Coleus- Facts and Information

Coleus, Solenostermon scuttellaroides hybrids, come in many interesting color combinations. Find facts and information on growing and caring for coleus, coleus propagation, and some of the great colors available. Coleus is a favorite annual that adds color and texture to your flower beds, garden edging, borders, ground covers, and container plantings.


Coleus are grown for their colorful foliage

Coleus Facts and Information

Coleus is grown for its colorful foliage. It will reach heights of 6-36” high by 12-36” wide, depending on the variety.  Coleus grows fast and has an upright growing habit.

Newer varieties of coleus will prefer full sun to partial shade, a fertile, well-drained, moist soil, with a pH of 5.5-7.0. Coleus are actually evergreen perennials that are grown as annuals. Colorful foliage thrives in bright shade. It has flowers that appear in summer, but it is recommended to remove them.

"Pink Coleus"

Pink Coleus Combinations

Good companion plants include, Bergenia cordifolia “Pururea’, Heuchera micrantha var. Diversifolia ‘Palace Purple’, and Hosta ‘Gold Standard’.

Planting and Growing Coleus

Coleus should be planted 12-24” apart in late spring. You can apply a slow-release plant food at the time of planting. Apply 3” of vegetative mulch in the smmer to help hold in moisture. Water coleus deeply when the soil feels dry down to 2” below the soil line. Plants should be removed before the first frost or right afterward when foliage is disfigured.

"Coleus Color Combinations"

Red and Green Coleus

Propagation of Coleus

Coleus may be started from seeds or by cuttings. Seeds will germinate in 10-15 dys when the temperature is 72 degrees. They may be transplanted 20-25 days after sowing. After transplanting, reduce the temperature to 65-70 degrees. In summer, you can take coleus cuttings from new growth. Cut pieces that contain at least two to four healthy leaves and three nodes. Root cuttings in water or in soil. Dip exposed nodes into rooting hormone, shake off excess, and insert into a moist soil mix, keeping leaves well above the soil level.

Pests and Diseases of Coleus- Slugs and leaf spot are the most common problems that you might have.

"Purple Coleus"

Gorgeous Purple Coleus

Related Species include: Bellevue Hybrid Blend leaves are splashed with pink, red, ivory, and green. Dragon Series leaves are splashed with purple, black and red, rimmed with gold, Old Lace mixed leaves are white, lilac, and salmon, with a rose center and yellow rim, and ‘Striped Rainbow’ leaves are heart shaped and striped red, maroon, yellow, and green.

Quick Tips:

  • Remove developing flower stalks to focus attention on the foliage.
  • Cut shoot tips for propagating new plants.
  • Root coleus cutting in soil-less growing mix or in water.

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