Colorblaze coleus is a 2020 Medallion plant
A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of introducing the 2020 Mississippi Medallion Winners at the Gulf States Hort Expo in Mobile, Alabama. This is a special group of selections, as the Mississippi Medallion program is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2020.
The plants selected for 2020 include Colorblaze coleus, beautyberry, Luscious Series lantana and Garden Gem tomato.
The Mississippi Medallion program was established in 1996 by the Mississippi Nursery and Landscape Association. Its goal is to increase homeowner and urban gardener awareness of superior plant materials and to promote sales and production of these ornamental plants in Mississippi.
The Mississippi Medallion program is similar to national campaigns such as All-American Selections. In choosing plants for the Mississippi award, we consider a wide variety of environments and growing conditions, focusing on plants adapted to our garden and landscape environment. This process benefits both consumers and the green industry.
I’ll be highlighting one of the 2020 selections each week over the next month. This week, let’s take a look at the Colorblaze coleus selections.
New coleus cultivars and varieties that are bred to tolerate the full sun in our hot and humid Mississippi summers are released nearly every year. Sun coleuses offer foliage colors that are rich and diverse, with highly variegated variations. They offer a kaleidoscope of colors and combinations.
Coleus has a growing season that lasts from plating in the spring to frost in the fall, and these plants belong in every garden and landscape.
Colorblaze coleus is typically grown for its attractive, colorful foliage. Some of the selections that have performed well in Mississippi include:
* Colorblaze Golden Dreams is an attractive plant whose chartreuse-yellow leaves have maroon veins, resulting in a nice contrast and a plant that stands out in the landscape.
* Colorblaze Alligator Tears has a bright-yellow pattern flowing down the center of reptilian-green leaves.
* Colorblaze Apple Brandy is a snazzy coleus featuring maroon leaves with glowing, chartreuse-yellow edges.
* Colorblaze Velveteen has dark foliage with dramatic, hot-pink centers displayed on broad, burgundy leaves.
These plants require almost no maintenance in the landscape. They grow about 3 feet tall in full sun during the season, but they can be sheered back easily to keep them shorter.
If grown in low light, they will not be as full and thick as when grown in full sun. Colors tend to be more of a green color when grown in the shade, but they are still attractive shade options.
Colorblaze coleus is a foolproof landscape plant that provides vibrant color all season long, but it’s important to remember that sun coleus requires consistent moisture during the hot summer months. I use drip irrigation in my landscape beds and containers to keep these plants happy during the hottest weather.
Feed with a complete, balanced, slow-release fertilizer to help the plants grow larger and faster.
I grow coleus for its boldly colored foliage. Any flowers that start to develop are easy to see, and I simply pinch them off to help develop a bushy plant. What is most remarkable about the Colorblaze coleus selections is that they do not form flowers until very late in the season, if at all.
Look for the 2020 Mississippi Medallion Plants, as well as other Mississippi Medallion selections from previous years, at your favorite local nursery and garden center.