Do your bean leaves look like they’ve sprouted freckles or gotten the measles? It’s probably bean rust caused by the fungus Uromyces appendiculatus.  Spots appear raised on both the upper and lower leaf surfaces and may have yellow borders.  As disease progresses, leaves may brown and fall from the plant.  Of course, this can impact crop production.  Bean pods may also become infected, further affecting harvest quality.

The rust fungi have interesting life cycles that can involve two unrelated hosts and up to five different spore types. In the case of bean rust, there is only one host, making this an autoecious rust, but all five spore types occur.  The fungus overwinters in the thick-walled teliospore stage associated with infected plant debris.  In the photo below, the darker spores are teliospores (first spore type).

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Thick walled teliospores (darker) are the overwintering spore stage. The lighter colored spores without stems are urediniospores that are produced throughout the growing season. J. Allen, UConn

In the spring, coinciding with favorable weather and the time when young bean plants would be susceptible, the teliospores germinate and produce basidiospores (spore type 2) that initiate infections on bean leaves (and sometimes stems).  As this infection progresses within the leaf, tiny structures called pycnia containing pycniospores (spore type 3) are produced on the leaf surface.  Pycniospores are extruded in a sweet liquid attractive to some insects.  When the insects feed on the liquid, they pick some up on their external body parts and move the pycniospores from one pycnium to another.  When pycniospores of one mating type are introduced into a pycnium of the opposite mating type, it leads to the production of the fourth spore type, the aeciospore, on the opposite (lower) side of the leaf.  The aeciospores in turn infect the leaf and this infection leads to the production of new pustules containing urediniospores (fifth spore type), the orange or rust colored spores that give this disease and other rust diseases their common name. Urediniospores are produced throughout the growing season and, under favorable conditions (moist), can cause additional infections.  Late in the season, the thick-walled teliospores are produced in the same pustules as the urediniospores as cooler weather approaches, completing the fungus’ life cycle.

In my garden, rust occurred on the pole beans but not on the bush beans. This is not surprising because many bean cultivars have resistance to at least some of the many strains of the bean rust fungus.  Control measures include thorough removal of infected plant debris (don’t compost), resistant varieties, and minimizing leaf wetness by providing for ample plant spacing and avoiding overhead irrigation.  Spores require moisture to germinate and cause new infections.  To minimize spread, avoid working among the plants when they are wet.  Fungicides labeled for bean rust are available and, if needed, should be applied beginning when symptoms first appear and at the interval recommended on the label.  When using pesticides, always read and follow the label carefully.

As a quick side note, I found two-spotted spider mites on my beans, too. Not only that, but the larvae of a beneficial predator of the spider mites, the midge Feltiella acarisuga was noted as shown in the below photos.

Symptoms of spider mite infestation include a ‘stippling’ effect on the leaves from many tiny spots at the mites’ feeding sites, and especially on the lower leaf surfaces, and signs include webbing, mites and eggs.  These mites are favored by hot, dry conditions so this summer was great for them.  They are often kept in check by naturally occurring parasites and predators that can be eliminated by the use of insecticides/miticides resulting in a more severe mite outbreak following application.

J. Allen, Assistant Extension Educator

Late summer through early fall is a favorite time of year for many northeast gardeners, including myself. Much of the vegetable harvest has been collected, asters and goldenrods dot the fields and byways, and moonflowers and morning glories are at their peak.

Morning glory is the common name for a large number of flowering plants in the Convolvulaceae family. In the northeast we grow several species as beautiful cultivated annuals. Most members of the morning glory family are from the warmer regions of the world and are killed by frost. Of course the one species that is hardy, bindweed, is an invasive weed and is very difficult to eradicate.

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Lovely to look at but difficult to eradicate. Bindweed from http://extension.oregonstate.edu

Probably the most well-known morning glory is Ipomoea tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue’. I have never seen a more perfect blue flower. It is that same azure blue that one sees looking up to the sky on a sunny, clear September day. The sky blue blossoms have a creamy white center and reach up to 5 inches across. The attractive, heart-shaped leaves are occasionally nibbled on by tortoise beetles but otherwise are pretty much left alone.

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Heavenly Blue morning glory from http://www.burpee.com

‘Heavenly Blue’ was my standard for a number of years until I was introduced to ‘Blue Star’ by a fellow garden club member. This cultivar also has large flowers but they are a dreamy pale blue with a darker blue star on the interior of the blossom. Quite striking and a bit different. Last year I planted pale yellow snapdragons and white sweet alyssum at its feet for a rewarding show from midsummer until the morning glories were hit by a frost.

