Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Friday, September 13, 2013

My Favorite Plant in the Garden Right Now...

...Is Perilla frutescens 'Magilla.' I bought this Coleus look-alike earlier this spring at Sky Nursery, which I blogged about here. It's done very well in my garden in the ground, as a companion to Echinacea 'After Midnight.' It's growing in a bed near the stream, under the spreading branches of a red twig dogwood. Also in the bed with it are a handful of Black Mondo Grass, some Prairie Smoke, and a couple of daylilies, which have long ago petered out and are now just strappy foliage.

It has been wonderfully drought-tolerant all summer, never missing a beat even when I forgot to water that bed. The enormous Darmera nearby was not so forgiving. According to Ball Horticultural, it's sterile, so no rampant self-sowing like the all-purple version of Perilla. In fact, it hasn't even flowered yet, so unlike Coleus I haven't needed to pinch it back at all. I haven't given it any fertilizer either. I think next year it will make a great companion to the tropical Cannas, bananas, and Colocasias that I'd like to put in my new tropical bed. I plan to take cuttings and root them like I would a Coleus, which I hear should work well. From what I've read online, it takes to rooting in water quite well. I've also found references online to it being deer-resistant (a problem I don't have with my fenced back garden). Of course, deer will try anything once.

It's a nice, compact plant.

Love that magenta stripe down the center of the leaf

It's been a great companion to Echinacea 'After Midnight'

Here are some stats.

Height: 18-24 inches
Width: 18-24 inches
Hardiness: Zone 10-11, so for me it's an annual
Sun: Full Sun to Part Shade
Soil: Fertile, well-drained

The Favorite Plant in the Garden meme is hosted by Loree at danger garden, who's current post is about Senecio mandraliscae, or Blue Chalk Sticks, a tender succulent. Check out her post here and see what other bloggers are writing about as their favorites.