20 Golden Plants to Make Your Garden Glow

Updated: Feb. 20, 2024

Strike it rich with bright foliage that lights up a garden with our list of golden plants. Some of our favorites include canna lily and hosta.

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If you’ve ever wanted to add some rich luster to your garden or landscape, golden plants are an excellent way to do so. We rounded up some of our favorites and included the plant zones where they grow best as well as where you can buy them. One of the reasons we love golden plants is that they’re so versatile. Use golden plants as a focal point or grow them in masses with dark colored plants.

As you decide how to incorporate these glowing beauties into your garden, think about what kinds of colors complement gold best. Golden plants turn up the heat when planted with red and orange, but cool down with purple and blue.

Want more gold in your garden? Check out the top 10 classic yellow flowers to grow.

Heucherella Solar Power 4bVia Terra Nova Nurseries

Golden Plants: Solar Power Foamy Bells

X Heucherella, Zones 4 to 9

This glowing mounded plant soaks up more sun than other gold foamy bells varieties, though in southern climates you may want to protect it from harsh afternoon rays. In deep shade, the leaves stay lime green with splatters of red.

Why we love it: These golden plants get rave reviews from New England to South Dakota, and even wowed plant guru Allan Armitage when he grew them in his Georgia garden.

Check out the top 10 shade tolerant coral bells varieties to grow.

CannabengaltigerDoreen Wynja

Bengal Tiger Canna Lily

Canna, Zones 7b to 10

Northern gardeners need to dig up canna bulbs to store indoors over winter, but Bengal Tiger is worth the extra effort. Towering 6 feet tall, this canna lily appears golden thanks to green and creamy yellow striped leaves that are edged in maroon.

Why we love it: Midsummer orange blooms are a nice touch, but it’s grown for the stunning foliage.

Add these yellow flowering shrubs to your yard.

Wg AraliacordataVia Walters Gardens, Inc

Sun King Japanese Spikenard

Aralia cordata, Zones 3 to 9

Bold and bright, Sun King lives up to its name as it commands attention from its massive throne in your garden. Place it in full sun or partial shade. With just a few hours of sun per day, golden plant foliage reins supreme in your landscape.

Why we love it: The exotic and tropical look stuns in almost every climate.

Plant these summer flowering shrubs in full sun.

TanacetumislagoldCourtesy of Plant Delights Nursery, Inc. www.plantdelights.com

Isla Gold Tansy

Tanacetum vulgare, Zones 4 to 8

Lacy yellow foliage forms a gorgeous fluffy mound in a full sun to part shade garden. Flat-topped golden blooms appear by late summer. This variety is less invasive than the common species, especially when you deadhead spent blooms. But like other tansy, it is poisonous if ingested, so keep it away from children and animals.

Why we love it: Because of its aromatic foliage, tansy is deer resistant.

PwpineapplesageCourtesy of Proven Winners - Provenwinners.com

Golden Delicious Pineapple Sage

Salvia elegans, Zones 8 to 11

Place pineapple sage in full sun to achieve the maximum gold coloration; leaves stay more chartreuse in part shade. Bright red blooms appear in late summer, just in time to feed your butterflies and migrating hummingbirds.

Why we love it: In cool climates, bring rooted cuttings indoors and overwinter for next year. Plus, the crushed leaves smell like pineapple.

HostaVia Walters Gardens, Inc

Designer Genes Hosta

Hosta, Zones 3 to 8

Many hosta leaves turn golden in cool fall weather, but the leaves of Designer Genes bring brightness from the moment they burst to life in spring. The amount of sun it receives determines the color: in full shade the leaves turn green; morning sun and afternoon shade allow the golden color to develop.

Why we love it: Petioles—the stalks that hold the leaves—are red.

Learn how to grow and care for hostas.

Tradescantia Sweet Kate Perennial Flowerjudywhite/Garden Photos.com

Sweet Kate Spiderwort

Tradescantia, Zones 4 to 9

Small, three-petaled purple-blue flowers stand out against grasslike brilliant gold foliage. The blooms are short yet sweet, as their name suggests, and last for only one day. Sweet Kate produces lots of buds, though, and blooms for up to eight weeks.

Why we love it: It’s easy to care for and low maintenance. These golden plants are perfect for beginners!

Amsonia Hubrichtii In Autumn ColorGraham Rice/Garden Photos.com

Arkansas Blue Star

Amsonia hubrichtii, Zones 5 to 8

There’s a brief moment in spring when pale blue star-shaped blooms adorn the tips of Arkansas blue star’s thin leaves. After that show, it quietly thrives until autumn, when it bursts into sudden golden splendor. Northern gardeners may prefer A. tabernaemontana, with wider leaves and better cold hardiness.

Why we love it: Amsonia is deer-resistant and needs very little maintenance.

Grow these fabulous foliage plants for garden pizzazz.

TricyrtisterranovaVia Terra Nova Nurseries

Gilty Pleasure Toad Lily

Tricyrtis formosana, Zones 5 to 9

You’ll feel absolutely no guilt about growing the oval, pointed leaves of Gilty Pleasure. Spring foliage emerges golden and then softens as the year progresses. This Taiwanese plant thrives in moist soil in shade to part shade.

Why we love it: Toad lily’s orchid-like flowers appear in late summer to fall and are an unexpected treat as the growing season winds down.

Psst—we found the best fall flowers (that aren’t mums).


