Saturday, April 11, 2015

Sea Lion and Polka Dots: Coleus and Begonia

If you had asked me a few months ago how polka dots were invented, I would have told you they were a product of the endlessly fascinating human imagination. But, in fact, there is a polka dotted plant. Who knew?

I came across it this spring, when I was exploring the annuals at Rosedale, my favorite nursery. This one is so pretty, I might have to take it indoors this fall -- something I never do. In fact, there are two plants I might take indoors. Or maybe three.

I've had houseplants in the past, I usually do still have one or two, but I'm notoriously bad with them. I forget to water them, and they get dustier and dustier and the sad ones hang on far too long before they die. My favorites are the rosemarys. They look like they're still alive, and then you go to water them and touch the foliage and they've dried on the bush, totally dead as a door nail.

The last time I killed a round of houseplants, I was living in the city, and I put the live ones out on the sidewalk, one by one, and one by one they disappeared into other city dwellers apartments, usually within a half hour.

But this plant, I've already had to work to keep alive. I brought it home and put it on the patio, and it almost burned to a crisp within a week. So then I put it behind another plant on the shadiest side of the patio, and it did fine, but was completely and totally invisible. Why buy a plant like this, if its not visible.

So yesterday, I shifted around some plants. I took this coleus, which is named sea lion, out of the yard, where it was baking and had stopped growing, and put it in a pot on the front porch, where it is a perfect foil for the polka dotted begonia.

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