Four days until Spring everyone! February has me primed and ready for some warm mornings, bird songs and spring flowers(those that are left after the March freeze). You can really feel the Spring fever in the air and my ever present landscaping itch is becoming unbearable!! Let’s dive into Spring with a great shade loving annual with this weeks Plant of the Week.
A tropical perennial, but an Indiana annual Coleus blumei is, in my opinion, a perfect way to get long term color into a shadier landscape. Its beautiful foliage comes in combinations of greens, yellows, pinks, reds, purples, etc. The foliage also can be found in many shapes and sizes which increases the interest Coleus adds to a space. It does have flowers, which come up in the summer, but are not as interesting as the foliage. Its foliage makes it easy to mix into a landscape or potted arrangement due to its incredible array of options.
This plant is very easy to grow, and you would use Coleus in a more shaded area of your yard. Great for beds and along borders, it is also a perfect option for potted arrangements. Provide well-drained soil and partial shade to get the best results, but some varieties can be put in full sun. Coleus are great to fill in space and create a quick massed appearance to your landscaping.
Simple! Keep your Coleus moist (shaded planting locations will help with this) and allow this plant to establish itself. Annuals overall need to be watched more closely for drying out, especially if they are used in a container. Consider fertilizing during the growing season to help “juice” your plants! Fertilizing may not always be necessary, but you should want to care for and improve the health of your plants. You can also get a fuller plant by snipping off the top of the shoots of young coleus. If you get attached to your Coleus, you will HAVE TO bring them in before the first frost. My advice, add them to the compost heap at the end of the year. Annuals will not break the bank each Spring and the time lost just isn’t worth it in my opinion.
A big fan of Coleus. They are so simple to care for, for any homeowner. They are bright and colorful and best of all, they can make a shady space feel brighter and more inviting. You do have to replant these each year, which means you will have some spring and fall work to do. However, the planting and clean up required pales in comparison to the rewards you receive throughout the year. I give this plant an A-, and please read more about it here too and consider buying it for your landscaping this year!