6 top picks
Silver plectranthus (P. argentatus)
Native to Australian tropical and subtropical rainforests, with plush, velvety leaves and autumn spikes of lavender flowers. It is one of the few silver-leafed plants to enjoy damp shade, but copes with dry shade. It sprawls, so cut back in winter to keep tidy. Look for compact ‘Silver Shield’.
60cm tall 1m
Coleus (P. scutellarioides syn. Solenostemon scutellarioides)
Extensively hybridised with plush-leafed cultivars in gold, red, yellow, cream, green and white. Plants have broad, oval or narrow, tapering leaves, with toothed or wavy edges.
P. parviflorus ‘Blue Spires’
A native, with aromatic, green and white variegated foliage and perfumed, blue-lilac flowers held above foliage from spring to autumn. Good in cottage gardens, pots and baskets.
hybrids P. ‘Mona Lavender’
A neat, upright shrub smothered with spectacular spikes of lavender flowers from late summer through autumn. Green leaves have purple undersides. All hybrids make great container and basket plants. Bred at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town, South Africa.
P. ‘Velvet Elvis’
Deep green leaves with almost black undersides form a dramatic backdrop for plumes of lavender blooms from late summer through autumn.
P. ‘Cape Angels’
Available with striking white, pink, purple and magenta flowers from summer to autumn. The flowers are held above green foliage, which has purple undersides.