Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Foliage Friday: Crotons

In a way, it's strange to be thinking of crotons as the weather gets cooler.  These tropical shrubs are native to southeast Asia and really love warm, humid climates.  But the colors are perfect for fall, and croton breeders have introduced so many varieties that there's sure to be something for everyone.
Crotons for fall color
I have better luck, in fact, keeping my crotons alive from season to season than I do with mums.  I'm done with mums, I think.  They never look good once I get them home from the nursery but they never die, either.  Which is the worst of both worlds, if you know what I mean.  I planted mums in my east-facing flowerbed four or five years ago and they've survived just fine.  They spread, and they bloom (in their own good time -- spring), but they aren't all that pretty.  If there were something wrong with them, I could get rid of them.  But no.  For me, they're just adequate.
I'll take the crotons, please!
Unlike crotons, which are showy container plants in our three hot seasons and houseplants for our short winter.  My crotons fuss a bit if I leave them outside once the nights are in the low 40s.  They also like to be watered evenly, in that famous "moist yet well-draining" soil.  (Where do you get that, I wonder?)  Once they drop those lower leaves, they don't replace them.  Keep them out of the hot afternoon sun but brighter light means better colors.  I love those rich colors and interesting leaves.  Look for newer varieties like 'Picasso's Paintbrush' and 'Revolution,' but don't forget the old favorites, like 'Petra' and 'Mamey.'

Picasso's Paintbrush


  1. Hi Elizabeth, I'm not familiar with crotons but I particularly Revolution and Picasso's Paintbrush.cheers, catmint

  2. I love the variation in color of crotons.But like your mums, which I never have any problems with, my crotons are never as nice as in the greenhouse. Looks like we have the opposite problem.