There is something about chartreuse plants that makes them electric and at the same time a great companion for almost any color. Whether in sun or shade, chartreuse stands out.
What is chartreuse?
noun: char·treuse \shär-ˈtrüz, -ˈtrüs\
Definition of CHARTREUSE: a variable color averaging a brilliant yellow green
Ooh, a brilliant yellow green. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? This color is one that I am attracted to every time I see it. Especially in the shade, chartreuse plants just seem to glow. Look at how a chartreuse plant stands out compared to standard plants in the photo below.
After seeing some friends at a nursery the other day and learning about the color palette they are developing for their garden I started to think about the colors that I would choose if I had a color palette. I bounce around a lot ideas: chartreuse and orange, chartreuse and purple, chartreuse and white…
Seeing the beautiful Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ grass in a garden in Minnesota made my lust for this plant all over again. Unfortunately, it doesn’t thrive in the heat and humidity of Florida, but there are some other great alternatives.
Here are my favorite chartreuse plants for the South (and yes, this list is different from other parts of the country!).
Evercolor® ‘Everillo’ Carex from Southern Living Plant Collection is hard to beat and would probably be the best alternative for the Hakonechloa macra mentioned earlier. It is extremely cold tolerant and stays relatively small, about one foot tall, so it would make a stunning border.
‘Amate’® Soleil’ schefflera is a new color selection of the common Schefflera (Brassaia actinophylla) for Oglesby. It has these huge, chartreuse leaves that look beautiful up against a dark green background. ‘Soleil’ isn’t easy to find; I’ve had these plants from a trade show several years ago. These started in small 6″ containers and rooted directly into the soil, busting apart the plastic pot that was holding them back.
‘Wasabi’ coleus has really set the standard for chartreuse plants, and if you aren’t sure if this color is for you, go ahead and try some coleus for a season. This coleus will tolerate full sun, although some afternoon shade would probably be preferred. It will get big, so leave room for this to get 24″ wide and more than 36″ tall. This plant is now readily available and easy to find at box stores and garden centers.
‘Electric Lime’ coleus is a new, smaller version of chartreuse coleus. I’ve started seeing this at home improvement stores this year and couldn’t be happier! A little bit of shade will help keep the colors most intense, but it will grow in full sun. It stays less than 24″ tall so it plays well with other plants in containers or the garden.
‘Sunshine’ Ligustrum is not your regular ligustrum. Introduced by the Southern Living Plant Collection, it is very different from the ligustrum trees most people have; the small lime green leaves on this shrub are about the size of a dime. ‘Sunshine’ ligustrum stays small, forming a 3 foot tall shrub so it doesn’t require constant trimming. It has proven to be very cold tolerant and requires minimal water.
Rita’s Gold’ fern (Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Rita’s Gold’) is a Boston fern with chartreuse foliage. Slightly smaller than regular Boston ferns, this plant is tough. I’ve had this plant sitting in a pot with little to no irrigation for over three years.
Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ is a small philodendron with bright lime leaves. The newest leaves emerge the chartreuse color and gradually fade to green but this sets off the next set of bright leaves. ‘Moonlight’ does best in part to full shade with regular watering. I’ve had one sitting in its pot on the side of our house for almost two years and it looks absolutely smashing.
Do you have others that you think should be added to this list? Keep an eye on my Chartreuse Plants Pinterest board to see the others that get added!