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Tree tobacco bears fleshy, almost succulent, saucer-sized leaves colored a lovely silvery blue. This tender perennial can be easily grown from seed as an annual and, in a single season, makes the incredible leap from a dust mote of seed to a skyscraping specimen 10 or more feet tall. Plants are a little rangy, but plenty of pinching helps keep tree tobacco at a size suited to a more modest perennial border. The plant bears yellow flowers if given a long enough growing season.
This yucca-like Mexican plant has bold bluish leaves to 3 feet long that have tiny serrations on the edges. It makes a stunning accent in the garden or in a container. It is hardy to 10°F and extremely drought tolerant. Thousands of tiny white flowers bloom on a 4-foot stalk on mature clumps.
The herb of kings combines superbly with roses. Different cultivars vary in leaf shape, scent, and color, from green to deep purple, with blue, white, burgundy, or pink flowers.
This plant is a creeping perennial that reaches 24 inches tall. Dark green leaves have a rich purple tint, and its purplish pink flower clusters appear from late spring through autumn. ‘Herrenhausen’ (Zones 5–8) displays masses of showy pink flowers with maroon bracts on purplish stems. ‘Hopleys’ (Zones 7–10) is taller (up to 36 inches) with large, long-blooming, deep pink flowers, and is a vigorous grower, more tolerant of heat than ‘Herrenhausen’.
Golden oregano is a robust creeper with tiny, rounded leaves 1/2 to 1 inch wide. Small, pink or lavender to purple flowers stand out above the foliage in early to late summer.
Purple shamrock's pretty foliage and dainty flowers make it a good choice for containers, borders, or indoors.
The old-fashioned shamrock houseplant is now high fashion. Several introductions from Proven Winners push this group to the fore for its elegant foliage; abundant, delicate flowers; and vigor. Only 6 to 10 inches high with a spread to 12 inches, this plant’s tiny, ¾-inch-wide, bronze-colored leaf clusters and bright yellow flowers are massed on trailing stems that spill over the sides of shaded window boxes and containers.
Building Better Borders
Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms
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