When it comes to colour in the garden, we often think of flowers, but many plants have colourful foliage. Some have leaves that range from pale, buttery yellow to deep gold, or are variegated, with splashes or edges of gold.

Plants that have yellow or golden leaves can add a dash of sunshine to a shady spot, or a border with lots of evergreen foliage. They also contrast well with plants that have dark, bronze or burgundy foliage and can make interesting focal points.

Browse our plant database for plants with golden foliage.

Here are some of our favourite plants with golden leaves.

Hosta 'Orange Marmalade'

Shade-loving hostas are grown for their beautiful foliage, which is often variegated in a range of colours, from white to cream and gold. The leaves of Hosta 'Orange Marmalade' are yellow, edged with green, and contrast nicely with the purple flowers that appear in July to August.

Hosta 'Orange Marmelade'
Golden and green-edged, heart-shaped hosta leaves

Cotinus coggygria 'Golden Spirit'

Cotinus coggygria 'Golden Spirit' is a golden-leaved smoke bush. It's a striking shrub that looks good next to bronze-leaved plants. The foliage is tinted with red when young, and is complemented by smoky yellow flowers in June and July. In autumn, the leaves turn fiery shades of red and orange.

Cotinus coggygria 'Golden Spirit'
Round, golden-green leaves of the smoke bush 'Golden Spirit'

Golden hop

The golden hop, Humulus lupulus 'Aureus' is a gold-leaved version of the fast-climbing perennial hop. It's ideal for covering an arch or pergola; cut it back hard every spring to promote new growth. Grow in a sunny spot.

Humulus lupulus 'Aureus'
Serrated-edged, golden leaves of the golden hop

Choisya ternata 'Sundance'

Choisya ternata 'Sundance' is a dome-shaped shrub with bright yellow-green, glossy evergreen foliage. When crushed, the leaves have a distinctive, basil-like fragrance. In late spring, it bears fragrant white flowers. When crushed, the leaves have a distinctive smell, which reminds many gardeners of basil.

Choisya ternata 'Sundance'
Glossy, yellow-green foliage of shrub Choisya ternata 'Sundance'

Abelia x grandiflora 'Goldsport'

Abelia x grandiflora 'Goldsport' is a semi-evergreen shrub with golden-green variegated foliage. This abelia bears soft pink, delicately fragrant flowers from midsummer to autumn, which are extremely attractive to bumblebees. It has an arching habit and would be a good choice for a mixed or shrub border.

Abelia x grandiflora 'Goldsport'
Pink flowers and golden-green foliage of Abelia x grandiflora 'Goldsport'

Thymus pulegioides 'Bertram Anderson'

Thymus pulegioides 'Bertram Anderson' is a decorative thyme, forming a neat mound of golden leaves. It's a particularly good choice for edging a path and can be planted en masse to make an alternative fragrant lawn.

Thymus pulegioides 'Bertram Anderson'
Golden thyme 'Bertram Anderson'

Euonymus fortunei 'Emerald 'n' Gold'

Euonymous fortunei 'Emerald n Gold' has bright-golden, variegated leaves which turn an attractive pinkish-red in cold weather. Evergreen, it’s a good choice for adding winter interest or for brightening a partially shaded spot.

Euonymus fortunei 'Emerald n Gold'
Variegated pale-gold and green leaves of Euonymus fortunei 'Emerald 'n' Gold'

Jasmine officinale 'Sunbeam'

Jasminum officiale ‘Sunbeam’ is a new variety that has golden, fern-like leaves. They are at their brightest in full sun and more of a lime yellow in partial shade. The fragrant white flowers are tinged with white from June to August. It's ideal for covering a large south or west-facing wall.

Jasminum officinale 'Sunbeam'
Lime foliage of jasmine 'Sunbeam'