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Blue Star morning glory by dmp.

I thought I had picked up a ‘Heavenly Blue’ morning glory plant last June at a plant sale. It was a seedling with only the cotyledon leaves unfurled and a tag that said blue morning glory. So it was planted next to the pergola, watered and to be honest, forgotten about. When I finally got back to that bed to do some weeding and mulching, I noticed the morning glory had 3-lobed not heart-shaped leaves and smaller bluish flowers. The stems were hairy and the plants stopped blooming in August. Maybe they would have continued if they were watered more regularly. It looks like this plant is the ivy-leaved morning glory, I. hederacea. I saved some seeds and will probably grow it next year.

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lvy leaf morning glory with seed pods by dmp

In a large container filled with the scarlet and gold gloriosa lilies I always plant a few saved seeds of the cypress vine, I. quamoclit, for the hummingbirds. These plants quickly germinate and scramble up the obelisk. By the end of the summer they are clambering up the drainpipe and heading for the roof. Bright red tubular flowers are pentagonal in shape when viewed from the front. The leaves are finely dissected.

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I. qumoclit Cypress vine by dmp

Another favorite morning glory which I did not get around to planting this year is the moon flower, I. alba. While morning glories open during the day and close with the setting sun, moon flowers do just the opposite. Huge white fragrant flowers unfold as the sky dims. They stay open all night to be pollinated by moths and close as the sun arises. Flowering is brought on by a summer short day photoperiod which means that there are approximately 12 hours of light and darkness each day which is from late summer into early fall, in other words  right now. Someone the next town over planted a picket fence thick with moon flowers and I purposely drive by it as often as I can. The moon flower is also an heirloom plant. The buds open over the course of several minutes so you can just stand there and watch this amazing show.

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Moon flowers by dmp.

We don’t often think of vegetables being related to flowers but sweet potatoes are also in the genus Ipomoea. I tried growing sweet potatoes a number of times. At first, it was a fairly successful endeavor and then, the voles found the plants. Last time I tried, I only got a small basketful of unchewed roots. The voles have not bothered the sweet potato vines that are sold and grown as foliage plants. (This could be because I keep them in containers off the ground!)

Sweet potato vines do not climb but just tend to cascade or sprawl so are a great choice for containers or hanging baskets. The colors of this foliage plant are great for pairing up with either contrasting or complementary plantings. The dark purple leaves of ‘Blackie’ look fantastic with coral verbena and silver dusty miller. Chartreuse ‘Margarita’ mixes it up nicely with blue salvia and yellow marguerites and green, pink and cream ‘Tricolor’ looks great with pink petunias.

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Chartreuse, dark purple and tricolor sweet potato vines by dmp

Except for sweet potato vines which are typically purchased as plants, the other morning glories mentioned are all grown from seed. The seeds are poisonous and have a hard seed coat. While I have seen some sources suggest nicking the seed before planting, I find it is easier to just soak them overnight (or if you forget – for two nights) and then plant them. The seeds need warm soil temperatures to germinate so they do not usually get planted in New England until around Memorial Day weekend. Since many species and cultivars need 75 to 110 growing days before they blossom, you might want to start the seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before you can set them out.

If you do decide to start seeds indoors, give the seedlings something to grasp hold of. Morning glories have a curious way of climbing. This is a great video of young vines twisting and reaching out for that strong support: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTljaIVseTc

This type of response when the vine encounters something it can wrap its stem around and then proceeds to do so, is called thigmotropism. It is movement of a plant in the direction of touch. The plant ‘feels’ an object in its path that it can use for support and the rubbing against this object causes the stem to curl around it. Whether the vine goes right to left or left to right seems to be predetermined by its genes.

Because morning glory flowers only last a day, the Victorians felt it symbolized love and affection as well as mortality. In modern times, the morning glory represents the eleventh year of marriage and the month of September – how appropriate.

Good gardening to you!

Dawn P.

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Japanese Knotweed is a beautiful plant when in full, white flower stage. Too bad it is such a thug and invasive. It also makes a nice hedge, but quickly overtakes the properties if used as a boundary plant. Colonies can be seen just about everywhere along roadsides, in meadows and yards as it spreads so freely.

