When Leaves Come First

There are few pleasures that gardeners look forward to more than the first flowers of spring. After the bloom fades, all that's left is the foliage. However, the foliage can come in an endless array of colors.

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By Janet Loughrey

Some of the most fascinating foliage is variegated, meaning it has two or more colors. Leaves can be splashed, splattered, veined, streaked, marbled, striped or mottled. Euphorbia characias 'Tasmanian Tiger' has thin, creamy margins; Agave 'Spot' has irregular splotches. Those with consistent patterning in each leaf are generally more highly prized, but some such as Houttuynia cordata 'Chamaeleon' display an uneven mix of colors.