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Create the Illusion of Sun Dappling in Shady Yards

How to use variegated plants to brighten shaded planting areas

By Maureen Gilmer, landscape designer, author and columnist

An old trick used by landscape gardeners is to use variegated plants to create the illusion of sun dappling to brighten the look of a shaded planting area. Plant candidates for this technique must have two qualities: they must tolerate shade and have yellow, chartreuse or white leaves. The source of such foliage is from variegated plants. Variegation is the change of color in green leaves to add a light colored edge or center. Hostas are among the most famous variegated plants for shade gardens.

Top Variegated Perennials to Brighten Shady Spots

Acorus Ogon

Acorus 'Ogon' Golden Variegated Sweet Flag

Hosta  Variegated Hybrids

Hosta Variegated Hybrids Variegated Plantain Lily

Hedera 'Gold Heart'

Hedera 'Gold Heart' Variegated Dwarf English Ivy

Hakonechloamacra 'Areola'

Hakonechloamacra 'Areola' Golden Japanese Forest Grass

Liriope muscari 'Silvery Sunproof'

Liriope muscari 'Silvery Sunproof' Lilyturf

Hakonechloamacra 'Areola'

Vinca major 'Aureo Variegata' Gold Variegated Periwinkle

Shade Tree Solutions
Shady Shrubs for North Foundations
Add Excitement to Shade With Perennials

Maureen Gilmer
Morongo Valley, CA

Maureen "Mo" Gilmer is a landscape designer, author, and speaker about horticulture topics and landscape design.