Coleus scutellarioides: Common Coleus

Family: Lamiaceae
Common name: Common coleus, Painted nettle, Coleus blumei

If Petunia flowers can bring color to your garden, here’s another plant that can bring in color to your garden with just their leaves. Coleus plants have the most amazingly colored leaves in shades of green, red, purple, pink, yellow or orange color with the most beautiful patterns.

Some leaves have a different colored center, whereas others have differently colored edges. Some have ruffled leaves and some have wavy leaves, It does look like God took a lot of effort in coloring each Coleus plant individually and beautifully. The different colors in the leaves are due to anthocyanins along with chlorophyll, that universally gives leaves their green color.

Unfortunately, these humble plants are not hot favorites in gardens anymore. But they are non-fussy, fast-growing, drought-tolerant, shade-tolerant and easily propagated. They do well in pots, on the ground, in corners, hedges and even window sills with good sunlight.

Coleus plants grow 1-2 meters, and also produce flowers during blooming season. But the flowers are pretty small and not as colorful as the leaves. It’s better to nip off the flowers so that more branches of leaves will grow out. The flowers also produce seeds under ideal circumstances, but it’s quite rare. Coleus plants can grow well in partial shade, but the color contrast of the leaves comes out best in full sun.

Coleus plants also have many variants produced by combining different types of plants. Some of the common ones are Black Prince, Redhead, Picturatus, China rose, Pineapple beauty. Since the plants are seasonal, remember to grow new ones from stem cuttings, when the parent plant starts blooming.

Propagation is from seeds or stem cuttings. Growing new plants from stem cuttings is really easy, since they even root in water without any hormones.

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