Back in the garden

Unfortunately, our ridiculously cold and long Ohio winter killed off some of my plants in my yard.  A lot of my lavender did not make it, and I had to prune my hydrangea way back because so many of the branches died off.

I’ve got some nice annuals now though, including pansies in my window-boxes and these twin planters that I made up on my front porch.

You may recognize the tall, red-and-green leafy plant in the back.  It’s called coleus and it is a very cool plant.

The name “coleus” actually refers to a defunct genus of plants.  These plants are now classed in the genera Solenostemon or Plectranthus.

Coleus is wonderful because it provides height, texture, and color all the time without the blooming/dying cycle of flowers.  It is very easy to grow.


It is also very easy to propagate.  You can take off a bit of stem and plop it in some soil or water, and it will start rooting and growing into a plant of its own.  This is called striking or cutting.

As I was making the planters, I accidentally broke off a side-shoot off one of the coleus plants, making it less “bushy” than the other one in the matching planter.  So, I just stuck the broken stem in the soil next to the actual plant.  The stem is still perfectly happy, and the planter looks just as visually full as the other.

The “real” plant on the left, and the broken off stem on the right.

You may also recognize coleus as the Eddisian “coward’s leaf” from Megan Whalen Turner’s book The Thief.  It does have a distinctive leaf shape, but here in the real world it is not known to be poisonous; at most it may be mildly toxic for pets (but I have found no studies to back this claim).

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