Top 10 Gold Plants for Your Garden

Strike it rich with bright foliage that lights up a fall garden.

If you’ve ever wanted to add some rich luster to your garden or landscape, gold 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 gold plants is that they’re so versatile. Use gold as a focal point or grow it in masses with dark foliage plants. Gold turns up the heat when planted with red and orange, but cools down with purple and blue.

As you decide how to incorporate these bright beauties into your garden, think about what kinds of colors complement gold best. For example, too much sunshiny yellow may overpower your space. Sprinkle golden growers in with blue, purple, or for major pizazz, orange and red plants. Here are some of our other favorite color-themed plant lists to get you really planning your ultimate garden:

photo credit: Terra Nova Nurseries

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: It gets rave reviews from England to South Dakota, and even wowed plant guru Allan Armitage when he grew it in his Georgia garden.

Where to buy it: Terra Nova Nurseries

photo credit: Monrovia/Doreen 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.

Where to buy it: Monrovia

photo credit: 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, gold foliage reins supreme in your landscape.

Why we love it: Its exotic and tropical look rules in almost every climate.

Where to buy it: Walters Gardens, Inc

photo credit: Plant Delights Nursery, Inc

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.

Where to buy it: Plant Delights Nursery, Inc

photo credit: Proven Winners

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.

Where to buy it: Proven Winners

photo credit: 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.

Where to buy it: Walters Gardens, Inc

photo credit: Bluestone Perennials

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. Perfect for beginners!

Where to buy it: Bluestone Perennials

photo credit: Wayside Gardens

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.

Where to buy it: Wayside Gardens

photo credit: Terra Nova Nurseries

Gilty Pleasure gold-leaved 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.

Where to buy it: Terra Nova Nurseries

photo credit: Evercolor

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.

Where to buy it: EverColor Plants

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