Actinidia kolomikta

It looks as though the gardeners in Alice in Wonderland who painted the roses had passed by and splashed the green leaves of this sensational climber with pink and white paint. They have an artistic and erratic variegation of three colours which I have seen in no other plant.

It is a deciduous shrub growing up to 12 feet (3.6 m) or more, with all the interest in the foliage. The large leaves, up to 6 inches (15 cm) long, are heart-shaped and pointed, and unfold in late spring with some of the tips stark white and some peppermint pink, the colours painted in straight blocks, not melting softly into oneanother. The leaves do not variegate until the plant is several years old. There are inconspicuous but faintly scented white flowers in early summer.

If it is to variegate, the plant must have full sun and does best on a south or west wall, and needs some support. Though tolerant of a little lime, it will grow more quickly in a neutral loam. It is a bushy plant, with branches to the ground, and does not call for underplanting, though pink and white double Chinese peonies would look wonderful nearby.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.