Fab Foliage Friday

So many coleus, so little time. As a longtime leaf lover, I'm always flying my freaky foliage flag high--which means I can always make room for a new coleus or or two--but I also reserve a spot-or five-for returning favorites. Topping the old-but-good list of late is 'Sky Fire' a boldly hued coleus that grows to about 18 inches wide and high. Its deep, dark burgundy, shimmering chartreuse and yippie-yai-yay yellows make it invaluable in the hot color combinations on which I thrive.

As you might guess from their square stems, this genus (Solenostemon) is a member of the mint family; as you might not guess, they were first found on the Indonesian isle of Java, but have since been hybridized with countless near relatives to create the rich assortment of lovely leaves we know today. These dedicated garden workhorses serve as star players in pots, in the ground and just about anywhere you can put something with roots Contrary to popular opinion, they thrive in full sun, which gives the leaves their most vibrant coloration. Next year, as usual, I'll have many more, but one thing is certain-'Sky Fire' will be back, blazing away in the garden.

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