In late June, I visited Sunrise Greenhouses in Grant Park, IL and purchased a few varieties of coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) to fill a whiskey barrel container in my shade garden. Sunrise had a great collection of coleus, and I ended up coming home with ‘Black Cherry’, ‘Pat Martin’, ‘Redhead’, ‘Alabama’, ‘Henna’ and ‘Trusty Rusty’. I planted them all together with a couple of red begonias and a Swedish Ivy (Plectranthus coleoides).
The container has done quite well at the western edge of the shade garden, where it gets a few hours of late afternoon and evening sun and serves as a transition between the shade plants and a bed of daylilies.
But I’ve noticed that all of the coleus seem to be shifting their color from a dominant burgundy (which they all were when I purchased them), to more of a chartreuse green color. The variety that has shown the greatest shift in color is ‘Trusty Rusty’.
In late June, ‘Trusty Rusty’ was predominantly burgundy-colored, with some chartruese edging. The Ball Horticulture specs on this plant show the green edging as a slight fringe on the outer edge.
By mid-August, ‘Trusty Rusty’ has shifted to a dominantly chartreuse plant with burgundy veining. It is still a beautiful variety of coleus and I plan to use it in my garden in the future, but I’m curious to why it’s shown such a dramatic color shift. Ball lists the plant as sun or shade, so I can’t tell if it’s getting too much or too little sun to retain the burgundy dominance. Perhaps the shift is a desired characteristic that’s not listed in the spec sheets.
Either way, ‘Trusty Rusty’ is a great performer in the garden. I’m just wondering if it should have been named ‘Trusty Chartreuse’ or ‘Unpredictable Rusty’.