Coleus, dressed in orangey reds, or deep maroons and bright greens, or solid limey green; any way you look at this group of plants you must admit they are foliage fashionistas There are varieties for sun, shade, and anything in between. Some are tall, others short, and the amazing range of colors from the ever increasing varieties allows just about anyone to use them in gardens and containers – I do both. Coleus are easy to start from cuttings or seed – I do both. Plus, they make good houseplants for all the northern gardeners – like me – who crave color during winter months. Coleus adorn my kitchen windowsill (bright light but no direct sun) most of the year. In late summer, I load fresh cuttings into vases of water and wait for them to root. From rooted cuttings they become small potted plants. Some years they adorn window sills all around the house, other years I manage to save just a few – usually depending on how I'm able to control aphids – but most often you will find my sills holding a coleus collection.
A view of some foliage from my snow-covered gardens reveals some still green herbs frozen in time ( I'd show a photo of thyme here, but it's all under snow). An earlier fast freeze caught both my Golden Edged sage and Hidcote lavender with some color still in their leaves. Look closely … very closely. You'll see it. Northern gardeners learn to take pleasure in the slightest hint of green during our white and grey winters. Usually the sage leaves turn brown and fall, so it's fun to seen them fast-frozen, color and all. I doubt this anomaly will last long – the temperatures in Connecticut might reach 40 degrees today. But the lavender will likely hold it's grey-green foliage until closer to spring, when I'll cut back it's tired stalks to allow fresh new growth.