All Gold’ has solid gold, slightly wider blades with a less cascading nature than other Japanese Forest Grasses. ‘Aureola’ (pictured) has gold and white variegated leaves but appears mostly gold. Zone 5 (although they can handle Zone 4 if planted in a sheltered area)


mountain bluet prides corner




Mountain Bluet, Batchelor Button, Cornflower (Centaurea montana) ‘Gold Bullion’  24” Sun to Part Sun. Early summer bloomer. Blue-violet flowers. ‘Gold Bullion’ shimmers in the garden. It responds well to a hedge trimmer haircut in mid-July for a more shapely form in August. Many times a second bloom will follow as well. ‘Gold Bullion’ hates (read as dies) poorly draining soil. Zone 3


Shrubs and Evergreens300faddegonsgoldenfoliagenurseryshot


magic carpet prides cornerSpirea  2’ – 5’  Sun. Spring or summer bloomers.  Pink or white flowers.  There are many yellow-foliaged Spirea available.  ‘Magic Carpet’ is a compact selection that only reaches around 2’.  It has colorful orange tips on new growth and pink flowers.   ‘White Gold’ is slightly larger, at 2’ – 3’ tall, and is covered with white flowers in early summer.  ‘Mellow Yellow’ displays striking, feathery leaves and has white flower sprays in spring.  It can get up to 5’ tall.  All Spirea are drought tolerant and deer resistant.  Zone 4


rhus tiger eyes prides corner





Sumac (Rhus) ‘Tiger Eyes’  3’ – 6’  Sun – Part Shade.  Insignificant greenish-yellow flowers in early summer.  Wide, sweeping, horizontal branches.  ‘Tiger Eyes’ has striking fall color with orange-red overtones.  Deer resistant.  Zone 4






Smokebush (Cotinus) ‘Golden Spirit’  10’ – 15’  Sun – Part Sun.  Late spring.  Puffy, light pink flowers.  A striking accent plant with foliage that turns orangey-red-yellow in fall.  Prune back stems by 1/3 in late winter for more striking foliage color.  (pictured) Zone 4


 pisifera gold mop iseli nursery





False Cypress (Chamaecyparis) 3’ – 5’  Sun – Part Shade.  Evergreen.  Pisifera ‘Filifera Gold Mop’ and ‘Sungold’ both have feathery golden foliage and are slow growers.  ‘Filifera Gold Mop’ can mature to 5’ while ‘Sungold’ matures at 8’ but also grows at a turtle’s pace, reaching 3’ – 5’ in 10 years.  Zone 4

nana aurescens iseli nursery


Yew (Taxus) 3’ – 15’ Sun – Shade.  Evergreen.  Three popular cultivars are ‘Bright Gold’, ‘Nana Aurescens’ and ‘Sunburst’.  All are slow growers.  ‘Bright Gold’ gets 3’ in 10 years with it full maturity being 6’ tall.  Its needles tend to green out as summer progresses.  ‘Nana Aurescens’ is slightly shorter, topping out at 2’ -3’ tall and 5’ wide.   And ‘Sunburst’ is the largest, reaching 7’ tall and spreading to 10’.  The needles are brilliant yellow in spring, fading to a soft yellow in summer.  Zone 4


arborvitae techny gold prides corner 

Arborvitae (Thuja) ‘Sunkist’  6’ – 10’  Sun  – Part Shade.  Evergreen.  Showy, broad pyramidal habit with flattened, fan-like foliage sprays.  It has red-brown, exfoliating bark.  Yellow foliage turns orangey-yellow in winter.  Zone 2






Spruce (Picea) ‘Skylands’  10’ – 35’  Sun –Part Sun.  Evergreen.  Slow grower with conical, pyramidal habit.  Gets 8’ – 10’ tall in first 10 years.  Gold needle color can fade towards green in summer heat.  (pictured) Zone 4