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Swan River daisy's lacy foliage and small but profuse blue-purple flowers have a long season of impact in the garden. Its compact, bushy shape, pretty fragrant flowers, and gray-green leaves make it attractive from planting time through frost. It flowers so heavily that the foliage is often obscured. 'Blue Zephyr' has especially fine foliage and only reaches about a foot high. It is excellent in hanging baskets, window boxes, or other containers, or at the front of a bed or border.
Spikes of violet, star-shaped flowers top stems reaching from 2 to 4 feet in late spring. The species is native to western Oregon. 'Blue Danube' would be beautiful in a border, meadow, or containers. Camassia make good cut flowers.
A deciduous climber native to the southeastern United States, Clematis crispa bears lavender-blue, bell-shaped flowers with curly edges in summer. Its blooms are not profuse, but their elegant shape makes this plant a good choice for trellises, growing through shrubs, or planting in damp areas. The flowers are slightly fragrant and are followed by attractive seedheads. It also makes an unusual cut flower.
Clematis integrifolia is a herbaceous, woody-based, upright, non-climbing perennial with a dense and somewhat sprawling habit. It bears solitary, nodding, bell-shaped flowers with slightly twisted violet to blue sepals and creamy white anthers from May to July. Sporadic blooming sometimes occurs throughout the summer. Blossoms mature to attractive, feathery, silver-green, or silvery brown seed heads.
Sapphire jewelweed's serrated leaves are the color of polished jade, while the flowers are a remarkable sapphire blue. Far different from the traditional flat-disk shape of most bedding impatiens, the flower shape of this impatiens resembles an elegant crane in flight. Sapphire jewelweed grows remarkably fast, reaching almost 2 feet tall and wide. It shines in a woodland garden.
This subshrubby perennial with light green to red-flushed stems has slightly toothed, scalloped, light to bronze-green or red-flushed leaves to 5 inches long. The showy, flat flowers bloom in white or shades of orange, pink, red, purple, violet, lavender-blue, and bicolors.
This native of Australia has blue-green perfoliate leaves (similar to some eucalyptus) and blue-lilac flowers on somewhat floppy stems. Digger's speedwell likes a hot location and will ramble over walls or grow through shrubs beautifully.
This three-foot-tall evergreen shrub bears many tubular, blue or purple, petunia-like flowers on dark stems over a long period. Each flower lasts for just one day. It is a fast grower that may self-seed aggressively. Use in a border, container, or at waterside. Can be grown as an annual in cooler areas.
This choice species boasts narrow, downy sage-green leaves and true sky-blue blossoms from summer to fall. It has woody stems and forms a beautiful specimen 12 inches tall by 18 inches wide.
This heat and drought tolerant plant is an evergreen perennial, often grown as an annual. It has spoon-shaped leaves and fan-shaped bluish flowers.
Coleus are tender tropicals that are generally grown as annuals because they are hardy only in Zone 11. The variously shaped leaves of these popular bedding plants typically combine several colors, such as chartreuse, rust red, cream, and purple-black. Some cultivars sport almost all of these colors combined. The darker the red in the leaf, the more sun the plant will tolerate. Coleus blooms in summer, but the blue to white nettle-like flowers are unremarkable and tend to detract visually from the impact of the foliage. -Debra Lee Baldwin, Regional Picks: Southern California, Fine Gardening issue #127
This adaptable coleus will grow in sun or shade. Its reddish pink and burgundy-black leaves are large and pointed. Use 'Religious Radish' in a container or as bedding.
An excellent chartreuse selection, 'Amazon' has ruffly leaves that glow after dusk. It doesn't burn or streak in hot summer sun and has strong stems. Coleus are tender tropicals that are generally grown as annuals because they are hardy only in Zone 11. They are easy to grow, reliable plants known for their colorful foliage that comes in many color combinations and mixes well with other garden plants.
'Candy Store' is a different kind of pink coleus. Blocks of raspberry-pink, sour apple, grape, and cream enliven the leaves and make this plant a real eye-catcher. It has a nice rounded shape, strong stems, and thick foliage.
The simple, indigo-purple leaves of mid-size ‘Dark Star’ draw all eyes to its inky depths. Coleus are tender tropicals that are generally grown as annuals because they are hardy only in Zone 11. They are easy to grow, reliable plants known for their colorful foliage that comes in many color combinations and mixes well with other garden plants. 'Dark Star' contrasts well with white flowers or silver foliage, or it can be used to emphasize the blueness of certain flowers.
A tall, upright coleus, 'Fishnet Stockings' has inky black lines throughout its vivid lime green leaves, tracing the pattern of every vein. The leaves are neatly notched along the edges, which are also outlined in black. Coleus are tender tropicals that are generally grown as annuals because they are hardy only in Zone 11. They are easy to grow, reliable plants known for their colorful foliage that comes in many color combinations and mixes well with other garden plants. Blue to white nettle-like flowers bloom in racemes in summer, but are not showy and tend to visually detract from the attractiveness of the plants.
A mid-size coleus, perfect for filling gaps, 'Little Twister' has crimped, fingery leaves that emerge inky purple, then gradually change to predominantly yellow with lime edges and purple veins. Its 20-inch-long, deep purple stems and compact growth make ‘Little Twister’ a fabulous component of mixed containers.
'Mariposa' is a big, upright, very striking coleus with 6- to 8-inch-long leaves that drape downward, allowing a clear view of their magnificent crimson-pink color. A single plant makes an imposing specimen. Coleus are tender tropicals that are generally grown as annuals because they are hardy only in Zone 11.
‘Meandering Linda’, a close cousin of Solenostemon ‘Red Trailing Queen’, grows 16 inches tall and bears crinkly, chocolate-purple leaves banded in rich raspberry-pink, with touches of cream along the edges. It makes a scrumptious duo with anything silver, especially the elegant silver-white foliage of dusty miller (Centaurea cineraria ‘Colchester White’, Zones 7–11). ‘Meandering Linda’ appears to be a sport of ‘Red Trailing Queen’, and if planted in less than half-day sun, it sometimes reverts to its plain burgundy form.
‘New Hurricane’ has fiery red-and-yellow foliage, as intricately cut as paper snowflakes. As a mid-size (25 inches tall) coleus, it is good for filling gaps, but its appearance makes it much more than just a filler.
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by Stephanie Cohen
Find out what all the buzz is about by planting these colorful perennials
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10 Shrubs for Summer Color
These vibrant bloomers give even the showiest annuals and perennials a run for their money
by Paul Cappiello
Enchanting Japanese Maples
Two experts pick their favorites based on color, shape
by Francie Schroeder
Q&A Moving houseplants outdoors for the summer
by Tim Pollak
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