Host: Gary Bachman, Ornamental Horticulture Specialist
Today on Southern Gardening, here’s some ideas for eye-popping color without producing a single flower.
Many people feel that the only way to get abundant color in your garden is to grow a lot of flowers, but foliage color can give long lasting summer color. Here are several options. Banana plants come in different sizes and colors, from bright greens to red stripes. Some varieties are cold tolerant and will survive our Mississippi winters. Mahogany Splendor hibiscus has dramatic purple burgundy leaves, and even looks a lot like a Japanese maple. Of course, everyone is familiar with the big green leaved varieties of elephant ears, but there’s plenty more. Black Coral has glossy chocolaty black leaves and Blue Hawaii feature bright green leaves with bluish-purple veins. One plant that has come out of the shadows is sun coleus. These plants come in a kaleidoscope of colors. Some offer largely solid colored leaves, like Electric Lime and Redhead. But I like the wildly variegated selections like Trusty Rusty, Fiesta Cherry, Kiwi Fruit, and Cranberry Salad create a delicious sounding carnival of color. And finally, don’t forget the late season color of ornamental peppers. Purple flash features both flashy foliage and pretty fruit. Other varieties, like April Fool’s Day, features tangles of long pods that resemble a joker’s hat. No matter the variety, it’s common to have multitudes of peppers in various stages of coloration for a continuously interesting look.
The biggest strength of all these plants is their outstanding color, from late spring until frost in the fall. Until next time, I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman enjoying our Southern Gardening