Variegated plants usually have a combination of cream and green leaves, although some plants may be tinged with pink. Many shrubs and climbing vines are suitable to hide a fence, although not all of them are hardy in a wide range of climates. Select a fast-growing evergreen plant for the most versatile use.
For year-round coverage, select evergreen variegated plants to hide a fence. Variegated glossy abelia, gold dust plant and variegated silverberry are variegated shrubs that remain green throughout the year in mild climates. Plant silverberry and abelia in full sun to partial shade in moderately moist to dry soil. Plant gold dust plant in partial to full shade in rich, moist soil. Try wintercreeper or variegated English or Algerian ivy for evergreen climbing vines. Plant wintercreeper in sun or partial shade, in moderately moist soil. Ivies need partial to full shade and rich, moist soil. Wintercreeper and ivy attach their vines to surfaces through discs and aerial roots, making them suitable for any type of fence. Both are hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 5.
Red-twig dogwood is a deciduous variegated shrub, hardy to zone 2. In addition to lovely green and cream leaves, this bush has red branches that provide winter interest. Plant it in full sun to partial shade in moderately moist soil. Prune it in spring to control its growth and improve its shape. Several varieties of daphne have variegated leaves, as well as bigleaf variegated hydrangea, mountain laurel and Japanese willow. Plant daphne and variegated hydrangea in partial shade, in moist, rich soil. Japanese willow and mountain laurel prefer sun and moderately moist soil. Most of these plants are hardy between zones 5 and 7. Deciduous variegated shrubs won't entirely hide a fence during the summer, and lose their leaves during the winter, leaving the fence plainly visible. They work well when placed in front of wooden or brick fences.
Variegated vines hide all types of fences, depending on how they adhere to surfaces and often provide complete coverage during the summer. Variegated kiwi vine has variegated creamy, pink and green foliage and produces small, edible fruit. It thrives in full sun to partial shade in moderately moist soil. Try Pink Frost sweet potato vine, which also has pink, cream and green leaves. Grow it as an annual north of zone 11. Both sweet potato vine and hardy kiwi must be trained to climb fences and are most suitable for chain-link fences or split-rail fences with chicken wire. Spotted dead nettle and bishop's weed are two creeping variegated ground covers that grow 12 inches high, providing coverage on the lower portion of the fence. Use them in combination with shrubs and vines. Plant them in partial shade and moderately moist soil.
When selecting a plant to cover a fence, consider how quickly the plant grows and its growing requirements. Choose a plant naturally adapted to your climate, as well as the amount of sunlight and moisture naturally found on the site. Many variegated plants grow best in mild climates. Consider how high the plant will grow when mature.