Coleus - Gorgeous, Versatile and Easy to Grow

'Pineapple Splash' Coleus - photo by Jan Johnsen

I have had a love affair with coleus ever since I grew it in plastic pots on a windowsill in a small New York city apartment as a teenager.

Back then there were maybe 6 varieties of coleus available and I got mine as cuttings from adult friends. They were my introduction to plants ( followed by the hanging 'spider plant' - remember those denizens of all 'homey' restaurants in the 1970s?....)

Kong Coleus - photo by Jan Johnsen

Well, I have grown up and so has coleus...

The colorful foliage of coleus is making a comeback as breeders introduce new varieties to supplement the old faves.  The diversity of foliage color, leaf shape, and growth habit  - and the fact that coleus tolerates both full sun and part shade  - make them a great addition to any garden.

Coleus are great both in beds and containers...There are so many varieties to choose from - where to start?

I say look at 'Pineapple Splash', 'Inky Fingers' and 'Kong' coleus...Yellow, red and multi colored, in that order....

Inky Fingers Coleus from White Flower Farm

You can certainly try more but these three are a good bet. Coleus will overwinter inside and they will root from cuttings that you take...Easy! Easy!  And that is why I love coleus so much.  I like Easy...(perhaps that is why I lived in New Orleans for several years - 'The Big Easy'.)

My fave right now is Under the Sea Bone Fish Coleus from Hortcouture. Great Name.

Under the Sea Bone Fish Coleus

They mix well with others too:

Kong with Angelonia 'Wedgwood Blue' - Jan Johnsen

This lights up an Early Fall evening for sure....Jan Johnsen

Check out my other posts on Coleus - type in 'Coleus' in the search box to the right.....

question: is the plural of 'coleus' - colei?


  1. 'coleus'-colei sounds fine, the correct "coleuses" somehow does not. Interesting how that works.

    1. Renata: "I must go plant some colei now"...hmmm...

  2. I love coleus too- and I didn't even know what it was when someone gave me a neglected one several years ago. I only have the one- don't even know it's name- pink centers- and I overwinter cuttings of it every year to replant outside in spring. That Under the Sea Bone Fish one looks amazing! I must get me some more varieties.

    1. Jeane, I would like coleus in every garden - blends with flowers, shrubs...and so so easy.

  3. Thanks for sharing such a nice knowledge with us. A must read blog.

  4. Hello. I've found my way here from a FaceBook share. What a great blog! I love that Under The Sea Bone Fish Coleus. Isn't nature amazing?

    1. Hi Julia! I am so glad you found my blog! I will share more fun plants since you like it. :-)

  5. Coleus are absolute favorites of mine, & I use them all over my container garden.
    I'm checking out your blog after seeing your talk in Kansas City to Gardeners Connect. Thank you! I enjoyed your talk!

    1. Hi Debbie! I am so glad you were at Gardeners Connect in KC!


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