One of the biggest reasons I’ve been able to expand my SciFi/Fantasy garden over the last few years was my discovery of Rosy Dawn Coleus and all of their correctly-named coleus – plants like Darth Vader, Lord Voldemort and Hedwig. This year, I added a bunch of others to the order, including Apocalypse (X-Men), Fire Dragon, Red Witch and Yellow Dragon (Game of Thrones).
While I was doing some research for one of my Examiner columns on gardening, I happened upon the National Garden Bureau website, which has proclaimed 2015 as the Year of the Coleus! I personally think every year is the year of the coleus, but I’m a tad bit obsessive over the plants :)
Coleus are most definitely known more for their foliage than their flowers, and it’s not difficult to see why – from bright lime to nearly-black purple to bi-color, trailing to tall, small leaves to large, its leaves are where the story is. Coleus work great in containers and flower beds, and add texture and dimension to any setting. Coleus are considered a shade plant, because sunlight and heat can affect the colors – I, however, use them everywhere!
I love using coleus in containers, especially on my front porch, where a few coleus plants are all that is needed to brighten up a corner. I’ve also mixed them with exotic impatiens and begonias as the “thriller” in the container. Many of my SciFi/Fantasy coleus will be in the ground, but I may group Fire Dragon and Yellow Dragon with Black Dragon, which I usually find in one of the local nurseries.
Here are a couple of my coleus containers from last year (paulathompsonfreelance.com):