Flowers of the Bay - Coleus

 

June is the ideal time to 'window shop' for plants. All over the course there are perennials in show, trees with full canopies and eye-catching annuals.  As you make the turn past the clubhouse you can rest your eyes on the soothing flower beds and forget about that two footer on the last hole. I often overhear players chatting about the gardens and I am happy to spark conversation and answer questions the best I can.  Last summer one of the hottest topics was a bushy plant with large colourful leaves.  

Coleus or Solenostemon scutellarioids is a great plant to know about for its shade and part shade tolerance. The deeper the shade the more intense the rich coleus leaves will become. When planted in sunnier spots the dark leaves will fade slightly or produce brighter new growth. However, all varieties are bred to tolerate and thrive in full sun. This means that no matter what area you are looking to put a coleus, you can find one that will be perfect. 

Foliage can be found in many interesting patterns and colour combinations including green, yellow, pink, red, black (deep purple) and many more. Two varieties of coleus, a deep purple variety and a shocking lime green, are planted by the first tee and starter stand. More can be spotted by the kiosk and at #7 back tees. A rusty, bronze leafed variety lines the beds at the Cordova Bay road intersection. 

Don't discount coleus as only a bedding plant. It thrives in containers and pots, providing both interest and size. Under most conditions, coleus can grow to be nearly two feet tall and bush out from 12 to 16 inches. A tall spiked flower will appear later in the summer which can be pinched off to encourage more bushy growth, or left for the bees to enjoy. Coleus is a tender annual in our climate, meaning that it will look great until the fall but will have to be removed from your garden for the winter. Keep coleus moist and plant in nearly any soil as long as there is decent drainage. Make sure to lookout for slugs, especially if your coleus is planted in the shade where the temperatures are cooler. You can find most of the varieties mentioned here at your quality greenhouse or garden store. 

Next time you are out shopping for plants or playing a round here at Cordova Bay, try and spot coleus in its different colours and locations. I hope you enjoy the lush foliage of this star performer and keep it in mind for your personal gardens.  

Emily Richardson

Horticulturalist