Coleus blumei are tropical plants that are mainly grown for their leaves. These plants are easy to grow are have very colorful leaves.
They are a very popular choice for many areas, being the center of attention due to the beautiful foliage. These are annual plants and do not have the ability to tolerate even the slightest frost.
Features of Coleus Plants
The leaves of the Coleus plants are artistically wild and have distinct patterns. They have a wide variety of colors ranging from purple and red to pink and yellow. The leaves range from 1 to 6 inches long and come in many different sizes and shapes.
The stems of this plant are unique and semi-succulent. The USDA hardiness zone for this plant is 10. These can grow from 6 inches to 3.5 feet depending on the cultivar and are 1 to 3 feet wide.
Full sun exposure is ideal for the growth of these plants. Coleus plants bloom at any time of the year and whitish-blue flowers can be seen.
Plants that are propagated by cutting do not usually flower very often. These plants are not toxic to humans but sometimes people can get minor skin rashes due to the sap. The essential oils extracted from this plant are hazardous to the health of animals like dogs and cats.
Cultivation of Coleus Plants
Many Coleus varieties should be seeded indoors around 8 to 12 weeks before the last frost date. Transplants should be planted after there is no danger of frost because these plants will not be able to tolerate it. The soil should be warm enough at 60 degrees for ideal growth.
Full sun is ideal for the growth of this plant, alongside afternoon dappled shade. The lighter-colored leaf varieties can handle lesser sunlight than the darker ones.
An area with lesser wind should be chosen for growing these plants primarily because the stems are weak and are thus prone to breakage.
These plants should ideally be grown in fertile and rich soil. Coleus can be added to borders and beds and they can look really beautiful because they are so colorful.
These plants should be taken care of by regularly maintaining their size and shape by trimming the tips. The flower spikes should be picked out before they grow too long.
Regular fertilizing is needed every 2 weeks to promote the healthy growth of these plants. The fertilizer used should be a liquid fertilizer or one that is water-soluble.
These plants need regular watering but extra care should be taken about the fact that the soil is not over damp, as it can harm the plants and curb their growth.
Self-watering containers are ideal for these plants. Special care should be taken about the fact that these plants do not get infected by spider mites and bugs. Deer can also attack these plants causing severe damage.
Types of Coleus Plant Varieties with Names and Pictures
There are many different types of Coleus plants. Some of the most popular ones are discussed below.
1. Kiwi Fern
The species name for this plant is Plectranthus scutellarioides. Part sun or high shade is ideal for the growth of this variety.
Well-drained soil ensures healthy growth of this plant, but care should be taken that the soil is not soggy. Regular fertilizing is needed.
These should be spaced 8 to 15 inches apart in garden beds and baskets. The green leaves are frilly and narrow and are dark purple and yellow at the edges. It is hardy in USDA zone 11. This cultivar is relatively an older one as compared to the others.
2. Fishnet Stockings
This variety can grow up to a height of 3 feet and is characterized by upright growth. It does not grow very wide. It is hardy in zones 10 and 11. Part shade is ideal for the growth of this cultivar. Spring and summer are the blooming seasons for this plant.
The leaves are of striking green color and have slight burgundy variations. The plant is heat tolerant and is an award winner. It attracts birds and hummingbirds and at the same time is deer resistant. This annual plant does not require regular maintenance.
The leaves are very beautiful and look better without the flowers, which is why the flowers can be pinched off as per the owner’s wish. This cultivar has average water requirements.
It is highly adaptable as a house plant and does not need deadheading. Even though these plants are not bothered by diseases and pests, they need to be protected from aphids and other bugs.
3. Wizard Mix
This cultivar is a colorful variation of coleus; it has many different colors and they all come as a surprise. This cultivar is 10 inches tall and can spread 10 to 14 inches wide. These grow very fast and seeding should ideally be started indoors.
Part sun or full shade, both are ideal for the growth of this plant. This annual plant has ornamental uses like it can be used in beds and containers. The large leaves are heart-shaped and give a very beautiful look due to the vibrant colors.
Moist soil can ensure healthy growth of this cultivar. These plants do not need pinching. The blooms oftentimes attract hummingbirds and butterflies and are mainly used as container plants.
The scientific name for this cultivar is Solenostemon scutellarioides. It grows up to a height of 2 feet and is 2 feet wide. They have a burgundy color and are slightly golden towards the center. These give shades of copper from afar.
These plants are upright and mounded and are relatively low-maintenance plants. These plants can tolerate heat well. They have medium water requirements and need to be fertilized once every two weeks. This cultivar is best for landscaping are large pot programs.
