The Dirt: Patterned Plants

Variegated leaves bring color contrast to your plant display and help break up the green monotony. Check out local landscapers’ favorite patterned plants.

By Melissa Mauzy


1. “Red Veined Sorrel is a gorgeous perennial leafy green, with a tidy mounding habit and sun/shade flexibility. We love how the color and texture contrast in the landscape, and that the nutritious leaves can be added into salads all season long!” Laura Caldie, Maypop Garden Shop.

2. “'Painted Lady' Spirea has fast become a top choice for those who want splashy color and low maintenance. Its green, yellow and cream variegated leaves are topped with bright pink blooms all season. Only growing 2-3' tall and wide, it works well in many situations. Like most Spiraea, it is drought-tolerant, deer-resistant and grows well in sun or part shade.” Ann Lapides, Sugar Creek Gardens

3. “One of our favorite variegated plants is a cultivar of Missouri native ‘Jacobs Ladder’ the Polemonium ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ This is a vigorous, heat-tolerant plant that will produce soft blue flowers in late spring. The foliage is distinguished by bold, cream-colored markings against bright green leaves. In direct sun or in cooler weather, the tips of the leaves will acquire a soft pink tinge.” Sarah Riley, Bowood Farms.

4. “Rattlesnake Plant (Calathea lancifolia) is an easy and resilient houseplant that grows well in moderate light. It's unusual coloration paired with a beautiful pot can create an interesting and unique accent for the home.” Andy Martin, Greenscape Gardens.

5. “Variegated Solomon's Seal (polygonatum falcatum variegatum). Rich green leaves narrowly edged in white, and reddish-colored stems, will help to brighten shady beds, borders and woodland gardens and will complement adjacent trees and shrubs. Arching, unbranched stems emerge from the soil forming a small clump. Lovely white bell-shaped flowers drip from the stems in spring. An herbaceous perennial.” Richard Poynter, Poynter Landscape Architecture.