Top 10 Golden Plants to Make Your Garden Glow

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

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.

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.

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.

Check out the 9 best websites for buying flower bulbs online.

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.

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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.

Do hostas attract hummingbirds?

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.

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

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).

EvercolorcarexeverilloEverColor

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.

Dress up your deck or patio with these fun fall outdoor container ideas.

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Deb Wiley
Deb Wiley is a freelance writer and editor from Des Moines, Iowa. She loves plants that attract birds to her garden.