Thursday, August 7, 2014

My favorite plant of the week: Coleus 'Chocolate Splash'

Is it banal to feature a humble coleus, properly classified as Solenostemon scuttelarioides, as my favorite plant of the week?  I considered other, more exotic choices but, truthfully, I find myself admiring this plant every time I walk in or out the door to the backyard.  I picked it up on a whim in early July, along with the pot it's tucked into.

Coleus 'Chocolate Splash' shortly after planting



The variety is new to me.  I love the counterpoint of the bright lime color and the deep reddish brown splotches.

Current photo, taken roughly 1 month after the one above



It keeps trying to produce flowers, which I keep pinching off in the interest of prolonging the plant's beauty.  Unlike most coleus of my acquaintance, the mature flowers aren't so much blue as white with a touch of black.  I don't have any pictures of a fully-developed flower (because I pinch them off as soon as I see them) but they are rather pretty.





I had no intention of buying any coleus this year but I seem to have succumbed to their annual allure.  In my frost-free area, the plant is technically a perennial but it looks best when grown as an annual, even here in USDA zone 10b (Sunset zone 23/24).  They do best in at least partial shade.  'Chocolate Splash' gets morning sun and afternoon shade.  The mixture of coleus in the pots by our front door get morning shade but some late afternoon sun.  They're pretty spectacular too, especially the oddly named variety, 'Kong Jr. Green Halo,' which has grown quickly, leaving its pot-mates in the dust.

The yellow and green coleus 'Kong Jr. Green Halo' has entirely hidden one of the trio of coleus in this pot

Coleus 'Kong Jr. Green Halo' is doing a better job of cohabiting with 'Fire Fingers' and ' Honey Crisp' in this pot



Solenostemon scuttellarioides 'Chocolate Splash' is my contribution to Loree's favorite plants meme at danger garden this week.  You can see Loree's favorite and find links to other gardeners' favorites here.


All material © 2012-2014 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

13 comments:

  1. Mmm, a nice splash of chocolate. I enjoy tucking in a few coleus here and there each summer. They are pretty much done by fall even with pinching back. I saw some pretty ones left to bloom at a conservatory last fall.

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    1. Coleus seem to enjoy almost as much attention from hybridizers as Heuchera these days, Shirley - new ones keep popping up.

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  2. Not banal at all, it's a beauty! And looks almost similar to the plant we featured this week :))

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    1. Your Plectranthus (one of my favorite genuses, genuii?) is wonderful!

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  3. I always plant a few Coleus, they are definitely annuals here . I only bought 2 this year trying to limit the watering issue-they surely brighten up the shady spots !

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    1. They're selling some "sun tolerant" varieties here, Kathy, but I can only imagine how much water would be required to keep them alive in that situation.

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  4. I love Coleus, but somehow never get around to planting any. Yours are quite gorgeous.

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    1. I almost skipped them myself this year, Hoover Boo. In prior years, I've planted them in shady borders but planting them in pots is easier, especially when I put them near doorways where I'm regularly reminded to water them.

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  5. That's a lovely color combination! I fell hard for the colorful coleus a few years back, it was a delightful year for slugs in my garden, they very much appreciated my selections. Me, not so much.

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    1. It's odd but I haven't had any problems with snails chomping these plants. Perhaps, it's because they're in pots - or maybe I have the nightly visits of the raccoons to thank for keeping the snail population within bounds.

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  6. I have not grown coleus in years but I am thinking I need to start again...wow

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    1. There are SO many out there to choose from now, Donna.

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  7. This is such a pretty plant! I will try to grow it next year, although I have been focusing on perennials for my borders, I will share some time for coleus:)

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