The Coleus plant has been around for years but has become better than ever now with exciting new color combinations, leaf shapes and growth habits.  They are versatile, easy to grow and with over 600 varieties, they will perform like nothing else in your garden, border or container.  Their eye-catching foliage is what makes them so irresistible and worthy of a spot in your landscape.

While technically a perennial, coleus is considered an annual in the US and will flourish all summer and will die back when the first frost hits.  It belongs to the mint family but does not have the invasive growth habit of the herb so you can count on it being well-behaved.

Coleus Basics

Many varieties thrive in partial shade and others thrive in full sun.  The dark shades take more sun and the light colors will do best in a little shade to minimize leaf scorch.   They are easy to grow and you don’t need a green thumb.  They are not generally bothered by pests or diseases. 

Growing and Maintenance Tips

To maintain plant form, pinch off flowers as soon as they appear to keep the plant compact and bushy.  Regularly pinch back tips to also keep bushy.   Coleus does produce flowers.  They’re not very impressive, tiny and on stalks.  Cut them off to keep the plant producing leaves, because the leaves are why you grow coleus. Coleus left to flower may lose fullness as the plant puts energy into seed production. They like decent soil and don’t allow soil to completely dry out.   The best leaf color, generally, comes from morning sun and afternoon shade.  Keep coleus watered.  Don’t let the soil dry out or they wilt but a quick douse of water brings them back.

Planting Tips

Make sure you give them elbow room when planting because they grow and fill in fast.  Use them in masses, tucked between perennials to fill space, and choose colors that complement other leaves or blooms you have.  Coleus looks great by itself in a container or planted with other plants.

Tips for Growing Coleus in Containers

Try an Easy Recipe for a Fabulous Container this season.   Because they are fast-growing, choose a container that is roomy enough.  Coleus likes moist soil and they thrive with regular feeding.  Choose a potting soil that provides moisture retention, yet drains well.   Mixing a slow-release fertilizer into the potting soil when you plant initially and then feed it diluted liquid fertilizer every week or two. Coleus plants in containers will need more frequent watering than those grown in the ground.  

Coleus doesn’t need as much fertilizer in the garden, but the nutrients get washed away faster in a container.

If you have never used coleus in your landscape, make this the year to try it.  They love to grow in the sun or shade, just make sure the tag matches your growing needs.  This easy color, no care plant will grace your landscape until fall.  What’s not to love about Coleus.

Whitehouse Landscaping is a full service landscaping company.  We offer a wide range of landscaping services, pretty much anything your landscape requires.  From landscape design, landscape maintenance, fertilization, patios, fire pits and all landscape enhancements, we can transform your property.  We have completed projects all over Montgomery, Berks and Chester counties and would be happy to help you.

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