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Japanese knotweed is also known as Japanese bamboo, American and Mexican Bamboo due to its hollow stems with nodes on them. The plant is known by three different Latin names of Fallopia japonica and Polygonum cuspidatum Siebold & Zucc.  And Reynoutria japonica Houtt, but it all the same plant. No matter what you call it, it is aggressive, invasive and extremely hard to kill once established.

The plant was brought to the United States during the 1890’s from Asia as a solution to erosion. It will grow in just about any situation from full sun to complete shade, rich or lean soils, and dry or soggy soils. It tends to make a colony of plants, out-competing any and all other plants resulting in a monoculture. Since it evolved on another continent, it has no native predators, insect or animal that eats it enough to control its spread.

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It reproduces vegetatively. If digging it out, any tiny piece of root left in the ground will quickly send up a shoot to get reestablished.  Control measures are difficult. Heavy machinery can dig out large infestations and monitor for a new sprouts to pull or treat with herbicides. Herbicides which contain Glyphosate or Triclopyr are the most successful and should be used before the plants flower or sprayed on cut stems. It has been reported that monthly mowing for five years will finally eradicate a large area.

 

-Carol Quish

What’s a butterfly garden without butterflies?  Roy Rogers

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Tiger swallowtail visits a butterfly bush

 

Planting a butterfly garden is a hopeful enterprise which often has its rewards in the future and not in the same year of the planting. Typically, a couple of years is needed to provide abundant blooms and the subsequent attracting of butterflies. In my experience, the best butterfly gardens are those that include, as much as possible, the host plants that visiting butterflies will use for laying eggs for their caterpillars. Try planting a few blueberry bushes as several hairstreak butterflies us this as a host plant.

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Striped hairstreak on common milkweed. Host plants for caterpillars include blueberry and oaks

When butterflies start to visit the garden, try to identify them and see if they may be laying eggs on already existing plants (like oaks and cherry, for instance, if tiger swallowtails are present). Having nectar sources nearby  the host plants for the caterpillars is a strong factor in what attracts butterflies to an area. So I say, if you plant it, they will come. Maybe. Sometime. They have to find it, so it can take time. If they are already passing through and laying eggs on suitable host plants, then nectar will keep their offspring coming back  to do the same.

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Black swallowtail caterpillar with egg just underneath the leaf- Cohen pollinator and butterfly garden in Colchester

I have planted a native willow for Mourning Cloaks that come through the property every year. A sassafras that appeared several years ago has now become a regular host plant for the spicebush swallowtails that visit the garden for nectar. When you see any butterflies, egg laying should shortly follow, if it has not already taken place. This is why host plants in the vicinity of nectar sources is so important when planning a butterfly garden.A lone tiger swallowtail visited my garden late this spring and three weeks later I found its tiny caterpillar on a small black cherry sapling I had transplanted earlier that spring. It was barely in the ground and already had become a host plant.

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The Cohen Woodlands Butterfly-Pollinator Garden in Colchester. Parsley in the foreground attracts black swallowtail females.

 

Three of the best butterfly gardens I have been to this year are the one at the Tolland County Agricultural Center in Vernon, the Cohen-Woodlands pollinator- butterfly garden in Colchester, and the Fletcher Library Garden in Hampton. The one thing all these gardens have in common is a good selection of three season nectar sources and nearby host plants. Four monarch caterpillars were on the butterfly weed in the Fletcher Library just two weeks ago, and one was on milkweed in the Cohen garden on September 5th. That is great news for the Monarchs which have suffered from devastating population declines in recent years.

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Monarch caterpillar on milkweed at the Cohen Woodlands butterfly- pollinator garden

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This Monarch caterpillar just left its butterfly weed host plant in search of a suitable spot to pupate at the Fletcher Library garden in Hampton

Plant parsley, fennel or dill if black swallowtails visit a garden. Small cherry and spicebush attract tiger swallowtails and spicebush swallowtails, respectively. Viceroys will lay eggs on willow and poplar and red- spotted purples lay eggs on cherry. Skippers for the most part prefer grasses for their larva, but the silver- spotted skipper, a frequent visitor to any garden, likes legumes. Pearl crescents like asters, and these flowers are visited by many migrating butterflies as most other nectar sources are going by in late summer.

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Wild Indigo Duskywing on Salvia. Plant Baptisia for its caterpillars.

