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