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Impulse Plants - Colorful Foliage Provides Season Long Color

This short article highlights shrubs with interesting foliage

Contributors: Tim Wood

This short article highlights shrubs with interesting foliage

Color sells! That's been the "green industry's" mantra for the last ten years and for good reason. People are buying colorful plants. If you look at homes that were landscaped twenty years ago, you'll most likely see evergreens neatly trimmed into meatball, soap boxes and tuna cans. Junipers and Taxus in the North, and Japanese Holly in the South was the typical American landscape. Today's landscapes are noticeable different. Diversity and color are the norm and a whole new generation of homeowners are fueling the movement. First time homeowners, faced with tearing out old overgrown evergreen landscapes, are looking to create a new look for a new generation. There're looking for color.

Imagine being in a wallpaper store with a friend. You happen upon an end-cap displaying an expensive, brightly colored floral print wallpaper. "Wow - is that beautiful", you say to your friend. "I've got to have it". Even though you weren't looking for wallpaper, don't need wallpaper or don't even know where your going to hang the paper - you buy six rolls just because you fell in love with it. Sound stupid? That's how many people buy plants.
Few products have the impulse appeal that plants have. Who can resist the beautiful colors. It's hard to pass up a Bleeding Heart in bloom. We have all felt the tug of a colorful plant and have reacted impulsively. When in bloom plants sell themselves. But what happens when the Bleeding Heart is done blooming? The sales fall off as fast as the flowers. If you sell Forsythia, Azaleas, or even perennials for that matter you have experienced first hand this dramatic sales drop. The problem is that most plants typically bloom for only two to three weeks. That's not much time to move a plant and make your profits. What can be done to solve the problem? Offer more plants that look great even when they're not in bloom. Plants with brightly colored foliage provide colorful impulse appeal even after the flowers have long faded. Colorful leaves can extend your selling time and generate added impulse sales. Your customers appreciate the easy, dependable, season long color these plants provide. That's a colorful combination that makes everyone happy.

Looking for something new as well as colorful? Consider some of the exciting new flowering shrubs with colorful foliage. Here are just a few plants that are certain to create a colorful splash in your garden.

Hydrangea is very popular because of its big beautiful flowers, but are you offering varieties with fantastic foliage? Hydrangea macrophylla 'Variegata' is one of the best hardy foliage plants available. It's every bit as attractive as Hosta, if not more so. In severe climates it may not be the most reliable bloomer, but who cares, it has great color and texture. It also has the added benefit of thriving in shady locations and there is demand for colorful plants that grow in the shade.

Euonymus fortunei BLONDY® 'Interbolwji' (see photo) is a brand new impulse plant from Europe.  It's worth looking for this bright eyed beauty. Each round leaf is dotted with a big rich yellow thumbprint which is surrounded by a dark green margin. Even the stems are a cheerful yellow. This low mounded shrub originated as a chance bud sport on Euonymus 'Sunspot'. Growers in Europe who grew both Blondy and Sunspot found themselves stuck with a lot of Sunspot that wouldn't sell. The difference is that dramatic.  Being an evergreen, your customers will be able to enjoy Blondy's colorful charm all year long.

Purple plants have more customer appeal then any plants. Just look at Palace Purple Coral Bells, Crimson Pygmy Barberry, Purpleleaf Plumb, and Purple Smokebush and you should see a trend.  Weigela WINE & ROSES® 'Alexandria' is an exciting new purple leafed plant with vivid rose pink flowers in spring. Its big, shinny leaves are an exquisite deep wine purple. Its foliage is so attractive it's being sold in Europe as a cut branch for use in flower arrangements. In the garden or in a garden center display it makes a great combination with Russian Sage (Perovskia) with its silver foliage and soft blue flowers. As a bouquet, its fantastic mixed with Taplow Blue Globe Thistle (Echinops).  Don't confuse Wine & Roses with other "so called" purple leafed Weigela like 'Java Red'. Like its name indicates, 'Java Red' has lighter coffee-red or copper colored leaves. There is no comparison between these two plants.


 By Tim Wood  All rights reserved ©  Spring Meadow Nursery, Inc.


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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Tue, 09/27/2011 - 1:48pm

Mine are 2 years old and doing very well. We planted a row of 12, hoping to make a blooming hedge; to help cut
down the road noise and dust as well. So Far, So Good. Barb in Greenwood, IN.

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