In the Garden:
Tropical South
December, 2003
Regional Report

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Bright reds are a feature of Acalypha 'Inferno'. This plant provides year-round color if we do not have a freeze.

Year-Round Color

We are fortunate to live in south Florida where color is possible year-round. Pink angelwing begonia is one of the plants that provides color throughout the year. This tall beauty features hanging clusters of pink blooms on a tall, vase-shaped plant growing to 7 to 8 feet in height. In her new book, Best Garden Color for Florida, (Color Garden, Inc., 2003; $39.95) Pam Crawford rates this plant as the best for reliable blooms. It does well in a filtered shade location and is best at the back of the border.

Golden shrimp plant is another reliable beauty. This shrub can reach about 4 to 5 feet, and the large yellow spikes of bloom are carried over the foliage. This is another plant for part shade.

The ti plant offers abundant foliage color that is extra bright during the winter months. Colors include red, purple, pink, cream, lime, almost black, and raspberry. These plants tend to be bare at the base so place shorter plants in front.

Crotons offer great color throughout the year. Their leaves have a wide range of shapes -- from corkscrew to oakleaf -- and a wide spectrum of color in varying patterns. Pink, red, yellow, white, and green are among the featured colors.

Copperleaf is another bright landscape plant. It comes in an increasing number of varieties and is quite unstable. Plants can sport different leaf shapes and colors on the same plant. Look for reds, pinks, copper, brown, and green in various patterns. Acalypha wilkesiana 'Inferno' is a new copperleaf with extra bright foliage during the winter months. It should be noted that cold weather can affect the foliage of these tropicals so zones 10 B and 11 would be preferred locations for the copperleaf group.

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