The National Gardening Bureau just proclaimed 2015 the Year of the Coleus!
This annual plant (which can actually live a long while indoors or in tropical climates) is popular for its varying foliage colors. Coleus has been grown in nearly every color of the rainbow, from chartreuse to near-black to striking patterns of red and yellow. Perhaps the most distinctive Coleus are varieties like Black Dragon that also have unique forms. Their incredible colors and textures make Coleus a consistent favorite for mixed containers and annual beds of all types.
In Victorian Gardens, Coleus were planted in large color blocks meant to form a picture when viewed from above. Coleus are also a fantastic way to add some color to topiary displays. If you ever go to Disney World (and if you, like me, are a big enough dork to spend your time looking down at the plants), you can find a lot of well-used Coleus Mixes.
Coleus breeding programs have produced incredible new forms and color combinations as well as increased sun tolerance. The diversity of the Genus is truly staggering. Easy to establish and quite durable, Coleus offers as much lovely color as most flowers, with much less worry and hassle. No wonder the NGB gave this annual workhorse the spotlight this year!