Plants that bring home the bronze, silver and gold to your landscape.
Bronze is an interesting element of color in the garden. This color can most often be achieved through foliage but there are a few flowers in the list below too. Bronze is most often described botanically as a brownish orange. I think of it as either a background color, an accent color or a seasonal color. I most often think of this color in the fall when many ornamental grasses will take on some element of bronze to their foliage or seed-heads. Many conifers are also described as having a winter foliage described often as bronze, so don’t assume it’s dead! That’s part of the interesting appeal of conifers in the winter garden.
- Carex comans ‘Bronco’ by Bill Blevins on Plants Map – Probably my favorite pick here. A deep bronze-brown colored sedge year-round.
- Bronze Fennel ‘Purpureum’ by Reynolds Community College in Herb Garden – An herb with aromatic, bronze foliage.
- Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’ by Tracy Blevins in Pollinator Plants – Tree with gorgeous bronze undersides to the evergreen foliage.
- Chasmanthium latifolium by Tracy Blevins in Central Rappahannock Natives – Ornamental grass with seed-heads turn a lovely bronze shade in the fall.
- Date Night™ Strobe™ Weigela by Bloomin’ Easy® Plant Collection – Shrub with bright pink flowers against green and bronze foliage.
- ‘Bronze Sculpture’ Tall Bearded Iris by The Gardens at Kansas State University in Iris – A perennial flower with an orange color that mature to brownish bronze.
- Paperbark Maple by Look Up, Virginia! Utility-Friendly Trees in Lynchburg Arboretum at the Appalachian Power Office – The bark on this tree is described as cinnamon-bronze and is an outstanding feature in the winter landscape.
- Dahlia ‘Babylon Bronze’ by the Generous Gardeners – A gorgeous bloom that is strongly on the orange side of bronze.
- Prairie Dropseed by Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge – A warm season prairie grass that fades to a light bronze in winter.
- Little Bluestem by Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge – Another popular ornamental grass that produces purplish-bronze flowers that mature into silvery-white seed heads with exceptional light bronze-orange fall foliage color.
Probably the best reason I have to add silver to your garden is how beautiful it looks in the evening garden. They seem to just capture the moonlight and glow in the dark. While most plants on this list are foliage plants, there are a few white flowers described as silver. I have listed one Iris but I have seen many with shades of silver that are outstanding. Silver foliage and flowers can also add a bright spot to the shade garden as well. I have found however, I do not like my silver foliage plants near any shades of bright green or chartreuse. You can also find many conifers that can add year-round silver interest to your garden and many of those have a nice compact, dwarf size.
- Silver Bush Everlasting Flower by California College of the Arts – Ground-cover with a ‘soft fluffy texture’ and powdery- silvery color.
- Artemisia ludoviciana (Prairie Sage) by Prairie Moon Nursery – Prairie Sage forms a dense ground-cover of silver-green foliage. Can be aggressive.
- Sambucus nigra ‘Pulverulenta’ by Bill Blevins – A shrub with bright variegated silver foliage for part shade.
- Lavandula x intermedia Phenomenal® by Tracy Blevins – An herb with attractive year round silver-grey foliage.
- Short-toothed Mountain Mint by Nicholas Newlin Foundation – An herb with sweet-smelling, small, silvery leaves.
- Broadleaf Sage by Backyard Abundance – Another herb with soft lush silver foliage.
- Pulmonaria longifolia ‘Diana Clare’ by Tracy Blevins – A great shade perennial with bright silvery foliage. Most any Pulmonaria with have some ‘silver’ variegation, but this one is really strongly silver and a favorite.
- Lychnis coronaria by Generous Gardeners – Rose campaign is known as much for its woolly, silver-gray leaves as the bright pink flowers.
- Abies koreana ‘Kohouts Icebreaker’ by American Conifer Society – Korean ﬁr is an evergreen conifer known for outstanding silver foliage year-round.
- Veronica longifolia ‘Charlotte’ by Tracy Blevins – The white variegation and spikes of white flowers add a silver illumination to the evening garden.
- Silver Maple by Centralia Foundation Park on Plants Map – The Silver Maple is most noted for the silver undersides of the foliage.
- Iris – Low Ho Silver by Lansdowne Farm– A stunning white iris with a silvery white beard that seems to glow in the garden.
- Lamb’s ear by Stevens County Firewise Garden – Ground-cover known for the soft, lush silver-grey foliage.
- ‘Silver Scrolls’ Coral Bells by Fletch’s Garden Products – Perennial for the shade garden with fantastic silver foliage variegation.
- Silver King Sweetgum by Look Up, Virginia! Utility-Friendly Trees – A sweetgum that offers beautiful white variegated foliage.
