Liriodendron tulipifera “Aureomarginatum,” the varigated tulip tree, is among the most elegant of variegated trees. (Richie Steffen/Great Plant Picks)

Liriodendron tulipifera “Aureomarginatum,” the varigated tulip tree, is among the most elegant of variegated trees. (Richie Steffen/Great Plant Picks)

Great Plant Pick: Liriodendron tulipifera, variegated tulip tree

What: Liriodendron tulipifera, or tulip tree, is the queen of the eastern North American woodland and the tallest-growing deciduous tree in North America. Its leaves are distinctively shaped, somewhat like a tulip in outline. In June, this majestic tree produces lime-green, tulip-shaped flowers marked with a tangerine chevron at the base. The flowers are large, but sometimes hard to see, as they are nestled among the green leaves. “Aureomarginatum,” the tulip tree’s variegated cultivar, is among the most elegant of variegated trees. The unusually shaped leaves emerge bright, creamy white with a splash of fresh green in the center. The color softens in summer to dark green and chartreuse.

Size: The variegated tulip tree grows to 70 feet tall and 30 feet wide when mature.

Where: Tulip trees prefer a location in full sun to light or open shade. They will grow well in moist to well-drained soil, but will tolerate sandy sites and clay. They also tolerate areas that have standing water periodically in the winter. Little pruning is needed to maintain the form. Remove dead and broken branched or poorly formed limbs. Provide ample space for these fast growing trees.

Water: Once established, they are drought tolerant.

— Richie Steffen, Great Plant Picks

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