Coleus is a great all-around plant. I am sure you’ve seen it in your local nursery or garden section, the colorful, leafy, underused, lonely plant. It comes in a myriad of colors. Although most people go for “just flowers”, you can’t beat Coleus for that eye catching “pop” in a garden.
It is relatively cheap, grows very quickly, and is extremely versatile. It’s a great filler plant as it can be easily pinched to produce very full area covering color. Some will get two or three feet tall and can be a vibrant focal point, or an extreme contrast to your favorite specimen plant. They also do really great as a container plant . The uses are really endless.
As with any plant, you need to read the label about sunlight requirements. You will see with most plants, its all about location! The majority of Coleus can take full sun, but in my experience, a little shade is a game changer. If your colors get washed out, it’s too much sun usually. To get that deep color you saw in the nursery, move this guy to a shady spot or at least to a location that doesn’t get beaten by the harsh afternoon sun.
They like to be kept in moist soil and if they’re in full sun, usually need to be watered often, as their tender leaves lose moisture rather quickly. And, as long as your soil drains well, you can water them every day during summer. During Spring and Fall, once established, they can go days without water. In the South, they’ll last throughout the growing season; Spring to early frost .
If they’re in their happy spot, Coleus will get huge and and can easily take pruning regularly. Sometimes if they get too tall, the limbs will get so big that they break under the weight, which will give you a great opportunity for cuttings. Check back later for a future post on Propagating Coleus