Non-Flower Color

“Non-Flower Color”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


To continue yesterday’s topic about having color in the garden that is not flower related, here are a few more plants that I planned to take the place of colorful flowering annuals this year.  The first one is Persian Shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus).  The first time people see this plant, they do not believe it is real.  It is such a vibrant metallic purple.  This does well in partial shade and grows to about three feet tall.  This really adds a pop of color to the garden without any flowers.


Persian Shield (Redu)


Another colorful plant for the front of the border is the variegated Oyster Plant (Tradescantia spathacea).  This is the first year I have them in the garden and am hoping that they will spread out.  This too does well in partial shade where color is often lacking.


Oyster Plant (redu)


Another plant I am using this year instead of flowering annuals for color is the polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya).  I have had White Splash in the entry garden for about five years now, and have just planted Pink Splash in other areas.  Both of these plants are giving consistent color ever since I put them in.


Wh Splash (redu)


Pk Splash (redu)


Last is a plant that will take full shade that I keep in a container on the front porch.  Its variegated foliage brings color to an otherwise all green plant grouping.  This is Tricolor (Stromanthe sanguinea) a tropical plant that has become popular in recent years.  This plant does not like sun and will bring white, red and green color to a shady spot.  Too much sun and the leaves will scorch.


Tristar (redu)


So, once again, here are some plants that are helping me get through this hot summer with a little color for the garden that is not dependent on flowers.




  1. July 17, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    I like your colorful foliage plants, Jan. Along side of plants, or as stand alones, these look like great choices!

    • Jan said,

      July 31, 2009 at 8:21 pm

      Thanks, Jan. I try to have color year round, but when the heat of summer sets in and the flowers stop coming, foliage is the way to go.

  2. Janet said,

    July 18, 2009 at 6:13 am

    Our extension agent has a big grouping of Stromanthe sanguinea in his garden and it is really neat! I had the Pink Polka Dot plant a couple years ago and was really surprised to see how tall it got! (3 ft.) and then it bloomed these little purple flowers. Kind of fun! I have Tradescatia ‘Purple Heart’ that came back strong and last year I added Tradescatia ‘Purple Heart- Pink and Purple’ it is just NOW coming up!

    • Jan said,

      July 31, 2009 at 8:25 pm

      Janet, does he keep the Stromanthe in the garden year round? I thought it would freeze. My polka dot plants get tall, too, though I do trim them back during the summer. I have had them reseed if the I let the flowers develop in the fall. I love the deep color of purple heart.

  3. donna said,

    July 18, 2009 at 7:18 am

    Jan, these are wonderful suggestions for adding color to shaded areas. I’ve seen Persian Shield on other garden blogs also and I’m fascinated with how it looks. I have Pink Splash growing in a container with Impatiens. Gets some morning sun and has stayed very pink. I like it a lot.

    • Jan said,

      July 31, 2009 at 8:31 pm

      Donna, Persian Shield is such an unusual plant that it almost looks fake. The colors are gorgeous. Pink splash is also great. I have it in the garden as well as in a container with other plants.

  4. Jake said,

    July 19, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    I almost bought some Hypoestes at Lowe’s this year, but I had never heard of them and didn’t know how hard they were to grow. I do want to buy some Persian Shield as well.


    • Jan said,

      July 31, 2009 at 8:32 pm

      Jake, you will love Persian Shield. The splash plants are super easy to grow and can be easily rooted, too.

  5. Sweet Bay said,

    July 23, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    I really like the leaves of the Tricolor — it looks so different, very striking.

    • Jan said,

      July 31, 2009 at 8:34 pm

      My sister has this plant in a very large container, and it is so striking. I can’t wait until mine grows larger.

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