For a number of years plant breeders have been introducing yellow- or light green-leafed varieties of popular shrubs. The goal has been to select plants with attractive foliage that complements the flowers. An outstanding new selection is the 2003 Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Gold Medal winner Spirea thunbergii 'Ogon' Mellow Yellow.
Like other Spirea thunbergii varieties, Mellow Yellow is loaded with pure white flowers in spring before the leaves emerge. After the flowers fade, the yellow-to-chartreuse leaves give this bush a golden, healthy glow that brightens any landscape. The color show doesn't end with summer. In fall the leaves turn orange, red, pink, or salmon.
Mellow Yellow grows 4 feet wide and tall and prefers partial to full sun and well-drained soil in USDA Hardiness zones 5 to 9. It makes a dynamic statement when planted near purple-leafed shrubs, such as 'Royal Purple' smokebush and 'Rose Glow' barberry. Check local nurseries in spring for sources of Mellow Yellow.