PLANT MORE COLEUS – they are beautiful! Here is a quick guide for growing this delightful annual. Coleus has an amazing variety of leaf colors and textures. New hybrids are particularly sun tolerant and have expanded the landscape design potential of coleus. Leaves can be rounded, elongated, puckered, frilly, dissected, tiny, large, or any combination therein. Flowers smother the plant and attract pollinators and hummingbirds. Coleus foliage colors are equally exciting, ranging from chartreuse to hot magenta to yellow to rust and every tint in between.
Plant en masse for a wave of fabulous groundcover color in the landscape. Coleus is equally wonderful as filler foliage or a feature plant in container designs, making them a remarkably colorful garden statement plant.
The Plant More Coleus Growing Guide:
To get you started growing, below is an excerpt from the Indiana Getting Started Gardening Guide .
- Botanical name — Solenostemon scutellarioides
- Bloom Period and Seasonal Color — Blooms very late summer; foliage is colorful
- Mature Height × Spread — 6 to 36 inches × 10 to 24 inches
- Added Benefits – Attracts beneficials, attracts hummingbirds
- Sun Requirements – Sun, Part Sun, Part Shade, Shade
When, Where, and How to Plant Coleus –
Coleus prefers fertile, well-drained soil. Plant according to its sunlight preferences. Be sure to research the specific variety when purchasing seeds or plants. Start seeds indoors six weeks before the last frost date or sow seeds directly in the ground after the last danger of frost.
Propagate by taking tip cuttings. Cut a 3-inch section from a stem without a flower. Remove the lower leaves, leaving the top leaves intact, and place them in a small pot with soil. Move the container to a warm location with bright light exposure and keep consistently moist. Cuttings develop roots within four to five weeks. Transplant these plants for overwintering as a houseplant.
Coleus Growing Tips –
Coleus prefer consistent watering and regular fertilization. Fertilize container plants with an organic fertilizer every two weeks; ground plantings can go every four weeks. To improve branching and a full habit, pinch off flowers.
If you are trying to attract pollinators and hummingbirds, or want to collect seeds later in the season, be sure to leave the flowers. There are no serious insect or disease problems. Overwatering in shady conditions can sometimes encourage powdery mildew or root rot. Treat fungal issues with an organic fungicide.
Coleus Companion Planting and Design Tips –
Companion plants that work very well are ornamental edibles, sweet potato vine, begonias, fountain grass, and cannas. Each coleus has a unique growing habit—trailing, miniature, bushy, tall, sun-loving, or shade-loving—so companion planting is totally dependent on the size and nature of the specific coleus.
My book, the Indiana Getting Started Garden Guide, has a ton of tips for growing in the Midwest.