A must plant for pollinators, butterflies and hummingbirds is Caryoptersis, also known as bluebeard. This perennial blooms from late- summer until fall. Lantana is a terrific annual for all butterflies, providing blooms until frost. Combined with asters, these plants are ideal nectar sources for fall migrators. Goldenrods, spotted Joe-pye, liatris, zinnias, obedient plant, alliums, butterfly bush, milkweeds, obedient plant and veronicas are also good selections for butterfly gardens. And there are so many more.

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Silver-spotted skipper on bluebeard

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Tiger Swallowtail on obedient plant, a favorite of butterflies, bees and hummingbirds

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Spicebush swallowtail nectaring on a pink Coreopsis. Sassafras nearby is a host for the caterpillars.

Annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs should all be under consideration when deciding what to plant for butterflies. My garden has been redesigned for birds, butterflies, pollinators and, just a little bit, for me. Although, I guess, it really is mostly for me because of the enjoyment I get watching these little visitors getting some use from the plants that were selected with them in mind in the first place. Of course, woodchucks were not in the equation (as squirrels were not either when putting out the BIRD feeder) …

Pamm Cooper                              All photos copyright 2016 by Pamm Cooper

 

This summer has been, as they say, one for the books. High temperatures that went on for weeks and limited rainfall certainly did a number on our gardens, containers, and flower beds. Many calls to the Home & Garden Education Center were from gardeners bemoaning the sad state of affairs. Plants were stunted, didn’t set flowers or dropped them early when they did, leaves were scorched looking, and in general plants just performed poorly.

What a relief when the temps dropped into the 80s and rain actually fell in measurable quantities. Plants rebounded, lawns revived, and gardens began to produce once again. My window boxes and some hanging containers did not quite survive though and I refilled most of them this week with some beautiful flowering vinca and a plant that is new to me, evolvulus, a member of the morning glory family that produces tiny, bright blue flowers that last just a day.

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The squash plants that I thought were done for have now taken over their areas and are producing copious blossoms and fruit. I am happy to see that the Powdery mildew resistant variety (Success PM) has proven its worth as there are very few signs of the disease.

The squash bugs however have yet to give up the fight. There are still egg masses every few days and the odd grouping of nymphs that I am not sorry to say do not last long once I have spotted them.

The cucumbers and the eggplants are loaded with blossoms and have started bearing fruit. The tomatoes, which hadn’t suffered as much as some of the other plants, have been slow to ripen but they can continue to produce into October if they are covered at night.

I had moved some potted basil plants into a shady area a few weeks back and they have shown their appreciation by filling out nicely. I detect pesto in our near future! A second planting of arugula looks great as does the kale.

 

 

And we are not the only ones that are enjoying the kale. This differential grasshopper was munching away happily, not even caring that I was filming him. This species of grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis) has been known to do some substantial damage to crops such as grains, hay, and alfalfa, especially during hot, dry periods which increase the likelihood of survival of the nymphs and adults. They will also feed on annuals such as sunflowers and perennials including one of their favorites: ragweed. Maybe they are not all bad. They don’t cause enough damage in a home garden to warrant insecticidal control.

 

A striped cucumber beetle (Acalymma vittatum) was also enjoying the kale even though the cucumber plants were not far away. The adult feeds on the foliage and the larvae feed on the roots but the biggest problem that they bring with them is the bacterial wilt known as Erwinia tracheiphila which can be fatal to cucurbits. The feeding of the adult beetle opens wounds in the plant but it is through the frass (excrement) that the bacteria enter the vascular tissues of the plant. As the bacteria multiply they block the xylem and prevent water and nutrients from reaching the shoots and leaves. The striped cucumber beetle is definitely a bigger concern than the grasshopper or squash bugs as they move so quickly that it is hard to just squish them out of existence like I do with the squash bug nymphs.

Striped cucmber beetle

Over on the asparagus fern a red milkweed beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus) stood out brightly against the delicate ferns. As with other insects that also feed on milkweed the red milkweed beetle accumulates alkaloid toxins in their flesh that protect it from predators. The black spots against that bright red-orange background are the insect equivalent of a large ‘Do Not Eat” sign. These can be picked off and dropped into a container of soapy water. Don’t use a spray or systemic insecticide on the milkweed as it will harm the beneficial insects that also visit, especially the Monarch butterfly.

