Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fantastic Foliage Plants by Gardener Dave

If you are considering reducing maintenance in your annual garden next year, consider having fewer flowers and adding more foliage plants. When you find a “happy spot” for them, they will increase in size and become even more colorful throughout the summer. Most like more shade than sun, but many will enjoy several hours of morning sunlight if they are watered adequately. They require no deadheading and most take trimming and shaping well. They are available in many contrasting colors, all the way from greens to browns, maroons and reds - many are variegated interestingly and can make striking color combinations with other annuals or even some perennials. 

Consider mixing them in with other plants that like partial sun or shade, such as hostas, caladium, or begonias. Or, plant them in pots as “specimens”. They will grow and reward you with evolving, sun-dappled colors from spring up until frost with minimal care. They are colorful without being overbearingly bright or “in your face” and have the best effect where you can see them up close as you pass by.

Besides the many varieties of the more common coleus, try variations such as Purple Perilla (Perilla frutescens ‘Balmagpurp’), Bloodleaf (Iresine herbstii), or just experiment with what colors and cultivars strike your fancy. Mix colors freely, such as greens with reds or maroons for interesting contrasts.

Get lost in your foliage (plants)!
Gardener Dave