MISSISSIPPI STATE EXTENSION, with Dr. Gary Bachman
Many people feel that the only way to get abundant color in your garden is to grow a lot of flowers. Today on Southern Gardening, we’ll look at some eye-popping color produced without a single flower. If you want BIG plants, there 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. Stepping down in size are elephant ears. Of course, everyone is familiar with the big green-leaved varieties, but there’s a lot more. Black Coral has large glossy chocolaty black leaves with finely ruffled edges. The large green leaves of Blue Hawaii feature prominent bluish-purple veins. If you are only looking for bedding plants, then you have to try sun coleus. These plants come in a kaleidoscope of colors. Some offer largely solid colored leaves, like Electric Lime and Redhead. But what I like are the wildly variegated selections. Some of these varieties, like Trusty Rusty, Fiesta Cherry, Kiwi Fruit, and Cranberry Salad create a delicious sounding carnival of color. And finally, don’t forget ornamental peppers. Purple flash features both flashy foliage and pretty fruit. Other varieties, like April Fools Day, features fruit that points upwards in a tangle of long pods that resemble a joker’s hat. The biggest strength of all these plants is their outstanding color, from late spring until frost in the fall. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman, and I’ll see you next time on Southern Gardening.
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