Monday, August 16, 2010

Foliage Follow-up: August 2010

On the sixteenth of every month, Digging sponsors Foliage Follow-up where gardeners can highlight some of the non-blooming aspects of their plants.  And as shady gardeners know, it's the leaves that put on our best show in the limited light.

I have a few Beefsteak Plants (Perilla 'Magilla') that I overwintered from cuttings.  When I replanted them back into the yard, some have struggled (even the one placed back into the same location as the parent plant).  But the ones placed into deeper shade have been quite happy. The green and white leaves (they tend to have more purple with increased light) are supported by reddish stems.

Of course, in any shade garden, Caladiums are always welcome.  This variety is 'White Queen'.  The large white leaves & red veins shine out from the darker parts of the garden.  Without sufficient water, the summer heat tends to wear them down, but they certainly grab one's attention when happy.

Bought on a whim a little over a year ago, the Silver Squill (Ledebouria socialis) has done nicely.  The spotted leaves have purple undersides and are held on purplish stems arising from same-colored bulb-like bases.  It does produce unremarkable flower stalks which attract bees and I'm actually attempting to grow some from the subsequent seeds.

Placed in a pot in one of the sunnier spots on the deck, the Capsicum annuum 'Calico' is my favorite pepper plant.  The variegated foliage even has hints of purple to go with the tiny lavender blossoms which later give way to dark purple (almost black) or red peppers.

Strictly for foliage, one of my favorite Aloes is the Partridge Breast Aloe (Aloe variegata).  Though I don't believe mine has ever bloomed (will have bright red flowers if it ever does), I still love the stiff, variegated leaves that tend to slowly form clumps.

Flowers aren't the only show in town - foliage can certainly add a lot!


  1. Nice foliage follow-up! I like the aloe, but I think that the "Silver Squill" is my favorite. :)

  2. Love that aloe. The caladium leaves are just gorgeous. If I weren't such a lazy summer waterer, I'd plant a few, but they'd be toast in my garden. What a great selection of variegated foliage you have.

  3. Thanks for the inspiration. You know how to make the most of the conditions you've got.

  4. Wow, that caladium is incredible. The contrast of the red against the silver and green is so striking. Thanks for letting us peak into your shady garden!

  5. I really like your variegated foliage. I am just now thinking about adding some to my garden. Maybe I can find a shady spot to enjoy some of your choices.

  6. Jenny: I'm thinking the Calico pepper would certainly take more sun than it gets in my yard (and be happy about it). Though really an annual, I actually overwintered mine in a pot. Might be a good variegated choice for your sunny garden.