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Cooks and gardeners alike are indebted to this evergreen perennial for the unique, pungent flavor and aroma that its gray-green leaves produce. This cultivar has leaves suffused with steely-gray purple. It forms a 1.5-foot-tall and wide bush with woody stems that may be trimmed back to newly emerging growth or strong stems in spring. In early to mid-summer, it sends up lavender-purple flower spikes; it has both ornamental and culinary qualities in an herb garden. It tolerates alkaline soils, but cannot survive wet winter conditions.
This choice specimen has a graceful habit with finely divided golden foliage that emerges as bronze. It is less susceptible to sun scorch than the other gold varieties. It bears creamy white flowers that mature into red fruits.
'Postman's Pride' sedum is a wonderful dark-foliaged plant for sunny, dry locations. It has a semi-upright habit and produces masses of red to purple flowers from late summer through fall. The flowers attract honeybees and butterflies. Like other sedums, 'Postman's Pride' is useful in rock and xeriscape gardens because, once established, it thrives without irrigation except during severe droughts. Curious about the cultivar name? This plant was discovered by a Belgian postal carrier in his garden. -Ron Smith, Regional Picks: Upper Plains, Fine Gardening issue #120
This vigorous, mat-forming, evergreen species has electric golden-yellow foliage that holds its color through the heat of summer. The foliage tips sometimes develop an orangey hue. In June and July, 'Angelina' has terminal clusters of star-shaped, vibrant yellow flowers. The drooping buds face upward when they open and the plant can grow to 6 inches tall and 12 inches wide. It is superlative as a groundcover, spilling over rock walls, and in containers. It also makes an excellent accent for plants with dark foliage.
This lovely mound-like species splays out from the center like a miniature fountain. It has half-inch rosy flowers in fall and blue-green leaves with matching rosy margins. Frosty temperatures bring out pink in the leaves. Sedum sieboldii grows to 4 inches tall and about twice as wide.
This choice cultivar boasts domed clusters of starry, pale-pink flowers with dark-tipped stamens. The foliage is medium blue-green, overlaid by tints of burgundy and stormy gray. The rich red stems reach up to 3 feet tall.
'Purple Heart' is a trailing, tender perennial with purple stems and violet-purple leaves that produces pink flowers in summer. This plant is mainly grown for its foliage (leaves can reach 7 inches in length); best color is achieved in bright sunlight and a dry, cramped root zone. It is excellent as a groundcover or in containers or hanging baskets. It grows 8-12 inches tall and 16 inches wide.
This spring bloomer produces bright chartreuse floral domes atop bract-like, rounded leaves that are pierced by the flower's stem. This plant's form and color contrast well with spring bulbs. It grows 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Let it regenerate itself by self-sowing. It is a biennial or short-lived perennial that makes an excellent cut flower and produces worthy combinations with neighboring shades of maroons and blues. Grow it in large, mixed borders, naturalistic plantings, and open woodlands.
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.
'Sedona' coleus has leaves blessed with shades of pink and orange, giving the plant a bronzy appearance.
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.
‘Orange King’ exemplifies one of the loveliest characteristics of coleus, the ability to glow like stained glass when struck by sunlight. Its leaves radiate warm orange on a sunny day. 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.
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