Make a Vivid Garden Statement with ‘Sunshine’ Ligustrum

By Susan Morrison

As its name cheerfully announces, 'Sunshine' Ligustrum has bright yellow foliage that provides dramatic contrast to green, blue or burgundy-foliaged plants. For an evergreen garden bed that pops year-round, pair it with Beach Ball™ Pittosporum, and burgundy Design-A-Line™ Cordyline, whose red strappy leaves add exciting textural contrast as well. 

Photographs of 'Sunshine' Ligustrum usually show a fairly uniform shade of neon yellow. Whereas this is accurate when planted in full sun, the plant exhibits a show-stealing, multi-colored appearance when planted in part shade. The branches that face the sun will maintain their bright golden hue, while those more shaded will exhibit a medium green color. Although the official description does not list this as a shade plant, I have found it can handle a fair amount, however, leaves will gradually fade to a soft green. 

While its brightly colored, evergreen foliage is enough to make it a garden workhorse, its naturally tight, upright shape are what bump it up to superstar status. 'Sunshine' Ligustrum ultimately reaches a tidy 4- to 6-feet tall and 3- to 4-feet wide, maintaining its form with virtually no pruning. Three years after planting mine, I have yet to cut even one rogue branch. This makes it a fantastic alternative to more labor-intensive plants, such as container topiaries—it provides the same elegant structure, with the added bonus of stand-out foliage color and minimal maintenance. Planted in the garden it performs a similar function, as its delicate leaves and tight habit help balance the messier exuberance of nearby flowering shrubs and perennials. 

'Sunshine' Ligustrum is hearty to Sunset zones 4-24 and USDA zones 6-10. While this easy-care plant requires moderate water in full sun, I have found that in part shade it thrives when deep-watered with drip once a week, making it an adaptable addition to a water-wise planting plan. As with many low-water plants, ensuring good drainage is key; if your garden is filled with the heavy clay soil so common in the west, amend to improve drainage when planting, and side dress with compost annually. 

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Learn how to care for your plants, Get project ideas and new variety alerts in your inbox!

Subscription Form

Your zip code 20878 is located in Zone: 7a with a temperature range of: 0 to 5 °F.

Share to...