- ‘Silver Waves’ Camellia by The Gardens at Heather Farm – A shade shrub with glowing white flowers in winter.
- Pinus uncinata ‘Silver Candles’ by Conifer Kingdom – The new ‘silver’ candles are the striking feature of the evergreen pine.
- Picea orientalis ‘Silver Seedling’ by Bill Blevins – A unique dwarf oriental spruce with dark green foliage and creamy white tips on the needles.
- Pinus koraiensis ‘Silveray’ by Bill Blevins – A large upright, pyramidal selection of Korean pine with beautiful silver-blue, twisted needles.
I think gold is probably the hardest of the three colors to nail down here because what is gold? I think it is the hardest to represent because do you think of gold as yellow or as orange? I tend to lean toward the yellow end of the spectrum here in my choices. To me I think of gold in the shiny lighter 14k type of representation. Again, conifer and foliage plants are the most interesting choices to me. I think this color, out of the three, is the one that can be more easily adapted to year-round interest with many choices of plants for both shade and sun.
- Crocus chrysanthus ‘Cream Beauty’ by Tracy Blevins – Creamy yellow with a gold center. These small flowers are a welcome sight in late winter or early spring.
- Golden Crocus ‘Dorothy’ by Annkat – An early blooming crocus with a rich gold color.
- Chalice Vine – Solandra grandiflora by Belle Isle’s Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory – Climbing vine with huge, chalice-shaped gold flowers. Probably the best true ‘gold’ on the list.
- Cotinus coggyriga ‘Golden Spirit’ by Conifer Kingdom – Yes, a smokebush tree with bright golden-yellow foliage.
- Pepper Golden Treasure by Tracy Blevins – The only vegetable on my list! Easy to grow pepper with great color variegation.
- Ginkgo biloba ‘Snow Cloud’ by Conifer Kingdom – One would be remiss to not mention the outstanding fall foliage of a Ginkgo!
- Golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea) by Nicholas Newlin Foundation – Native perennial with tiny gold-yellow flowers in late spring.
- Gold Tide Dwarf Forsythia by The Gardens at Heather Farm – A harbinger of spring, it is hard to beat the glowing golden flowers of this shrub.
- Lilium auratum – Gold Band Lily by Tracy Blevins – One of my favorites on this list. These large lily flowers have a beautiful gold band on white petals.
- ‘Julia Child’ Rose by Weeks Roses in Floribunda Roses – For the rose lover, one of the most popular of yellow-gold roses.
- Ligustrum sinense ‘Sunshine’ by Tracy Blevins – On the cover of this journal, this sterile privet offers year-round golden foliage that flourishes in full sun.
- Goldenrod ‘Fireworks’ by Cossey Botanical Park Arboretum – Pretty much any goldenrod will add a nice dark gold flower to your late summer or fall garden but this one is a particular favorite of mine.
- Marigold ‘Lemon Gem’ by Generous Gardeners – Another favorite, fun, yellow-gold marigold for the garden or containers.
- Marigolds by Tracy Blevins – An easy to grow annual that can add a bright yellow-gold to your pots or garden beds.
- Helleborus x hybridus ‘Golden Sunrise’ by Tracy Blevins – A bright and sunny gold flower for the winter garden.
- Marigold Super Hero™ Spry by All-America Selections – An AAS Winner marigold with a very attractive flower that has a deep gold center.
- Iris – Galactic Gold by Lansdowne Farm – Many irises come in shades of yellow so it was hard to pick just one but this one caught my attention.
- Redbud ‘Hearts of Gold’ by Roxbury Farm & Garden Center – I love redbuds and this one not only has the beautiful flowers buy a very nice gold foliage as well.
- Pinus virginiana ‘Wate’s Golden’ by Bill Blevins – One of our favorites. The winter gold foliage is outstanding.
- Picea abies ‘Perry’s Gold’ by Bill Blevins – One of our favorite ‘gold’ conifers in our landscape. The new golden growth on the tips is striking.
- Silky Gold Milkweed by The Gardens at Heather Farm – A milkweed with unusual clusters of pure golden-yellow blooms.
- Portulaca ‘Sundial Gold’ by Generous Gardeners – Another sunny, gold-yellow annual that won’t disappoint.
- Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ by Keep North Charleston Beautiful – I can’t leave out the warm gold tones of Black-eyed Susans.
- Narcissus ‘Golden Ducat’ by Bill Blevins – A daffodil that will add a stunning deep yellow-golden burst of blooms in your spring garden.
Cover photo includes:
- Carex comans ‘Bronco’ by Bill Blevins on Plants Map
- Sambucus nigra ‘Pulverulenta’ by Bill Blevins
- Ligustrum sinense ‘Sunshine’ by Tracy Blevins