Eleutherococcus sieboldianus “Variegatus,” commonly called variegated five-leaf aralia, should be planted in shady spots. (Richie Steffen)

Eleutherococcus sieboldianus “Variegatus,” commonly called variegated five-leaf aralia, should be planted in shady spots. (Richie Steffen)

Great Plant Pick: Eleutherococcus sieboldianus ‘Variegatus’

Variegated five-leaf aralia features a creamy white variegation that sparkles in the garden.

What: Eleutherococcus sieboldianus “Variegatus,” commonly called variegated five-leaf aralia, has pure, clear, creamy white variegation that make it sparkle in the garden. Its leaves are divided into five leaflets, attached like fingers in a hand and creating a fine-textured, airy effect. This deciduous shrub is extremely tough and hardy. It tolerates a wide range of growing conditions, including difficult city conditions, such as poor soils and heavy pollution. It can be sheared to make a colorful hedge. Short spines at each leaf bud along the stems add to the barrier protection of the hedge, but they are not large enough to be problematic during routine maintenance. It’s often listed and sold under its old name Acanthopanax sieboldianus “Variegatus.”

Where: Plant in shady spots where its bright foliage will shine. It looks good with black mondo grass and other plants with dark foliage.

Size: Left to grow freely, it forms a shrub to about 6 or 7 feet tall and about equal in spread.

Care: This tough and adaptable shrub will grow in light to deep shade in well-drained soils, although it will tolerate sandy or clay soils if they are not waterlogged. Once established it only needs occasional watering during the driest weather. If all-green leaves appear prune out the branch to keep the variegation uniform. This shrub responds well to pruning and can be kept as a rather dense bush. It is best to prune in winter or in early to mid-summer.

— Richie Steffen, Great Plant Picks

More in Life

Soft plastic recycling service expands to Snohomish County

A Seattle-based company that recycles plastic film, batteries and lightbulbs now offers its services here.

Watch big birds hit the potato jackpot in Skagit Valley fields

Farmers’ loss is trumpeter swans’ and snow geese’s gain, as the migratory birds feast on spuds left in the ground.

The Roller Barn has been an important part of Oak Harbor for generations.
Can the 107-year-old Roller Barn on Whidbey Island be saved?

A Whidbey Island businessman wants to raise $80,000 by March 31 to buy Oak Harbor’s iconic building.

Rick Steves chooses leisurely Lucca for a true Italian experience

A leisurely evening stroll along the ancient town’s walls is one of the best travel experiences.

Dr. Paul on 5 ways to ensure your marriage blooms and grows

Showing up for our loved ones in the ways that are important is the secret for a loving union.

Take your pick from thousands of bare-root roses this season

When planting roses in the garden, get them watered-in right away and add some transplant fertilizer.

Hire a home energy efficiency contractor without getting burned

Here are four things to remember when you hire out to install a heat pump or window replacement.

Great Plant Pick: Pulmonaria ‘Benediction,’ aka lungwort

Plant this mounding perennial — featuring navy-blue flowers — with foilage plants like ferns and hostas.

Drink This: He quit making cider — now he’s back at it on Camano

Corey Haugen, former owner of Grizzly Ciderworks, which closed shop in 2017, has a new cidery business.

Most Read