Yellow ground covers, flowers and shrubs are a wonderful way to brighten your landscape. Yellow is the most visible color of all the colors; it is the first color that the human eye notices.
Yellow flowers and plants are like rays of sunshine and come in many sizes and shades, ranging from pale yellow to golden yellow. There are annuals and perennials to be found.
Some of my favorites that are easy to care for and maintain their color for a long period of time are discussed below.
Golden Moneywort, also called Creeping Jenny, is a versatile low-growing ground cover that can be planted in spring, summer and fall. It grows to a height of 2-4 inches and one plant will spread 18 inches or more. In the spring it will have yellow blooms as well as lush colorful foliage. It needs to be kept watered and will not do well in dry soil. It grows well in light or partial shade and is perfect for shady, moist sites. Moneywort requires little care but may need to be trimmed back occasionally so that it does not outgrow its borders. You might need to mulch moneywort when you plant it, but it will grow into a solid mat that will keep most weeds out.
Another low-growing lush ground cover that will retain its color year-round is Angelina Sedum. Color will vary according to the season of the year turning from green to yellow-green or coppery-yellow in the winter. It does well in full sun and grows to a height of about 6 inches. It has yellow flowers in the summer. It makes a great ground cover or edging plant. It will spread but is easily controlled.
An annual flowering plant that is low-growing and bright yellow is Mecardonia. “Magic Carpet” is one variety and Proven Winners has a Mecardonia called “GoldDust.” Both are beautiful and can be found in local garden centers and nurseries. Mecardonia is a low, spreading herbaceous plant that grows only a few inches tall. The stems root where they touch the ground and will trail over the edge of a pot. Leaves are small and bright green. The flowers are small but are bright yellow and produce abundantly throughout the growing season. Reportedly, it does not set seeds. Grow it in a reasonably moist, well-drained soil in full sun to part sun.
It is reported to be cold hardy to 20 degrees F, making it a perennial in zone 9a; however, it has lived in my garden in Zone 7 for 3 years and has come back after temperatures as low as 10 degrees in the winter. When it dies back in the winter it turns black and wiry looking which could be considered winter interest. It has a height of 2-5 inches, does not require deadheading and has excellent heat tolerance. It will usually bloom non-stop from May through November.
There are more than 60 varieties of yellow day lilies. “Happy Returns” has been referred to as lemon yellow, canary yellow or a soft yellow. With a name like “Happy Returns” it is hard to resist. There are other larger bright yellow day lilies that also do well in the Oklahoma heat. “Stella D’Oro” is a popular gold reblooming day lily.
The esperanza plant is also known as yellow bells, hardy yellow trumpet, or yellow alder. Regardless of what you call it, the tropical native is easily recognized by its large masses of lightly-scented, golden-yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers and dark green foliage. It grows to a height of 3-4 feet and a spread of 3-4 feet. It thrives in full sun and likes fertile, moist soil that is well-drained. It will need to be kept watered during dry spells in order to keep blooming. It can be used in borders and mixed beds and looks good when planted with similar flowers such as lantana, butterfly weed and goldenrod.
Cool-season plants such as pansies and snap dragons are annual fall favorites. If planted in late September or October, they will bloom in the fall, winter and early spring. They range in height from 6 to 12 inches. Nothing is more cheerful in the winter than a container of yellow pansies on the patio.
Gold tip junipers are large evergreen shrubs that have green foliage and tips grow out as bright yellow. When you see the small ones in the nursery, remember that will eventually grow to a size as large as 4 x 8 feet depending on the variety. They can be pruned to control their size but may eventually outgrow their space. However, in the right place, they can be a bright addition to your landscape. Look on the bright side, create your own sunshine, add a little color to your life, plant some yellow flowers.