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A. italicum will add great color and diversity to the garden with their attractively marked leaves, which may be arrow- or spear-shaped. Leaves are veined with mid-green to white. In early summer, white spathes of flowers are followed by spikes of bright orange red berries.
A well-behaved perennial from the mint family (Lamiaceae), variegated calamint has pale-green, oval leaves with strong white marbling. It sends up a wealth of clear-pink tubular flowers that muster an army of bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds from mid- to late summer. It’s eye-catching both in and out of bloom and has a wonderful minty fragrance all season long.
Tropicanna Gold is perhaps the showiest of all of the variegated cannas and one of the best for hot, humid, sunny southern gardens. Favored for its bright green and yellow variegated foliage and deep tangerine flowers, Tropicanna Gold will grow at the edge of ponds in shallow water as well as in normal garden conditions. It is adaptable to heat and humidity. Protect in the northern part of its range, or lift tubers in fall where not hardy and store over winter.
This hybrid has petite green-and-cream variegated foliage with a hint of pink on the undersides. It produces chartreuse and apple green bicolored bracts on airy stems.
'Midnight Rose' is a striking heuchera with burgundy leaves heavily splashed with hot pink. The plant grows to 10 inches tall and 16 inches wide and produces small flowers in spring, though this plant is grown primarily for its foliage. Grow it in garden beds, as an edger, or in containers, where it will blend well with a multitude of other plants.
Clump-forming perennial features a mound of maple, or ivy-like, long-petioled leaves (3-5" wide) which are an attractive deep purple above and beet red beneath. Foliage color may fade to a bronze green in hot summers. Tiny, pinkish white, bell-shaped flowers in open, airy panicles are borne on slender, wiry, dark red stems extending well above the mound of leaves typically to a height of 15-24" in late spring to early summer. Attracts hummingbirds to the garden! They look especially good used around the edge of a border. -Santa Rosa Gardens
Chameleon plant lives up to its name, with red and yellow variegated heart-shaped green leaves. Its scrambling growth habit may overwhelm its neighboring plants, so grow chameleon plant in a window box or a hanging basket, where its growth can more easily be controlled. -Debra Lee Baldwin, Regional Picks: Southern California, Fine Gardening issue #127
An iris with foliage as showy as its flowers, 'Variegata' has bright green leaves striped with yellow and beautiful soft blue flowers with yellow beards. This bearded iris reaches four feet high and spreads indefinitely. Use to edge a border or grow at waterside.
Beautiful variegation brightens the green and grey mottled foliage. A wide creamy-golden margin blends to the edge of the cut-leaf foliage. Its spreading branches mingle softly with its garden neighbors. Blooming in early fall, 12- to 15-inch stems produce light lavender aster-like flowers with a yellow center.
‘Pink Chablis’ has pink flowers above silvery gray leaves edged with dark green. These trailing plants make fine ground covers or cascaders.
An oversize tender perennial, blood banana has large, fleshy, rubberlike leaves with dark markings. The foliage is green with random reddish purple blotches. On mature plants, orange or red flowers develop into inedible orange fruits. -Julia Jones, Designing with annuals, Fine Gardening issue #120
A refreshing new look to an old time favorite ornamental grass! Pennisetum ‘Fireworks’ is the first variegated purple fountain grass. The midvein is the typical burgundy color and is flanked by hot pink margins. Produces beautiful red-burgundy foxtail flowers. Great accent plant and excellent in containers. -Santa Rosa Gardens
This variegated cultivar offers white-edged leaves with pink tints on a compact plant to 1.5 feet tall. It bears light lavender-blue bell-shaped blossoms in spring.
This variety is more compact than the species, and its leaves are variegated with creamy margins. In late spring to summer, its star-shaped yellow flowers open from pink buds and mature to crimson. It grows to just 4 inches tall and 12 inches wide.
This coleus has medium, scalloped, pale pinkish green and medium green leaves with raspberry undersides.
Green and cream never looked so good. This versatile color combo makes 'Alligator Tears' a go-to for foliage in container gardens.
This notably beautiful plant produces huge, elongated banana-shaped leaves, which are arfully edged in luminescent yellow. The rosette sits at 18 inches tall, and in early summer the plant bears clusters of mauve-pink bells atop stems that are 4 to 5 feet tall.
This trailing perennial is grown for its foliage. Fleshy leaves have two silvery stripes and purple undersides. Flowers bloom intermittently throughout the year. Wandering Jew, a common houseplant, is native to Southern Mexico.
For later-blooming flowers with ornamental foliage, try Tulipa 'Carnaval de Nice'. It has grayish green foliage finely outlined in white and fragrant white-and-burgundy-feathered blooms. Its flower patterns and height are variable (ranging from 16 to 20 inches tall) but always eye-catching.
Tulipa ‘Charmeur’ features leaves with curled yellow edges and 18-inch-tall white-rimmed dark rosy blooms. The color combination may be a bit garish for some, but it will certainly brighten up container plantings in a drab doorway.
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Deer resistant and dynamic, these bulbs provide color from the first showers of spring to the last leaves of fall
by Stephanie Cohen
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10 Shrubs for Summer Color
These vibrant bloomers give even the showiest annuals and perennials a run for their money
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Enchanting Japanese Maples
Two experts pick their favorites based on color, shape
by Francie Schroeder
Q&A Moving houseplants outdoors for the summer
by Tim Pollak
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