Golden foliage always stands out in the garden. Subsequently plants with yellow or gold leaves are carefully selected and cultivated as horticultural subjects. They contrast strikingly with dark greens, purple and reds as well as silver and grey foliaged plants. This allows for much creativity in designing and laying out gardens filled with plants of contrasting hues. A combination of leaves and flowers usually creates a garden with year-round interest and good looks.

Many yellow or gold foliaged plants burn in the African sun and some may benefit from being grown in summer shade. Shade invariably causes the leaves to lose their intense colouration, turning golds and yellows into lime shades.

This is a list of plants for KwaZulu-Natal gardens – both cold, temperate climates and warm sub-tropical regions. Check on climatic preferences before making any final selections.

Annuals and perennials (low growing)

Key: (I) = indigenous (E) = evergreen (D) = deciduous (F) = fruit (S) = seed (C) = climber (T) =thorns

Acorus gramineus ‘Mini Gold’ (miniature Japanese flag) (E)
Cuphea hyssopifolia ‘Cocktail’ (golden false heather) (E)
Dieffenbachia ‘Camille’ (dumb cane) (E)
Echinocactus grusonii (golden barrel cactus) (E) (T) – Note: many cactus types have gold or yellow spines
Heuchera ‘Electric Lime’ (coral bells) (D) Note: many heuchera hybrids have gold foliage
Ipomoea batatas ‘Sweet Caroline Lime’ (ornamental sweet potato) (D)
Liriope muscari ‘Pee Dee Gold’ (lily turf) (ED)
Liriope muscari ‘Pure Blond’ (lily turf) (ED)
Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’ (creeping jenny) (E)
Origanum vulgare ‘Aureum’ (golden oregano) (E)
Plectranthus ciliatus ‘Sasha’ (golden spurflower) (E) (I)
Sagina subulata ‘Aurea’ (Irish moss) (E)
Solenostemon scuttelarioides Hybrids (coleus or Joseph’s coat) (E)
Succulent: Aptenia cordifolia ‘Aurea’
Succulent: Portulacaria afra ‘Aurea’ (golden porkbush) (E)
Succulent: Sedum ‘Angelina’ (golden stonecrop) (E)
Succulent: Sedum nussbaumerianum (golden sedum) (E)
Thymus citriodorus ‘Aureus’ (golden thyme) (E)

Shrubs and climbers (medium to tall growing)

 Key: (I) = indigenous (E) = evergreen (D) = deciduous (F) = fruit (S) = seed (C) = climber (T) =thorns

Abelia schumanii ‘Aurea’ (yellow abelia) (E)
Abelia x grandiflora ‘Francis Mason’ (golden abelia) (E)
Acalypha wilkesiana ‘New Dawn’ (copperleaf) (E) – Note: many acalyphas have yellow leaves
Codiaeum variegatum Hybrids (croton) (E) – Note: many crotons have yellow foliage
Conifer: Juniperus x media pfitzeriana ‘Plumosa Aurea’ (golden juniper) (E)
Conifer: Platycladus orientalis ‘Aurea Nana Compacta’ (dwarf arborvitae) (E)
Conifer: Platycladus orientalis ‘Golden Rocket’ (rocket arborvitae) (E)
Conifer: Thuja occidentalis ‘Rheingold’ (golden American arborvitae) (E)
Conifer: Thuja occidentalis ‘Sunkist’ (golden American arborvitae) (E)
Dracaena deremensis ‘Gold Star’ or ‘Lemon and Lime’ (golden dracaena) (E)
Dracaena sanderiana ‘Aureus’ (golden lucky bamboo) (E)
Duranta repens ‘Aurea’ or ‘Yellow’ (golden dew drop) (ED)
Escallonia laevis ‘Gold’ (golf leaf escallonia) (E)
Euonymous japonicas ‘Microphyllus Gold Dust’ (dwarf Japanese spindle) (E)
Ligustrum ‘Vicaryi’ (golden privet) (D)
Lonicera nitida ‘Baggesens Gold’ (dwarf honeysuckle) (E)
Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Aureus’ (ninebark) (D)
Polyscias filicifolia (golden aralia or fern leaf aralia)) (E)
Pseuderanthemum ‘Eldorado’ (golden false eranthemum) (E)
Pseuderanthemum reticulatum ‘Aureum’ (golden false eranthemum) (E)
Succulent: Euphorbia tirucalii ‘Sticks of Fire’ (Indian tree spurge) (E) (I)
Succulent: Crassula ovata ‘Hummel’s Sunset’ (golden jade plant) (E) (I)
Trachelospermum asiaticum ‘Gold Rush’ (golden star jasmine) (E) (C)
Spiraea japonica ‘Gold Flame’ (golden May bush) (D)
Weigela florida ‘Rubidor’ (golden weigela) (D)

Trees (tall growing)

Key: (I) = indigenous (E) = evergreen (D) = deciduous (F) = fruit (S) = seed (C) = climber (T) =thorns

Acer negundo ‘Kelly’s Gold’ (golden box elder) (D)
Conifer: Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Gold Crest’ (Monterey cypress) (E)
Conifer: Cupressus sempervirens ‘Swane’s Gold’ (golden pencil cypress) (E)
Conifer: x Cuprocyparis leylandii ‘Gold Rider’ (golden leyland’s cypress) (E)
Ficus benjamina ‘Reginald’ (golden weeping fig) (E)
Melaleuca bracteata ‘Revolution Gold’ (Johannesburg gold) (E)

Key: (I) = indigenous (E) = evergreen (D) = deciduous (F) = fruit (S) = seed (C) = climber (T) =thorns

Whilst every care and caution has been taken in compiling these lists in terms of correctness and accuracy, Blackwood’s, nor any of their employees can be held liable or responsible if any of the recommendations are found to be incorrect in any way whatsoever. They are merely a guide to help gardeners and staff in finding solutions to gardening problems. All plants listed may not be available for sale at times. They do however all grow in the greater KwaZulu-Natal area and are to be found growing successfully in local gardens.