Common name: Persian Shield
Plant Link: http://plantsdatabase.com/go/516/
Bought this plant at a flea market (southwestern Ontario) last year. Vendor did not know what it was and I couldn't find it anywhere. Happenchance I was watching Paul James "the gardner guy" last fall and lo and behold he was featuring it so I finally had a handle on it. Meanwhile I had it growing in full sun and it was doing perfectly (but our full sun summers do not have the same heat units as the southern states). Yes, cuttings rooted easily inside overwinter and I have just taken another round for this year. I love it - but so far none of mine have reached over l8 inches high.
This finally showed up in the nurseries here (Parks Seed has offered it for years as an annual) in Northern CA. It is actually a tender evergreen perennial here. It does NOT take full sun here -- our dry, intense summer sun literally bleaches it to a crisp.
I had to quickly move it to a shaded bed where it is bright, but gets no more than 3 hours of direct sun a day. It is much happier, and has gotten about 2' high and as wide. However, the most intense coloration is on the top leaves only.
An extremely useful, and handsome, foliage plant. People have commented on it when viewing our garden. I have it intermixed with pelargoniums, iris, lambs ear, chrysanthemum, heuchera and ajuga.
We can look down upon that particular garden bed from our kitchen window, and this plant looks just as beautiful from 20' above as it does when you're right in front of it!