Summer Favorites

“Summer Favorites”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


We all have favorite plants.  Ones we never tire of seeing in our garden or extolling the virtues of to anyone who will listen.  For the summer, I have two plants that I simply must have every year.  I don’t know why they are my favorites, but I do know that every time I look at them, I smile.

The first is the Gingerland caladium.  This is one of the more sun tolerant of the caladiums and was first planted in my garden three years ago.  I have it in the entry garden where I used to have a summer color scheme of red, white, and green.  Now that I have changed that to red, purple, and green, these caladiums still look fantastic with those colors, too.


Gingerland Caladium (redu)


My sister has planted Gingerland in her garden, too, and she has told me every time she looks at hers, she thinks of me.  I guess that is because I have raved and praised this particular caladium so much (maybe ad nauseum?).

The next plant is one that I have had in my summer garden for over ten years.  It is a coleus that goes by several names, but I usually find it available as Solar Sunrise.  Again, it is the color combination that I just love.  The purple, chartreuse, and streaks of red make this a stand out.  The fact that it can get very large is also a plus.  It makes a small shrub by mid summer.


Coleus (redu)


Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of great plants in a summer garden that I really love, but these two plants, for some unknown reason, really are my favorites, and they  must be planted every year.


  1. Jake said,

    July 9, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    I do like Caladiums and I love that one, it reminds me of Christmas. I also like the Coleus, but for some reason I always neglect to put any in my yard.


    • Jan said,

      July 14, 2009 at 3:48 pm

      I have been putting more coleus in the garden in the last few years. They seem to be more colorful longer than many annual flowers.

  2. July 10, 2009 at 12:56 am

    They are so pretty and I can see why they are favorites. I’m a bit stuck on Bee Balm and phlox at the moment. No particular varieties cause I’m still messing with the new gardens. We shall see what survives the winter and lives to come back next.

    • Jan said,

      July 14, 2009 at 3:50 pm

      Anna, I have the Jacob Kline bee balm that I just love. It is such a gorgeous red. I also have the pink, but it has not bloomed yet. I know a new garden is a lot of work, but it can also be so much fun putting it together.

  3. Randy said,

    July 10, 2009 at 6:16 am

    I was just thinking of Caladiums yesterday. It’s another plant I’m looking forward to growing in a few years.

    • Jan said,

      July 14, 2009 at 3:51 pm

      Randy, I love my caladiums. I have several clumps that have been in the ground for years, but I am thinking this fall I should take them up and replant next spring since they seem a little crowded. I love caladiums in containers on a porch or patio. It seems to just shout summer.

  4. Mary Beth said,

    July 10, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Love your gingerland caladiums and coleus – mine have all melted in our horrible heat – I’m already looking forward to the Fall.

    • Jan said,

      July 14, 2009 at 3:53 pm

      Mary Beth, how awful that you have lost yours already. A few of my pink ones look a little tired, and I am sure it is because of the heat because I have been watering them to keep them alive. I am looking forward to fall also.

  5. July 10, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    I love caladiums too! I always plant them. This year I grew them from bulbs and they were so easy. I’m going to it again next year. -Jackie

    • Jan said,

      July 14, 2009 at 3:55 pm

      Jackie, I just love the way caladiums just brighten up a shady spot, and now that they have ones that can take more sun, what could be better? I try and add a few bulbs each year.

  6. Laura Z said,

    July 11, 2009 at 3:21 am

    I love caladiums! But it gets way too hot for me to grow them. Thanks for the photos!

    • Jan said,

      July 14, 2009 at 3:56 pm

      Laura, these certainly need the shade and moisture to survive a hot summer. Have you thought about growing some in a container? You might be able to have a few that way.

  7. Zindagi said,

    July 11, 2009 at 4:10 am


    Well both these plants are in my whishlist, since a lot of construction work is going on at home i was not able to get these plants for this year but surely buy them for next year.
    I loved you Caladium. It is very beautiful

    Thanks for Sharing

    • Jan said,

      July 14, 2009 at 3:58 pm

      Zindagi, it must be disappointing to have to put your garden on hold because of construction. Well, at least, this will allow you to plan for next summer. I just love coleus and caladiums and am disappointed come winter when they disappear.

  8. Charlotte said,

    July 11, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Thank you so much for identifying these for me. I’ve seen a lot of them in Florida, but never managed to get their names – sadly they won’t grow here in the UK!

  9. Jan said,

    July 14, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    They won’t grow even in containers? These are hot summer plants that are a mainstay in our gardens. Of course, I know what it is like to want to grow plants that just won’t make it in our climate. I would love to have peonies, but sadly they won’t grow here; our winters are not cold enough for them to bloom.

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