Shrubs can create interesting variations in home landscapes. They generally grow to sizes in between those of trees and ground plants, adding depth and interest. Shrubs can serve as privacy screening and add colour to gardens. Many shrubs produce flowers in the spring and berries during the summer or fall, adding interest to your garden display. Planting shrubs with multicoloured and variegated leaves adds even more visual appeal to your landscaping.
Cape Jasmine Gardenia
Variegated Cape Jasmine, or Gardenia Augusta "Variegata," is an evergreen shrub that grows to 4 to 6 feet tall, with creamy white and green leaves It is a slow-growing shrub that bears fragrant white flowers, and grows into a dense, rounded shape, according to North Carolina State University. Variegated Cape likes sun or partial shade, and does well in acidic, well-drained soil high in organic matter. Cape Jasmine Gardenia grows in zones 9 and 10.
Croton, or Codiaeum variegatum, is a colourful evergreen shrub that grows in zones 9 and 10, and is often grown as an indoor houseplant. The leaves are glossy and come in a variety of greens, reds, oranges and yellows. Croton grows in a variety of species that produce different leaf shapes, some curled or rippled in interesting ways. Leaf colour is best when grown in shifting sun, according to Croton.org. Croton plants must be protected from the cold.
The copper leafplant, Acalypha wilkesiana, is available in a number of varieties that feature multicoloured leaves. Marginata grows coppery-green leaves with pink margins. Macrophylla has bronze, cream and red and yellow leaves. The musaica variety bears mottled red and orange leaves. Copperleaf grows in zones 10 and 11, and may also do well in zone 9 if protected from cold snaps, according to the Floridata website.
A variegated type of hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla variegata, grows in zones 5 to 9, according to Tytyga.com. The shrub grows to 6 feet tall with creamy white, yellowish-green and green leaves, with pink or lavender lace-cap flowers. Variegated hydrangea likes well-drained soil and grows in shade. It blooms in spring and summer.
Mt. Fugi spiraea, spiraea thunbergii, has thin-leafed, variegated leaves, and is distinctive for its white flowers. In fall, it turns orange-yellow. This type of spiraea grows in many types of soil, but requires good drainage. It is also deer-resistant, according to the Johnston County North Carolina Cooperative Extension. It can be planted in zones 5 to 9.