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The Asian lady beetle has that same bright coloring and also uses a defensive chemical to deter predators. Some humans are allergic to this foul-smelling liquid that can be exuded from their legs. But this one was very busy doing what ‘ladybugs’ do best, munching on some aphids that were on the underside of a squash leaf.

 

The lady beetles may start to congregate both inside and outside of houses and can be a nuisance. Visit our fact sheet for information on the Asian lady beetle if you experience an infestation and consider the non-lethal ways to remove them, keeping in mind how beneficial they will be in next year’s garden. Although the nighttime temperatures can start to dip into the 50s as we progress into September the garden will enjoy the still warm days into October.

Susan Pelton

All images and videos by S. Pelton

 

 

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) is a beautiful native wildflower and a popular perennial garden plant.  Many different cultivars are available for gardeners.  While these flowering plants are hardy and do well in gardens, providing a reliable showy display of color by mid summer, there are a few pest and disease problems that can affect them. Two of these, one a disease and one an insect, can cause similar symptoms to appear during mid summer.  If the upper surfaces of the leaves develop small to large, angular shaped brown or purple lesions, the problem could be Rudbeckia downy mildew or Rudbeckia psyllid.

If the problem is downy mildew caused by the water mold pathogen Plasmopara halstedii, the lesions will tend to be more brown but can have a purplish color too.

To confirm downy mildew, flip the leaf over and look for sporulation of the pathogen on the lower leaf surface.   Whitish sporulation will be visible between the veins directly below the lesions that are present on the upper leaf surface, especially during or following wet or humid weather.

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Rudbeckia downy mildew sporulation. Photo by Joan Allen, UConn.

These spores can be rain splashed or wind-borne to new infection sites.  A film of water must be present on the leaf for the spores to germinate so keeping the leaves as dry as possible will help minimize disease.  This can be accomplished in a couple of ways.  First, avoid the use of overhead irrigation if possible.  If that’s your preferred method of watering, the best timing is afternoon for this problem. Studies have shown that the greatest spore germination activity for this pathogen occurs during the morning.   Also, space plants to allow for good air circulation that will hasten drying after a rain or dew formation.

Other control practices include sanitation and, if necessary, the use of fungicides.  Sanitation involves the thorough removal of plant debris from infected plants because that’s where the pathogen will be planning to overwinter.  If there is a summer with frequent periods of wet weather favorable for disease, and you’ve had a previous problem with downy mildew, protective/preventive fungicides may be a good choice.  There are a variety of products available including biological controls.  Biological control products may have active ingredients such as the bacteria Bacillus subtilis or Streptomyces lydicus.  Other options include potassium bicarbonate and copper products.  Always look for the plant type and downy mildews on the product label and apply as directed.

The Rudbeckia psyllid (Bactericera antennata) has a nymph stage whose feeding on the undersides of the leaves causes striking purple lesions on the leaf as well as purple discoloration of the veins, most notable on the lower leaf surfaces.  The nymph is also quite striking in appearance when viewed with magnification as it is multi-colored and fringed with hairs.

The adult psyllid is a very tiny insect that holds its wings over its back like a cicada.  References say either that the adult overwinters in protected spots like crevices or leaf litter or that the overwintering stage is not yet confirmed.  In a Michigan report of this insect on hibiscus, it stated that there was probably one generation per year so that would likely be similar here in Connecticut.  There is a tiny wasp that parasitizes the nymph stage and this is what happened when you find a nymph that looks like this:

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Parasitized nymph by Joan Allen, UConn.

Products including Neem, insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils will control this pest.  Thorough coverage is important for success.  These products are kinder to beneficial insects that will eat or parasitize the psyllids.  Other reported host plants besides Rudbeckia are Echinacea and Hibiscus.

I hope your Rudbeckias are looking great and have no problems, but if they have a bit of discoloration on the leaves, look for evidence of these two culprits on the lower leaf surfaces.

Joan Allen

 

 

 

With the 2016 Summer Olympics comes the quest for gold. We may not all be athletes (at least of Olympian stature) but that does not mean we cannot enjoy the excitement and warmth of gold right in our own yards. Gold-leaved plants are in a category all by themselves. They are able to make our gardens shine especially in partially shaded areas where that touch of gold just illuminates a dark corner or monotonous stretch of green.

