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Podcast: Let's Argue About Plants

Episode 75: Variegated for Shade

Video by Danielle Sherry and Steve Aitken. Edited by Kara Demos.

Shade, generally speaking, can be dark, dreary, and difficult to garden in. It’s hard enough finding a plant that requires not all that much sunlight, let alone one that has light coloring to its foliage. But these rare birds are essential to making a good shade garden truly great. Plants with white, silver, or even light green variegation brighten up the dimmest of spots and instantly get elevated to focal-point status. Have you always thought your shade was lacking something? Chances are that it’s some variegation, and this episode has plenty of options to pick from.

Expert testimony: Susan Calhoun, owner of Plantswoman Design in Bainbridge, Washington


Steve’s plants

‘Frances Williams’ hosta (Hosta ‘Frances Williams’, Zones 3–9)

‘Alexander’s Great’ brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla ‘Alexander’s Great’, Zones 3–8)

‘Beatlemania’ sedge (Carex caryophyllea ‘Beatlemania’, Zones 5–8)

‘Byakko’ Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum odoratum ‘Byakko’, Zones 4–9)


Danielle’s plants

‘Spot On’ lungwort (Pulmonaria ‘Spot On’, Zones 3–9)

‘Sno Cone’ lily turf (Liriope muscari ‘Sno Cone’, Zones 6–9)

‘Argentum’ leopard plant (Farfugium japonicum ‘Argentum’, Zones 7b–10)

Metallic begonia (Begonia aconitifolia, Zones 10–11)


Expert’s plants

Variegated brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla ‘Variegata’, Zones 3–8)

‘Fragrant Splash’ hydrangea  (Hydrangea scandens ‘Fragrant Splash’, Zones 7–10)

Golden lamium (Lamium maculatum ‘Aureum’, Zones 3–9)

‘Ice Storm’ impatiens (Impatiens omieana ‘Ice Storm’, Zones 7–9)


‘Frances Williams’ hosta
‘Frances Williams’ hosta
‘Alexander’s Great’ brunnera
‘Alexander’s Great’ brunnera
‘Spot On’ lungwort
‘Spot On’ lungwort
‘Beatlemania’ sedge
‘Beatlemania’ sedge
‘Byakko’ Solomon’s seal
‘Byakko’ Solomon’s seal
Metallic begonia
Metallic begonia
‘Sno Cone’ lily turf
‘Sno Cone’ lily turf
Argentum’ leopard plant
‘Argentum’ leopard plant


Expert’s plants

Susan Calhoun


Expert testimony: Susan Calhoun, owner of Plantswoman Design in Bainbridge, Washington

Photo: Doreen Wynja

Golden lamium
Golden lamium. Photo: Susan Calhoun
'Ice Storm' impatiens
‘Ice Storm’ impatiens. Photo: Susan Calhoun
'Fragrant Splash' hydrangea
‘Fragrant Splash’ hydrangea. Photo: Susan Calhoun
Variegated brunnera
Variegated brunnera. Photo: Susan Calhoun


View Comments


  1. gregwhite526 11/24/2020

    I would like to learn how to produce variegated plants. Atlantic Sign Company

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