Everillo Sedge

Carex oshimensis, Zones 5 to 9

Sedges are perfectly happy in part sun and well-drained soil where their evergreen foliage shines. This Irish relative of older varieties Evergold and Everest makes an even brighter impact when planted in a container. Also try Bowles Golden sedge (Carex elata).

Why we love it: Super easy to grow, Everillo starts off lime green in color but soon ripens to gold.

Add these gorgeous ornamental grasses to your yard.

Beautiful Vibrant Yellow Marsh Marigold Flowers Also Known As Kingcup And Caltha PalustrisJACKY PARKER PHOTOGRAPHY/GETTY IMAGES;

Marsh Marigold

Caltha palustris, Zones 3 to 7

Marsh marigolds look like giant buttercups surrounded by their glossy, light green leaves. This popular wetland wildflower, also known as cowslip, pops up in early spring. It grows up to 18 inches tall in full sun or dappled shade in moist or boggy soil. It may go dormant during peak summer.

Why we love it: Happier in wetter conditions than most flowers, it also resists deer and rabbits.

Discover why Blue Flag iris is a great choice for wet gardens, too.

Euphorbia Polychroma Bonfirespurgepp18585WALTERS GARDENS, INC

Bonfire Cushion Spurge

Euphorbia polychroma, Zones 4 to 9

Bonfire features yellow flowerlike bracts starting in late spring. This spurge’s mounds do well in well-draining soil and aren’t afraid of drought conditions. A member of the euphorbia family, it needs at least six hours of direct sun, though it can tolerate part shade, too.

Why we love it: Red, orange and dark purple top growth becomes burgundy by midsummer and lasts into the fall.

Learn how to grow a fall garden your birds will love.


Hardy Jerusalem Sage

Phlomis russeliana, Zones 4 to 10

Known for whorls of pale yellow hooded flowers and large evergreen leaves, this Mediterranean species blooms in late spring. It’s easy to grow in full sun or light shade and it prefers well-draining or sandy soil. Try it as a bee- and bird-friendly border plant.

Why we love it: The ornamental seed heads stick around and provide winter interest.

Winter Aconite, Eranthis; HyemalisEMER1940/GETTY IMAGES

Winter Aconite

Eranthis hyemalis, Zones 3 to 7

Often seen peeking up through the snow, winter aconite’s fragrant, golden yellow flowers offer a spray of color before fading in late spring. It prefers full sun or light shade. Plant the hardy tubers in an area where they can naturalize over time.

Why we love it: Winter aconite looks stunning in rock gardens and borders, under shrubs and along walkways.

Check out the top 10 bulbs to plant in fall that you aren’t growing yet.

Helleboruscalifornia DreamingWALTERS GARDENS, INC

California Dreaming Lenten Rose

Helleborus hybrid, Zones 4 to 9

Ready to stand out in a shady woodland garden, the sunshine yellow flowers of this Lenten rose welcome spring. It prefers rich, moist soil, and does well in a container as a filler. Cut back old or damaged leaves to promote healthier growth later.

Why we love it: A low-maintenance pick, it’ll thrive under large deciduous trees.


Pyromania Flashpoint Red Hot Poker

Kniphofia hybrid, Zones 5 to 9

With its large chartreuse blooms, this red hot poker packs a punch from early to late summer as its flowers fade to creamy white. Growing to over 4 feet tall, it’s perfect for birds to nibble on spent blossoms. Trim in spring to encourage new growth.

Why we love it: Flashpoint tolerates drought and salt while attracting hummingbirds, bees and butterflies.

Brecks 60377itohpeonyCOURTESY BRECK’S BULB CO.

Bartzella Itoh Peony

Paeonia intersectional hybrid, Zones 4 to 9

This lemon yellow peony has extra-large double flowers that emerge in mid-spring. A mature plant can produce up to 80 blooms per season. Peonies love full sun or part shade and rich, well-draining soil. The strong stems don’t require staking, and you shouldn’t have to worry about diseases.

Why we love it: The blooms emit a slightly spicy scent outdoors in the garden and indoors as cut flowers in a vase.


Decadance Lemon Meringue False Indigo

Baptisia hybrid, Zones 4 to 9

Bright yellow blooms pop on attractive dark stems from late spring into the summer, followed by seedpods in fall. Plant it in sunny spots where it can grow 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. Keep an eye out for visiting bees and butterflies.

Why we love it: Include it in a large container for an upright centerpiece thriller or cut for a bouquet or vase.

Brecks 85924atulipCOURTESY BRECK’S BULB CO.

Golden Parade Tulip

Tulipa Darwin hybrid, Zones 3 to 8

Perfect as a focal point in large beds, this midspring tulip is beautiful and fragrant. The giant golden blossoms make for lovely cut flowers. Tulips adore sun but tolerate light shade. Plant bulbs in well-draining soil during fall.

Why we love it: Quite large in the tulip world, Golden Parade can reach up to 2 feet tall.

These are the top 10 types of tulips to add to your garden.

Brecks 75881beardedirisCOURTESY BRECK’S BULB CO.

Zesting Lemons Bearded Iris

Iris germanica, Zones 4 to 9

This iris resembles lemon meringue with a bright orange beard accent. Blooming in late spring, the frilly Zesting Lemons offers delicate beauty. Plant rhizomes shallowly, with half the rhizome exposed, in a sunny spot.

Why we love it: Deer leave it alone, and it tolerates a variety of soil types as long as they drain-well.

Next, check out 10 of the best daffodil bulbs to plant.