Real World Gardener Variegation is Garden Design

March 7th, 2014

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm <?xml:namespace prefix = "st1" />Sydney, streaming live at and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" />

Real World Gardener is funded by the Community Broadcasting Foundation


The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition. The new theme is sung by Harry Hughes from his album Songs of the Garden. You can hear samples of the album from the website

with Louise McDaid


Today the final in the series on the colour green in gardens, and as a colour, mostly gardeners overlook on how effectively it can be really used.

Are you worried about having too much green in the garden and not quite getting the variation in leaf size, shape and texture to give your garden a lift.

Today we might have just the right answer in the final of the series

Louse was talking mainly about plants with cream and green or cream and white variegations.


  • What is a variegated plant – one with leaves that have more than 1 or 2 colours – for this purpose we’re talking about green with white, cream or yellow. The colours are usually in thick or thin stripes, but sometimes other markings a bit more random like splashes or marbling – often there will be a few tones of green

Stripey – NZ flax, iris, dianella, miscanthus ‘zebrinus’, alpinia zerumbet ‘variegata’, agave succulent

Perimeter splashes or edging – hibiscus, zonal pelargonium, hosta, pittosporum (screening plant)

Random splashes and spots – aucuba (gold dust plant), zantedeshcia (calla lily)

Euphorbia – mentioned them as a green flower but also available with variegated foliage

CULTIVATION TIP: Plants with more white or yellow need more sun than those with less – the trick is to give enough light but not too much sun to burn the leaves.For the most part, variegated plants don’t like full shade because the leaves have less chlorophyll for photosynthesis.

That tends to mean they also grow a bit slower.
HOT TIP: Plant an variegated and non variegated version of the same plant - it works well because of the repetition of shape, texture and form that gives consistency and harmony, but variation with the colour to add interest

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