Coleus are known for their colorful leaves and are a great addition to shaded or part-sun areas of your garden. There are some cultivars that are more tolerant of sun, so be sure to read the labels on your selected varieties. Here is a list of some of the sun-loving varieties.
Cultivars can have wavy leaves, smooth edged leaves, or serrated leaves and come in colors from pink, green, chartreuse, cream, orange, red, yellow, maroon, pink, purple, and more.
Grow Coleus From Seeds or Cuttings
If you want to start your garden early and are looking to save some money – you can easily grow them from seed and they can also be easily propagated from cuttings. I planted seeds this year in my garage under a grow light.
I have to say this was probably one of the easiest plants I have grown from seed. I had a lot of success with the seeds. So much so, that I now have lots of Coleus growing – enough to share. Starting seeds was definitely a lot cheaper than buying plants and I was able to get the seedlings in the garden earlier than if I had waited for the arrival of the plants in local stores.
And in the winter, you can take some clippings to bring some indoors to root and keep for next summer. They make a colorful addition to your kitchen window, and you can even grow it as a houseplant year round, if you wish.
Coleus are great for container gardens – just be sure the soil is well-drained and that you check to make sure it doesn’t dry out in between waterings. Some plants that make good color combinations with coleus (in the shade) include creeping jenny, maidenhair ferns, and impatiens. With the many colors of Coleus plants out there, you’re sure to find a good combination. In a container garden, Coleus will require some fertilizer – a water-soluble one can be added about every two weeks.
How to Care for Coleus
Coleus is a pretty hardy annual. Plant it in part-shade to shade (except for those varieties that are more sun tolerant) to ensure the best color of the leaves. It’s disease resistant, so it will perform well. To get the most out of the plant, pinch of shoots to encourage wider, denser foliage rather than tall plants (pinching encourages branching). When the flowers bloom in summer, cut them off to keep the plant looking good.
Coleus don’t like to have wet feet, so they require well-drained soil. However, you will need to keep them watered in periods of dry weather and especially when you have just transferred seedlings or new shoots.