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Tell us your Favorite Shade Plants

By dave
January 20, 2016

We're putting together a list of the ATP members' favorite shade plants! Come on in and read how to nominate your favorites! We will later publish a final article on the top picks.

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Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Jan 23, 2016 7:18 AM CST
I can't imagine any shady spot w/o Coleus, and anything else is welcome but unnecessary to me. Coleus looks awesome from the very first minute until the very last. No waiting for blooms, though when they do show up, they attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

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Generic Coleus entry:
Coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides)

Hundreds of cultivars in a search:
http://garden.org/plants/search/text.php?q=coleus&button=

Coleus forum:
http://garden.org/forums/view/coleus/


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[Last edited by purpleinopp - Jan 23, 2016 7:21 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1039933 (1)
Name: Susie
Leonard, Minnesota (Zone 3b)
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4susiesjoy
Jan 23, 2016 9:19 AM CST
Coleus are an indispensable part of my shade garden. There are so many colors and they fill in areas that have had large areas of bulbs planted and would be bare without them. They are easy to grow and although annuals, they are easily kept over with cuttings brought in and enjoyed through the winter.
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[Last edited by 4susiesjoy - Jan 23, 2016 10:26 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1040050 (2)
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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pirl
Jan 23, 2016 9:27 AM CST
I use them extensively in my sunny gardens!
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Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
Jan 23, 2016 9:30 AM CST
I think I'm going to have to use more coleus this spring! Beautiful photos.
Name: Marilyn
Greenwood Village, CO (Zone 5b)
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CDsSister
Jan 23, 2016 1:35 PM CST
I have used coleus for in lieu of blossoming plants for their gorgeous colors in my shade garden.
Really love them too.
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Plant Identifier
pirl
Jan 23, 2016 2:05 PM CST
They're also lovely in a mixed bouquet. When the flowers are gone you still have coleus (probably rooted) to plant. Nice bonus.
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
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purpleinopp
Jan 24, 2016 6:53 AM CST
Coleus are not annuals, they are tender perennial shrubs.

One of the ones I showed is 'Florida Sun Jade.' It really does do GREAT in tons of sun.
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Name: Marilyn
Greenwood Village, CO (Zone 5b)
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CDsSister
Jan 24, 2016 11:05 AM CST
Not in my area.
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
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purpleinopp
Jan 24, 2016 11:56 AM CST
Marilyn, I think you mean Coleus isn't a perennial in your area? It can't stay alive where I am outside over winter either, but it's still a perennial. Being taken to where it can't survive doesn't change a plants' basic status as a perennial. That's not a designation given by location, but, to avoid confusion and wrong expectations, plants sold outside of their realm of hardiness are labeled annuals.

Discovering which are really perennials is the first step to keeping the perennial ones alive inside over winter, for those who might want to do that. Many of the basic 'Rainbow' and 'Wizard' Coleus can be grown from seeds, but when one finds a cultivar that can only be vegetatively propagated, it can be worth saving if one would be bummed if unable to find it for sale again the next year.
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Name: Marilyn
Greenwood Village, CO (Zone 5b)
Garden today. Clean next week.
Garden Procrastinator Region: Colorado Heucheras Region: Southwest Gardening Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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CDsSister
Jan 24, 2016 12:54 PM CST
Thanks for the clarification. I was about to google perennial to see what it is defined as in the dictionary. Hilarious!
Saved me some time.
Name: Janis
Austria (Zone 7a)
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Insagi
Jan 24, 2016 2:11 PM CST
I agree. Unfortunately it is not hardy for zone 7. Crying
Name: Marilyn
Greenwood Village, CO (Zone 5b)
Garden today. Clean next week.
Garden Procrastinator Region: Colorado Heucheras Region: Southwest Gardening Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Sempervivums Annuals Foliage Fan Herbs Garden Ideas: Level 2
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CDsSister
Jan 24, 2016 2:14 PM CST
Also am wondering if flies feed on the leaves? By the end of the season my leaves look like lace and it is only the fly that I see on the plant.
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
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purpleinopp
Jan 24, 2016 5:12 PM CST
Several kinds of caterpillars like to eat Coleus leaves. I have no idea what specific critters are around in CO...
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☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Marilyn
Greenwood Village, CO (Zone 5b)
Garden today. Clean next week.
Garden Procrastinator Region: Colorado Heucheras Region: Southwest Gardening Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Sempervivums Annuals Foliage Fan Herbs Garden Ideas: Level 2
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CDsSister
Jan 24, 2016 5:14 PM CST
Any suggestions on how to defeat either the flies or the Caterpillars?

Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Plant Identifier
pirl
Jan 24, 2016 7:02 PM CST
I've only hand picked the caterpillars. Never had flies on coleus. I bring in cuttings and they don't get flies so they aren't using them as a breeding ground here.

The caterpillars look like this: (sorry for the fuzzy photo)
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jan 26, 2016 1:31 PM CST
I like coleus too, they can handle our heat here as long as I get to water it often. But I don't like that at first cold snap in Fall down it goes. But it is a beauty. I cannot have good flowering plants here in summer, we get too shaded, and this plant offers the beauty of its foliage nicely.I really like pinching this plant, gets very bushy nice.
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
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purpleinopp
Jan 26, 2016 5:06 PM CST
Are the flies you're seeing on Coleus whiteflies?

I don't interfere with caterpillars (or any other pest on outside plants) unless they are armyworms munching on something I don't have enough of to share because I don't want to eliminate the meal of whatever predator would like to eat the pests.

Those green ones from Arlene's pic look like they may be cabbage white butterfly larvae. If they were eating too much of my Coleus, I would fling them into the lawn for birds (or whatever) to eat.
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☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Marilyn
Greenwood Village, CO (Zone 5b)
Garden today. Clean next week.
Garden Procrastinator Region: Colorado Heucheras Region: Southwest Gardening Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Sempervivums Annuals Foliage Fan Herbs Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
CDsSister
Jan 26, 2016 5:28 PM CST
My flies are black.

Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
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purpleinopp
Jan 26, 2016 5:32 PM CST
Interesting. I've never heard of a pest of plants that was some kind of black fly. Curious what others have to say...
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☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Marilyn
Greenwood Village, CO (Zone 5b)
Garden today. Clean next week.
Garden Procrastinator Region: Colorado Heucheras Region: Southwest Gardening Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Sempervivums Annuals Foliage Fan Herbs Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
CDsSister
Jan 26, 2016 5:37 PM CST
The flies are black.

Here is the type of damage to which I referred.

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