Jasmina Dolce is managing editor of GPN magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 847.391.1004.
Over the past few years, I’ve been noticing more and more foliage varieties being introduced. And that trend was definitely made apparent at this year's California Spring Trials. As much as gardeners love flowers, foliage plants can make just as much as a statement in the garden as a petunia. They make an excellent component in mixed combinations and in the landscape, and can be just as diverse as traditional bedding plants. Also, it seems like breeders are adding new, non-traditional colors to the foliage category.
Here are some of my favorite foliage plants I saw on display at the 2013 California Spring Trials...
Hort Couture always displays unique varieties. This year, one of the most interesting introductions was acalypha ‘Jungle Cloak’. It has spectacular leaf colors that range from copper to brown.
Green Fuse Botanicals added a few new colors to its Shadow King series of rex begonia. These "lifestyle plants" are great indoors but will also carry over to the outdoors. My favorite was 'Shadow King Green Pink Tips'.
At Skagit Gardens, we were really impressed with brunnera ‘Silver Heart’. It has thick and tough foliage and can hold up to heat and humidity.
We saw quite a few new coleus introductions at the EuroAmerican Propagators stop. This one, 'Dream Catcher', has a jumping color gene — green, yellow, chartreuse and burgundy. This eye-catching variety will do well in landscapes.
The Royal Hawaiian colocasia at Plant Haven are always fun to look at and touch. ‘Hawaiian Punch’ has tropical green foliage with an attractive red margin and red veins held on glossy red stems.
Greenex had some of its sansevieria on display at its trials this year, and it seemed like every attendee was impressed. These plants are easy to grow and quick to finish. And you can get as fun as you want with them!
At Ball Ingenuity, we were introduced to the new Kong Jr. series of coleus. Their leaves are 30 percent smaller than the original Kong, which means easier shipping with less breakage.
What are your favorite foliage plants? How are they selling this year? Shoot me an e-mail, and let me know. I'd love to hear from you!