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Solenostemon scutellarioides

Coleus is part of the Solenostemon genus. Its scientific name is Solenostemon scutellarioides.

Many cultivars of the southeast Asian species Solenostemon scutellarioides have been selected for their colorful variegated leaves, typically with sharp contrast between the colors; the leaves may be green, pink, yellow, black (a very dark purple), maroon, and red (somewhat resembling the unrelated caladium). New cultivars with varieties of colors are constantly being made. typically grow 0.5-1 m tall, though some may grow as tall as 2 meters. Coleus are typically grown as ornamental plants.

This plant is toxic to pets. 1

Blooms appear in these approximate colours:   Air Force blue and   Light blue. Leaves appear approximately as a   Cadmium red and   Lime Green

Coleus grows as an annual and is a flowering non-edible ornamental / houseplant. Being an annual plant, it tends to grow best over the course of a single year.

Coleus is known for growing to a height of approximately 1.24 feet (that's 38.0 cm in metric) with a spreading habit.

Try planting Coleus if you'd like to attract bees to your garden.

Consider Rainbow Mix, Black Dragon, Wizard Mix, Chocolate Mint and Giant Exhibition to grow as they are very popular with home gardeners.

Coleus is normally quite a low maintenance plant and is normally very easy to grow - great for beginner gardeners!

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Coleus have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Coleus

  • Partial Sun

  • Dappled Sun

  • High

The plants grow well in moist well-drained soil. They are heat-tolerant, though they do less well in full sun in subtropical areas than in the shade. In mild areas (no snow in winter), plants can usually be kept as perennials if well managed. Whereas cultivation in colder areas, they are often grown as annuals as they are not hardy and become leggy and unattractive with age. Though this is usually resolved by pinching back growing tips to encourage bushing. In bright hot areas, the colors of the plant will typically be more intense in shaded areas than in full sun, and the plants will require less water there. Coleus also make low-maintenance houseplants, and can often be propagated by clipping a length of stem just below the leaves and putting the stem in water to root. The plant’s flowers grow on a stem above that stem’s leaves, and tend to be purple and quite small in comparison to the leaves. The plant is not generally grown for its flowers, as it promotes stem elongation (remove to halt this).

Plant in a location that enjoys partial sun / dappled sun and remember to water often. Zone 10 to 11 are typically the USDA Hardiness Zones that are appropriate for this plant (although this can vary based on your microclimate). Keep in mind when planting that Coleus is thought of as tender, so it is imperative to wait until temperatures are mild before planting out of doors.

See our list of companion Plants for Coleus to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Coleus from seed

There are two ways to propagate Coleus. Seeds are inexpensive and easily obtainable. To germinate, simply sprinkle seeds on the surface soil and press down. Seeds need light to germinate, so avoid covering the seeds. To keep seeds moist, grow in a container and cover with plastic, or mist seeds daily (if starting seeds directly in the garden). Sprouts can show color in as little as two weeks. Alternatively, cuttings can be taken. Cuttings root readily in plain water, without the addition of rooting hormone (although it is still beneficial).

Ensure a distance of 11.7 inches (30.0 cm) between seeds when sowing - look to sow at a depth of approximately 0.0 inches (0.01 cm). Soil temperature should be kept higher than 18°C / 64°F to ensure good germination.

By our calculations*, you should look at sowing Coleus about 56 days before your last frost date .

Transplanting Coleus

Transplant the tiny seedlings to individual pots at the two leaf stage, as soon as they are big enough to be handled. Grow on until the plant is established under glass
Before transfer to garden, accustom to conditions by moving to a sheltered place outside for a week.

Ensure that temperatures are mild and all chance of frost has passed before planting out, as Coleus is a tender plant.

Seed Saving Coleus

The seeds are very tiny and it is easier to make new plants by taking cuttings.

How long does Coleus take to grow?

These estimates for how long Coleus takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world.

Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!

Days to Germination How long does it take Coleus to germinate?
8 days

Average 8 days | Min 2 days | Max 22 days (130)

Days to Transplant How long until I can plant out Coleus?
+ 51 days

Average 51 days | Min 21 days | Max 273 days (15)

Days to Maturity How long until Coleus is ready for harvest / bloom?
+ 20 days

Average 20 days | Min 6 days | Max 228 days (4)

Total Growing Days How long does it take to grow Coleus?
= 79 days

When should I plant Coleus?

Our when to plant Coleus estimates are relative to your last frost date.

Enter your frost dates and we'll calculate your sowing and planting dates for you!

When to sow The number of days to sow Coleus before or after your last frost date.
56 days before Last Frost Date

Coleus Etymology

From the Greek “koleos”, meaning sheath. The male portions of coleus flowers, the stamens, are fused into a tube or sheath

Other names for Coleus

Coleus, Flame Nettle, Painted Nettle, Painted Leaf, Poor Man’s Croton

Coleus blumei, C. blumei var. verschaffeltii, Plectranthus scutellarioides, Ocimum scutellarioides, Solenostemon hybrida

Misspellings: Coleous, Solenostemon scutellaroides

Latest Coleus Reviews

  • plants all finished for 2012

    0 stars

    CraftyGardener about growing Coleus, trailing
  • My coleous are overwintering still in my green house. In about two weeks they will be taken outdoors.

    2 stars

    Kevalsha about growing Coleus
  • Well, I don’t know if it was the bargain seeds or something else but I literal had 0% germination. Now I am out .30 cents.

    1 stars

    Cherokee_Motley about growing Coleus 'Rainbow'

See all Coleus reviews and experiences »


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