SEATTLE — Nothing cheers up the winter garden like evergreen plants with golden foliage. Golden-yellow leafed plants brighten the landscape imbuing spaces with a radiant luminosity and a splash of instant color. Golden foliage adds depth and contrast while meshing companionably with other colors. Cure the winter blues by adding a golden touch of sunshine with plants that add a golden glow.
Some of my favorite plants guaranteed to add a golden glow to your winter garden:
Cupressus macrocarpa 'Wilma Goldcrest': My favorite center pieces for a winter pot have golden leaves because they really stand out in the winter garden. A long-time favorite of my TV partner Meeghan Black is goldcrest Monterey Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa 'Wilma Goldcrest'). You might think she likes it for its lovely conical shape and cheery bright green-yellow foliage, but the real reason is because she loves the smell of lemon pledge and she swears the lemony scent of the foliage smells exactly the same. Nurseries carry this dwarf tree in a variety of sizes so it's easy to find one that is perfectly proportioned for the size of your pot.
Choisya x dewitteana Goldfingers: Sparkling evergreen shrub with bright golden, fine textured foliage… 3-4’ high and wide, compact habit. Fragrant white flowers in spring, often repeats in fall. Foliage has a nice peppery scent and deer don’t like it. Protection from the hottest sun in warmer climates, full sun elsewhere. Average decent soils, medium moisture. Especially nice under gray skies!
Choisya ternata ‘Sundance’: Gold leaved Mexican orange is a durable fine textured evergreen shrub that really lights up the winter landscape. The vivid foliage is wonderful year round and the clusters of white fragrant spring and again in autumn flowers are a delight. Best color in full sun, but avoid reflected heat if in full sun. Rich, well drained soil and light summer water. To 6' x 6' in 5 years, but you can cut back almost to the ground if it gets too tall, or the winter beats the tweetle out of it.
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Kamaeni hiba' (Golden Hinoki Cypress):
'Kamaeni hiba’ is a rare and unique dwarf hinoki cypress. ‘Kamaeni hiba’ has short twisted golden new growth that create a soft fluffy texture that reminds you of a stuffed animal. The overall shape is pyramidal with irregular softly rounded mounds. While the interior growth may be chartreuse, the overall color is a bright lemon yellow. Give plenty of sun for the best color. ‘Kamaeni hiba’ is a slow growing conifer reaching 3-4 ft in height by 2-3 ft in width in 10 years.
Taxus cuspidata 'Dwarf Bright Gold': This yew shrub has a spreading habit, eventually maturing to 4-6' tall and to 5-7' wide natural looking shrub. In spring new growth emerges brilliant gold, and then mellows to a golden-green by late summer. The Foliage often turns an appealing shade of reddish-yellow in winter.
Carex Everillo (evergreen golden Japanese Sedge): Cheery and bright, the lime green grass like foliage progresses to bright golden yellow. Morning sun exposure intensifies the breathtaking ribbons of golden yellow. Brighten a shady path with these charming lanterns of light.
A great centerpiece for a container design is. T. baccata ‘Standishii’: This slow growing narrow upright yew is a sun-lover. It can eventually reach 8ft tall and 3ft tall, but, can be easily pruned to keep it in proportion to the size of a pot or a small garden space. This attractive yew creates a striking contrast with new growth that emerges bright golden-yellow backed with rich forest green needles in the interior. As long as it receives adequate sunshine, the color remains steadfast year round, making it an especially good choice for a winter pot where its golden glow is guaranteed to cheer up even darkest winter day.
Aucuba japonica 'Picturata': is a slow grower that boasts brilliant glossy dark green leaves with yellow gold centers. This shrub thrives in partial to full shade. If a male pollinator is nearby, 'Picurata' might produce red berries! The glossy evergreen foliage of this aucuba will bring beauty to the backdrop any woodland garden or large border. A sturdy option to use as a screen, or makes an eye-catching centerpiece in a shady container.