Purple-leaved companions

weekendweeder(5A NY)June 24, 2013

This weekend I added Astilbe 'Delft Lace' and Ligularia dentata 'Osiris Fantaisie' as companions to Paul's Glory, Satisfaction, Orange Marmalade, Earth Angel, and Miss Linda Smith.

Osiris Fantasie brings out MLS's scapes particularly well!

Further beyond, you can kind of spy Palace Purple heuchera keeping company with Dancing Queen.

Anyone else have purple in his/her garden?

This post was edited by weekendweeder on Mon, Jun 24, 13 at 12:33

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Nice, Weekendweeder!

I have several purple Heucheras, and dark Actaea, but most dont keep a good color here because they dont get enough sun- the just turn an odd green purple. I have delft lace Astilbe too, which doesnt stay purple for me either (love the flowers though)

The two heucheras that I really like are Guardian Angel, in this pic in front of Thunderbolt

And 'Binoche', which is squished into this bed. This one does not turn green on me. With more sun it would probably be a black- purple. Oh, and I always use lots of the dark leaved begonias for that "purple" effect.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 1:20PM
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weekendweeder(5A NY)

Heuchs seem to love your garden, coll! Are Guardian Angel and Binoche finicky? I always have to hold my breath each spring with mine to see which ones will actually come up. Amethyst Mist and Caramel seem to be the hardiest/most reliable in my growing conditions.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 1:33PM
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Binoche was new last year, but Guardian Angel has been great. Often Heucheras get that tall woody stem in th middle, but GA is as flush to the ground today as it was when I planted it in 2006. Highly recommend that one! I got Caramel last year based on good reviews of its performance.

Also, I was also losing many Heucheras or watching them dwindle away each year. I dug one up and happened to break off a main piece of the crown. There was some kind of larvae inside- ick!! I found out its some type of root weevil....so I suspect that was behind most of my losses.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 1:39PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI



    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 10:40PM
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paula_b_gardener 5b_ON(5b)

I have a few purples in mine. The hosta at the back all by itself is montana so I have given her room to grow.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 11:09PM
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I love the way you all mix in those purples. . .nice!

I would like to put more in and have the best of intentions, but for some unknown reason my finger keeps hitting that hosta button until my pockets are empty. . .Wonder what causes that. . . . .

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 7:48AM
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How do you get a Columbine to look that good? I have four or five that made it from seed three years ago and they don't look anywhere near like that! I may see a half dozen flowers each plant.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 8:05AM
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Got a couple of these 2012 spring from a garden club sale - Perilla. It's an annual, but reseeds - got seedlings from both plants this spring. Pics is from August last year - seedlings are pretty small right now.


    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 8:40AM
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weekendweeder(5A NY)

I agree with gamountains: I can't get my columbine to look that good either. There is a tiny purple columbine planted btwn the Albos in the last photo but it's barely noticeable.

Love seeing all your companions. Never thought about perilla bc I don't bother with annuals, but if it reseeds, I'll look into it!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 8:47AM
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I also have purple Heuchera and seems to disappear or fade in the background because of the color of the soil although now it is blooming shows up more. The Heukera that does stand out in amongst the hosta is called snow angel and can't seem to find another to add to collection this year / The flower stems are such a bright coral color and adds so much interest to the different greens

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 12:49PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

I know folks say columbine are hard to transplant, but that one in my pic is in its second or third home (maybe transplanting acts like throwing a hosta on the driveway). Probably 4-5 years old and the umteenth generation from seed from a plant or seeds bought years ago. I move columbine all the time, give them away, etc with a 70-80% success rate.


    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 4:09PM
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my Ligularia has deep purple backs on their leaves but I seem to have something that likes eating and making holes in them too. I have three of these. The other one I have doesn't have the purple on the backs of the leaf and the chewing bugs leave it alone

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 4:30PM
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Perilla is pretty while it is young, but by the time it gets ready to go to seed, it "uglies out" as they say. I always leave a few for seed but pull most of them out as they mature.

My favorite purple is purple oxalis triangularis. It grows from a rhizome/bulb and is hardy to zone 6. My camera is in the shop, so here's a link with a picture.

It also makes a good houseplant.


Here is a link that might be useful: purple oxalis

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 8:00PM
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paula_b_gardener 5b_ON(5b)

I really like the Heuchera, Snow Angel - very pretty.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 11:15PM
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paula_b_gardener 5b_ON(5b)

I really like the Heuchera, Snow Angel - very pretty.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 11:16PM
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I keep a hanging basket of the old fashioned houseplants--commonly known as Wandering Jew and Moses in the Basket--going over the winter. In the spring, just break off pieces and stick them in the ground. The majority will quickly root and take off. Love the purple accents in the garden and also in containers with annuals like impatiens.

