Colorful Coleus

If you want a plant that can give you lots of summer color, plant coleus (Solenostemon). This is a plant that I really like in the garden because of the many colors and the impact of color that they can give to your landscape beds, containers and hanging baskets.

Coleus are easy to grow annuals that need full sun to grow well, but they can take part shade. They should be planted in a sheltered location and kept moist. Make sure that your plants have ample water in periods of dryness. Coleus prefer a well drained fertile soil when planted in the ground. If you plant in containers, use a good quality commerical soil mix. A slow release fertilizer should be added when you plant them. Fertilize plants every two weeks with a liquid fertilizer.

Pinching out the growing tips and removing flowers will encourage bushy growth and more of those colorful leaves. Coleus can grow from 8 to 18 inches tall depending on the variety.


When fall comes, you can dig up and pot these beauties to keep them in the house or greenhouse during the winter. In the spring, you can pinch off  tip growth and make cuttings from them. I start my cuttings by putting them in a glass of water. I change off the water every other day to keep the water fresh. They root very quickly. I then pot them up and let them grow till they are ready to go to the garden. Make sure that you acclimate your plants to the outdoors in the spring for at least a week before moving them to full sun. Coleus are also easy to grow from seed.

If you want some great color for the garden, plant coleus! 

Happy Gardening!