Back in the spring, Joe Koller sent in some photos of Alan Summer’s Maryland garden and his over-the-top display of peonies and other early blooms (read it here), and now he’s back with some shots of the summer look of the garden—with a focus on coleus! Joe says that Alan has been collecting and trailing different coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides, Zone 11) for years, keeping the ones that he likes and that perform the best.
For plants like coleus that have literally thousands of different varieties on the market, taking the time to try different ones each year is really worth it, because you can find the particular varieties that perform the best in your climate and have the particular colors that appeal most to you. Though coleus have to be grown as annuals anywhere with freezing temperatures in the winter, it is very easy to take cuttings in the fall and overwinter your favorites in a sunny windowsill so you can plant them out again in the summer. For information on taking cuttings of coleus (or other annuals), check out this article. To learn how to pinch back coleus to get a denser, bushier growth habit, watch this video. We’ve also got a rundown of some of Fine Gardening’s very favorite coleus varieties here.
What are your favorites?
The whole collection! What a display, and with color that lasts all summer with no fuss.
I love this pairing of container and plant, with the intricately textured leaves echoing the design of the container.
A really massive coleus. Displaying each variety individually in pots like this really allows each one to show off.
Another view of the massive pots of coleus scattered all over this patio. It’s incredible that so much diversity of color can come from just different varieties of one foliage plant.
This one looks to me like it might be the variety ‘Henna’. I love the jagged leaf margins and the bright color.
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Wow, looking from amazing plant to another is like turning the wheel of a kaleidoscope...such a mind tingling variety of colors and patterns. I have never seen a display of mature coleus like this before...it's quite impressive. Thank you, Joe, for taking the pictures and sharing them with us in GPOD-land.
Good morning Michaele, Alan is an amazing gardener for sure. I'd like to share with you his criteria for selecting & culling his collection. : He looks for plants with tightly bunched petals & late flowering tendencies to minimize deadhead heading. He mixes organic fertilizer with the planting medium & adds a liquid sea product when watering. Also I did not take the photos a mutual friend did. Good luck Joe
These are beautiful. With so many new varieties for both shade and sun coming up with gorgeous combinations is not difficult at all. Just yesterday I was at a friend's house and she says that she often makes bouquets for the dinner table using just coleus foliage. The colors are so varied and vibrant that no flowers are really necessary.
Oh, my. Love all these coleus.
Gorgeous collection. Love coleus and wish it is hardy where I live.
Joe - Alan's coleus are gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing !
WOW! Love all your coleus and the different shades! You certainly have a green thumb!
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