Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Before this year, I hadn't grown Coleus in about 15 years. I had terrible luck with them back then. They got botrytis(which is a furry fungus you might have seen on old fruit) and turned icky enough to yank the plant. So I thought I couldn't grow them. That was when I was gardening in containers because we rented. Now that we have our own house and garden(3rd anniversary already here 2 weeks ago) I thought I'd give them another go.

Research shows "Coleus" is now a common name. The latin name is Solenostemon scutellarioides.  That's a long one! And usually I am fanatical about using botanical names, but Coleus will have to stay for me! They're native to Southeast Asia and Malaysia.  Here in SoCal they do best in part shade. I planted mine on the east side of the house under our huge Deodor Cedar tree and by our porch. You can also see my bottle border in this first photo.

I love burgandy and purple foliage because it shows up so well amongst everything green.   There are SO Many different types and colors of Coleus.  There are ones with pink, orange, red and combos and fluffy edges and stripes, golden with green in the leaves.   I was limited by what I found in my local nurseries.  And I was skeptical so I only tried a few.  I was looking for one in particular that I saw this Spring at the South Coast Plaza Garden Show that was green with purple veins. So gorgeous, but they didn't have it for sale and I couldn't find it.  Maybe next year!  

 I adore ORANGE and had to have this Coleus.  It's so pretty in the garden!   Coleus get tall and leggy.  Like Basil, Fuchsias, Iresine and Chrysanthemums, often pinching will produce a bushier leafy plant .  If you don't know, "pinching" is pruning with your nails instead of clippers.  The tender new growth is super easy to "pinch".  I actually think it's fun.

They have been wonderful!  Watch out for snails and slugs as they can be damaging to the plants.  With my sandy soil I haven't seen ANY of them.  The plants probably won't make it through the winter.  But one never knows. I have an Impatiens that I've had in a pot for several years.  


  1. I love coleus as they add wonderful color throughout the yard. True once the first frost hits, they do not survive. Just discovered your blog and enjoy reading it.

  2. Thanks so much Leilani! Sometimes I think no one reads this Glad you enjoy it :-)