Another good one to use is the purple ornamental sweet potato vine. Cuttings are very easy to root. I have managed to keep one going in the house over the winter so you can avoid having to repurchase even that one.

Love the heucheras but have only one so far. Purple Palace found for cheap at a yard sale but I think it needs more sun because it's a sickly green-purple color right now. I've balked at the price of heucheras because I can get a nice daylily or another hosta for almost what the heuchies cost! Priorities, you know. But I would fork over for that Snow Angel if I ever find one! That's a beauty!!

And I must, must get some of that Columbine, Tsunga. Love it.

Mosswitch, I have that purple Oxalis, too. Started with 3 of the little tubers late last summer but only two managed to survive because I kept forgetting to water it. Planted them in a planter with pink impatiens and they're loving the outdoors. The oxalis is just sooo cool; it's already a favorite.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 6:47AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

ci_lantro, FYI the Purple Oxalis
If you are bringing your oxalis inside for the winter it will look like it is dying but it takes a break. All the leaves will die down and you may not see anything for a month or two. You can stop watering and when you see leaves appear again you can begin to water again.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 10:36AM
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I keep oxalis in a pot with my brugmansia year-round, if I need more in the garden I just dig out a few tubers and plant them. It never dies down in the pot.


    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 10:44AM
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Love the oxalis, have one which almost died but is coming back finally.

I am totally amused by the purple sweet potato.....which makes huge tubers and it overwinters here. In fact, my DH has tried to eradicate it, to no avail. I prefer the chartreuse ornamental sweet tater though, it covers the beds like mulch, and give protection to the hot roots and the critters snaking through the leaf cover. I don't save pieces, since there are always new tubers growing out. My youngest dachshund daughter loves to eat the long skinny taters, they are firm and help keep her teeth clean. Very high in Vitamin A, you know, also good for parrots.

As an annual type of plant, the purple coleus can fill in between green hosta very nicely. They like shade too, although there are now the exotic "sun coleus" which look gorgeous as well. Those don't overwinter as well, but clippings root nicely for a new start in the spring.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 12:51PM
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Marquest...thank you so much for the info on the oxallis. I'll know to let mine take a rest.

Mosswitch--my oxalis seems so happy outside with the impatiens this summer. I'm hoping that it multiplies but love it so much that I'll prolly just order some more off eBay.

Mocc, I sooo wish that I had that sweet potato problem. Just love them and they are so expensive to buy. Just paid 68 cents apiece for them yesterday at Aldi. Of course, I should be happy just to find them. Before our Wal-Mart expanded to a superstore w/ groceries and before Aldi, fresh sweet potatoes were just about impossible to buy here except for a narrow window around the holidays. My parrots love them, too and I suppose the dogs would but they're too pricey to feed to dogs, least ways, 85# Labradors. I expect that if Mac (the lab) developed a real taste for them, he'd succeed in eradicating them for your DH! It wouldn't be pretty, though. ;-)

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 8:54PM
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a nice anual is persian shield (stobilanthes?). keeps a nice purple. has some silver in the leaf too. and is not too common. grows about 3 feet tall. does best in dappled shade. wilts in full hot sun. i usually have almost 10 on them. also the purple moses in the basket. which can handle full sun. starts very easy from cuttings put directly in the ground.(Tradescantia spathacea)

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 10:01PM
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Ci, that is the funniest post all day! I can imagine what a flower bed would look like with that lab....my best friend had her yard destroyed by her two until they really grew old.

Something as simple as the way potatos grow here and not there so much, it brings home the difference in growing conditions better than any zone chart ever could. My gosh, I know the sweet potatos take 100 days of hot weather to make the roots. They do that here, some as big a root as a grapefruit. The flesh is rather red and it is highly fibrous. Not inedible, but they aren't the commercially grown food sweet taters. The fingerlings are the ones my dachshund pup is digging for mostly. Now and then she brings one in the house, since it is too hot to sit outdoors if you have a black outfit on. Smart little girl.

But they create a very nice living mulch or ground cover.Since they won't make tubers before cold weather up where you live, they would make good companion plants.

Could you not pot up one or two this year, and keep them hot until they form a tuber? The tuber is like any other perennial that goes dormant in the winter, to resprout in the spring. It might be left in the soil, I don't know ANYTHING about over wintering in cold country. Then if you took the tuber out of the soil for the winter (like caladium bulbs say), you'd have to keep the root healthy over the winter. Mine go dormant in the ground, then send up shoots in the spring when it warms up. They really look beautiful running solid chartreuse. I bet blue hosta would be great with the ornamentals planted around them. They would not get out of control up there.

However, as you can see in this picture taken last October, they do not play well with others. These are the green/purple sweet potato vines. I'll look for the chartreuse ones later.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 12:32AM
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