When considering that point of light to add to your gardens, keep in mind that gold coloration can be anywhere in the range from chartreuse to a deep gold. If you are searching for a certain hue, check out the plant at local nurseries before purchasing it and adding it to one of your gardens. While a hedge of the same golden leaved plant can be quite effective in some landscapes, keep in mind that gold foliaged plants are most useful as a focal point in the garden. Overuse may lessen their impact and even be a bit distracting.

While I see it time and time again, I really do not like any of the gold shades combined with pink but I think they look striking combined with purple or blue or even with fiery shades of orange and red. I also do not like golds with pure whites but with more vanilla colored blossoms like aruncus or filipendulas or white Japanese burnet (sanguisorba) or even those vanilla ‘white’ marigolds.

Azalea, vinca and cypress

Personally I find the combination of the light pink azalea and gold thread cypress not that appealing.

As a general rule of thumb, many plants with bright yellow or gold foliage have a tendency to fade to a more green color when exposed to hot, mid-day to late day sun. When planting these gold-foliaged selections in an all-day sunny site, look for varieties that claim they do not scorch.

Some of UConn’s Ornamental Horticulture Professors weighed in on their favorite gold-leaved plants. Dr. Jessica Lubell votes for Sumac ‘Tiger Eyes’ (Rhus typhina ‘Bailtiger’ Tiger Eyes). This 6 foot tall shrub has pinnate compound leaves that start out as chartreuse in the spring then mature to a clear yellow. ‘Tiger Eyes’ has notable fall foliage coloration as well adding in scarlet and orange tones. The plants has purplish fuzzy stems that contrast nicely with the lacy yellow foliage. Plant in full sun for best color and be aware that although slowly, it does spread by suckers.

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Rhus typina ‘Tiger Eyes’ from http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org

A favorite of Dr. Julia Kuzovkina is the golden pussy willow (Salix caprea), ‘Ogon’. The word ‘ogon’ means yellow or gold in Japanese so you can guess that this plant is from Asia. This plant grows as a small tree or large shrub. Soft catkins are followed by bright yellowish gold leaves that do become greener in color as the season progresses. It tolerates average to moist soils and should be cut back regularly to stimulate new shoots which have the best yellow color.

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Golden Pussy Willow. Photo by http://www.brokenarrownursery.com

Another plant, also called ‘Ogon’, rates high with Dr. Mark Brand. His choice for a gold accent in your garden is a spirea (Spirea thunbergii ‘Ogon’). This compact shrub grows about 3 to 5 feet high and wide. If it becomes a bit sprawly, cut it down to about 6 inches in early spring and it will grow back more compact. In the spring it is covered with small white blossoms attractive to butterflies. The foliage remains attractive into the fall and it tolerates full sun.

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‘Ogon’ spirea. Photo from http://www.ag.tennessee.edu

Two other species of shrubs that are better planted in a part shaded area to retain their attractive golden foliage are ‘Golden Glow’ dogwood (Cornus hesseyii) and ‘Little Honey’ oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia). Both are relatively small shrubs being 4 foot high and wide or less and both have white flowers. The dogwood has red twigs which also add some winter interest to the garden.

When it comes to listing my favorite golden leaved plant, I am torn between the many wonderful cultivars of coleus with leaves ranging from clear gold to lemon yellow to chartreuse to the soft, billowy, waterfall blades of Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra).

Coleus, of course, are annuals in our climate but they can be used so effectively in containers and in garden beds. I like ‘Spiced Curry’ with its striking gold and maroon leaves and chartreuse ‘Wasabi’ the best but many local garden centers have other intriguing cultivars as well.

Japanese forest grass is just perfect for a gold flowing plant to put a spotlight in shaded areas. It does best in at least part shade and gets about one and a half feet tall and wide. Clumps spread very slowly and it is quite drought tolerant when established.

Blk Mondo Grass & Hakone grass Elm Bank

Japanese forest grass and black mondo grass. Photo by DMP

There are so many more golden foliage plants out there from trees to shrubs, vines to groundcovers, and annuals to perennials. Check out ‘Sweet Kate’ spiderwort, caryopteris ‘Sunshine Blue’ and the chartreuse sweet potato vine. There are too many gold leaved hostas to name but look for the 2016 hosta of the year, ‘Curly Fries’ at your local garden center. Think about where that bright spot might just liven up a dull planting and consider how gold can be a winning strategy in your garden. And feel free to share your favorite gold leaved plant with us.

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‘Curly Fries’ 2016 Hosta of the Year. Photo from Walters Gardens

Dawn P.