Vivid coleus brings color to your leafy greens!
Garden Manager Steven Schwager is a coleus fan; he says, “There are places around the grounds that get a few hours of intense sun as well as a few hours of shade. There aren’t a lot of plants that do well in those conditions, but Coleus fit the bill, and there are a lot to choose from these days.
You may well have taken note of the eye-catching triangular leaves of the coleus plants growing in containers near the main office of Marin Art and Garden Center. With their dark purplish centers and brilliant green edges, Plectranthus scutellarioides can give any flowers a run for their money as far as stunning color combinations go.
Coleus is a relative of mint, and is also related to Swedish Ivy, so you know it comes from a hardy family. Recently, nurseries have been introducing varieties featuring a wild range of patterns: streaks, splashes, blotches, speckles, margins and veins, with color variations to match. Varieties with darker or more intense leaf color can tolerate more sun, and while plants with lighter leaf colors can scorch with too much direct light, all coleus do best when they have a mix of sun and shade.
If you’re shopping for coleus, you’ll also have your pick of leaf textures, which can be large or small, twisted, elongated, scalloped, lobed, finger-like, or “duck’s foot.” Plants can be upright or rounded—although pinching back leaves can direct growth—or trailing, well suited to hanging baskets. Plants can grow from seed or cuttings, and once rooted, should be kept well-watered in soil with good drainage. The plants at Marin Art and Garden Center are thriving in large pots where they’re massed for maximum impact.
So don’t let flowers have all the fun, plant some coleus and bring a little glam to your garden.