Green Circle Growers Blog

Count on Coleus to Add Color and Texture to Garden or Patio Displays

Green Circle Growers - Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Grown for its vibrant and attractive foliage, Coleus (Coleus), also known as Solenostemon, is one of the most unique and varied plants in the summer garden. This colorful, leafy plant makes an attractive container plant or showy addition to garden beds but also serves nicely as an indoor plant, brightening rooms with its remarkable foliage. Its foliage is what makes Coleus such a versatile garden favorite. Growing in attractive, bushy mounds, this leafy ornamental plant offers gardeners an amazing selection of color choices from solid-color deep maroons and bright reds to beautifully variegated combinations of brilliant greens, radiant reds, hot pinks and pale yellows.

Used to add both color and texture to summer gardens, Coleus is easy to grow in nearly any location. Plants need 3 to 6 hours of sunlight daily and will do well in both sunny and shady locations. Full sun may appear to “wash-out” color somewhat; so for full color intensity, plant Coleus in dappled sun or partial shade. Coleus is often used to create stunning displays under mature trees. Coleus grows best in fertile, well-drained soil. Soil should be kept moist and watered freely in hot, dry weather. For best leaf growth and color display, fertilize monthly with a balanced liquid fertilizer.

A tropical transplant, Coleus is native to Southeast Asia and part of the natural landscape in most tropical countries from Africa to the Philippines. The Mazatec Indians of southern Mexico once used its leaves to create a mild hallucinogen for use in spiritual ceremonies. Today, Coleus’ primary use is as a garden ornamental. Pair Coleus with stately Kimberly Queen Ferns (Nephrolepis) or green-leaved Hosta (Hosta) to add a spot of color to shaded areas. Planted in pots and arranged in groupings, Coleus makes a vibrant patio, deck or indoor sunroom display. The beauty and versatility of this plant will have you looking for ways to include it in your garden displays.