Felix and Fido may be great companions for you and your family, but they can wreak havoc on your garden. To keep them out of your flowerbeds, many gardeners have turned to fences and repellent sprays with variable success. Fences can be unsightly and intrusive, and repellent sprays often wear off and lose their effectiveness. Now from Germany comes a relative of a familiar garden plant, coleus, which reportedly has a pungent odor that dogs and cats hate.
Coleus canina is a compact (1- to 2-foot tall) annual bedding plant with dark green foliage and small blue flowers. Planted as a hedge, with plants spaced 3 feet apart, it has been proven to keep pets away from gardens, landscape areas, sandboxes, and playgrounds. Like ornamental coleus, it doesn't harm people and is safe for the environment.
When animals come in contact with this coleus, their sensitive noses pick up the plant's odor, and choose another place to snoop. This odor is only noticeable to humans if the leaves are rubbed. Sold under the names Scardy Cat! or Dog's Gone! in the U.S., it grows best in full sun and warm temperatures, and it's drought tolerant.
This coleus is cultivated only from cuttings, so seed isn't available. For more information on Scardy Cat! and Dog's Gone!, go to the following Web site; www.millstadtjungplants.com/
Article published on June 23, 2008.