Here’s one way to get some summer color in a shade garden. This small bed uses perennials (English Ivy, Ostrich Ferns and Variegated Solomon’s Seal) as a backdrop, fronted by a Narrow-Leaf Croton (at left, brought outdoors for the summer) and chartreuse coleus in the center. I know – you either love that coleus color or hate it. But remember, the purpose was to brighten that spot.
At right a couple more tropicals complete the grouping: Magilla Purple Perilla (a coleus-like plant which is supposed to be “extremely cold tolerant” – we’ll see about that) which mimics the croton’s colors, and Purple Knight Alternanthera – with purple/burgundy foliage that matches the dark tones in the coleus. The coleus and other tropicals were acquired at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s spring sale of annuals.
According to Wikipedia, the Mazatec indians of southern Mexico use coleus leaves for a psychoactive effect. Something’s been chewing on these coleus plants, but not me.