Redhead coleus

A variety called Redhead is bred to hold its color in the sun.



Each year, the National Gardening Bureau selects one annual to receive special recognition, and 2015 has been designated Year of the Coleus. I’m pleased to see this plant some attention. It’s a sturdy performer that doesn’t demand much from the gardener.

Coleus was popular among gardeners in the early 1900s, who created showy beds that spawned the term “carpet bedding.” Today, coleus comes in more colors, forms and textures, making them ideal for pots and planters. Look for compact, rounded types, upright forms and trailers, which work well in hanging baskets. What’s more, many varieties will happily grow in part sun.

One of my favorites is Sedona, a bronzy variety that I’ve mixed with lantana and zinnias in hot colors. With regular fertilizing — and watering when rainfall — Sedona looks great all summer.

For more information, read How to Grow Coleus.

Founded in 1920, the National Garden Bureau is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life through increased use of seeds and plants. In addition to coleus, this year’s other showcased plants are gaillardia (perennial) and sweet pepper (edible).