In extreme heat, these plants need regular watering. The soil surface should be kept slightly damp but in case of extra sogginess, the plant can get spoilt. They have a very fast growth rate and the flowers are white in color. The average propagation time for these plants is 3 weeks.
5. Trailing Plum
The scientific name for this cultivar is Plectranthus scutellarioides. This is a low-growing cultivar and thrives in the sun. The foliage color is a striking red with the margins of crimson color. The edges are green in color. It is good for borders, beds, and window boxes.
These are annual plants and should be grown in places that are frost-free. Partial shade or partial sun is ideal for their growth. These plants need watering at regular intervals. In periods of extreme heating, they need more watering.
It has a relatively very fast growth rate. Moist and well-drained soil ensures that this plant grows to be healthy. For dense new growth, the stems should be slightly pinched in the middle of the season.
They grow to a height of 10 inches and should be spaced at 20 inches so that they can grow well.
The flowers and the fruit are both not significant ornamentally. It has an upright growth habit and is a low-maintenance plant. It is deer resistant.
This plant can be used as a container plant or for hanging baskets. General garden usage is also doable. This plant requires regular fertilizing.
6. Black Dragon
This cultivar grows to a height of 12 inches and is relatively smaller in size compared to the rest of the Coleus plants.
The seeds for this plant should be sown around 10 to 12 weeks before the last spring frost. Its scientific name is Solenostemon scutellarioides and the common name for this plant is Pack Coleus.
This heat-tolerant plant has very colorful foliage and has medium water requirements. These plants should ideally be spaced 10 to 14 inches apart. Partial sun or shade ensures the healthy growth of this plant.
The plug crop time is 5 to 6 weeks approximately. The leaves of this cultivar have a very unusual texture and are deep red in color with the edges being purplish-black in color. These plants have the habit of growing upright.
This cultivar can tolerate pollution and looks great in city gardens. The USDA hardiness zones for this plant are 2 to 10. The blooming season for this plant is mid to late summer. The color of this plant stays bright all year round.
This plant grows up to a height of 12 to 16 inches. The leaves are neon-colored and glow in shady spots or containers. These lime green leaves look very lovely when paired with purple flowers. This cultivar is easy to grow and grows very well in shaded borders.
The largest leaf of this cultivar can grow up to 8.5 inches long and can be 6 inches wide. These plants look great when put to landscape uses. When growing this plant, the seed should be slightly pressed on the soil surface.
It should not be covered so that it gets sufficient light for proper germination. It should be sown thinly. Well-drained soil is ideal for the growth of this cultivar. It is usually disease and pest free. Full sun can make this plant grow very healthy.
8. Salmon Pink
The leaf colors are soft and apricot-like. The leaves are larger than the rest of the cultivars. This plant grows up to a height of 30 inches and is just as wide. This annual plant has pointy leaves that are light green and have pinkish veins.
This is a low-maintenance plant and the flowers can be pinched off as they appear. It is deer resistant and does not have any negative characteristics. It can be used very well for border edging and general garden use. This plant cannot tolerate frost and grows very fast if the conditions are ideal.
It is not native to North America. Its growth in nature is upright. It has average water requirements and should ideally be given fertilizer once every two weeks. The leaves of this cultivar have unique patterns.
The plug crop time for this plant is approximately 6 weeks. The common name for this cultivar is Premium Shade Coleus and the scientific name is Solenostemon scutellarioides.
9. Big Red Judy
This cultivar is a 30 to 48-inch tall plant that glows. The scientific name for this cultivar is Solenostemon scuttelarriodes. This is an annual plant that is grown for its large upright leaves. The leaves are of a rust color with a tinge of gold.
This should be planted after frost. In the initial six weeks, this plant has higher water requirements. It needs to be watered twice a week for the first six weeks and then it should be watered weekly, especially in the dry weather. This does not need fertilizer.
This cultivar looks best in garden beds and flower pots and needs full sun to grow well. This perennial plant is deer resistant and can tolerate humidity well. The USDA hardiness zones for this plant are 10 and 11. The bloom color is light blue or lavender.
10. Rustic Orange
The species name for this cultivar is Plectranthus scutellarioides. A warm temperature is ideal for the growth of this plant. This perennial cannot tolerate frost.
The coleus leaves of this cultivar are orange in color with yellow edges. They have a bushy growth and need good air circulation for healthy growth.
This plant is also known as Klondike. It needs regular watering but special care should be taken about the fact that this plant does not get soggy. It should be fertilized regularly. This is a shade-loving plant.
Coleus flowers are a very popular choice in the USA. They are mainly used for the colorful foliage which is so pleasing to the eye. The fruits and flowers of this plant bear no ornamental significance.