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Red and Purple Foliage

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September 16, 2019

Some of the most stunning effects a gardener can take advantage of is growing plants with vibrant red or purple foliage. Here’s a few of my favorites. We’re used to seeing large patches of vibrant green ornamental sweet potato ground cover. But I think I’ve found a new favorite that’s quite different. Sweet Caroline Red Hawk Sweet Potato Vine is a fine choice for the garden with its attractive deeply cut lobed leaves which emerge light green and transition to a vibrant red throughout the season. Sweet Caroline Red Hawk has a dense trailing habit, eventually spilling over the edges of the landscape bed. It has a relatively fine texture which sets it apart from other garden plants. A great Alternanthera selection is Purple Prince, a tropical stunner with ravishing, splashy, colorful foliage. The spreading masses of Purple Prince rolls out a magic carpet of burgundy-purple and its beautiful leaves are complemented by reddish ruby rose undersides. The colors intensify when grown in the full sun. This plant thrives in blast furnace heat and sun; requires little water and is disease-resistant. I think that garden plants with red foliage are stunning. A favorite is Dragons Breath celosia with its unique red-green foliage that is topped with blazing red feathery flowers that resemble flames licking upwards. A great feature is the color intensifies during the harsh conditions of the summer season. You can’t go wrong with these bright plants in your landscape. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman and I’ll see you next time on Southern Gardening.

Department: Coastal Research & Extension Center

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