Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Somewhere over the Rainbow: Ornamental Plants Give Color

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Somewhere over the Rainbow: Ornamental Plants Give Color

Article excerpt

Not all color in the landscape comes from blooms. Some ornamental plants present great color contrasts from their foliage. Try these as bedding or potted plants:

Caladium: Probably one of the most spectacular is the big-leafed caladium. It will do well in full sun but is especially colorful in partly shady spots. It likes warm weather overhead and warm soils below. The bulb-like roots (tubers) can be started outdoors now, but a much better approach is to get pre-potted specimens from the nursery.

Caladium leaves can reach a foot in length, are heart-shaped, and new ones develop as the season extends. Some popular colors include white leaves with green veins and ribs (candidum), rose pink with green veins (pink beauty), red leaves with pink splotches and a green border (red flash) and, if you really need some biggies, elephant's ear, which can reach 2 feet long.

Coleus: These multicolored, leafy plants belong to the nettle family but don't sting the fingers like some of their cousins. They are tender annuals but can be dug in the fall, cut back and will serve as some winter color in houseplant use. If you prefer a simple step, just make a few stem cuttings and they will quickly send out roots in sand, vermiculite or water.

For the brightest color contrasts, grow them in partial shade. Leaves are oval and often lacy. They range from mottled purple to pinks, yellows, bronzes, oranges and various shades of red. Coleus brightens dark spots in the landscape, especially as a border plant or in groups. Some varieties are chartreuse (yellow green), flamenco (red edged in yellow) and candidum (ivory with a green edge). Some varieties will send up attractive, blue-flowering spikes. This is an annual.

Polka Dot Plant: This common handle is much easier to remember than Hypoestes phyllostachya. Just look for a small annual whose green leaves are freckled all over with pink spots. The plant is versatile from full sun to half-shade.

Ajuga: The common name is bugleweed and the plant tolerates sites from sun to shade. Leaves are reddish or bronze and sometimes variegated on this perennial. This works well as a ground cover. …

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