Coleus … a must have

Now that I’ve started numerous flats of coleus, I’m full of anticipation for what this year’s crop will bring to my flower beds and containers.  Coleus provides constant leaf color, whether used in sun or part shade.  I combine complimentary types of coleus in pots for the deck and hanging planters, while other coleus plants find their way into perennial beds as shown here.

Coleus Scarlet

Coleus Scarlet

This year I’m planting the dark red, ruffled-leaf Black Dragon, the large green leaved Limelight, as well as two from the Wizard series (lemon-lime and red Pineapple and a more copper orange and gold Sunset – both pictured below).  I’m also trying Palisandra, a nearly black coleus with dark green leaf veins.

Coleus Pineapple with eggplant

Coleus Pineapple with eggplant

Coleus Sunset

Coleus Sunset

 

 

Many catalogues offer only coleus plants, but search out companies that sell coleus seeds as a way to maximize coleus plantings for minimal outlay.  The miniscule seeds easily sprout when sowed on top of the soil in indoor flats about this time of year.  The tiny plants may get off to a slow start, but they grow quickly once placed outdoors after there is no longer a risk for frost.  Unfortunately, deer will seek out the fleshy leaves, so coleus is best planted out of their reach.

Coleus have been one of my must have plants for years and now that their popularity has increased, I have many varieties from which to choose.  Though I start many types of coleus from seed, I always manage to find new varieties in local nurseries that scream for a place in my garden.

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2 Comments

Filed under Gardening, General, Perennials & Annuals, Seeds

2 responses to “Coleus … a must have

  1. Joene,

    I’m slightly embarrassed to say I never thought about growing coleus from seed. I love to use coleus around my garden also, they are so low-maintanence but they add such wonderful colors to shady spots. And here in my garden in Stamford, the deer typically don’t get interested in browsing them until late fall so I am able to enjoy their colors all summer long. Do you have a mail order seed source you’d be comfortable recommending?

  2. joenesgarden

    Pinetree Garden Seeds has a decent selection of coleus seeds. A 100 seed packet of coleus Rainbow Mix, which includes a mixture of the most popular and common coleus, goes for $1.15. Specific varieties are more pricey and have fewer seeds. Individual varieties such as the Wizard series (Rose, Scarlet, Pineapple, Sunset), Limelight, Palisandra, or Black Dragon contain 20 seeds for $1.35 a packet. Overall a very small outlay when compared with flat or single plant prices at a nursery.

    I also take coleus cuttings from favored outside plants. The stems root in water in a few days, and when potted will grow quickly during the warm months. Others I pot up for cold weather color on indoor window sills. Watch for aphids and white fly infestations which can be kept in check by frequent cleansing sprays from the kitchen sprayer (for severe cases I spray with Safer). Coleus that survive winter will grow to a good size if given a boost of late winter fertilizer and a bright window. These work as potted plants or perennial bed fill-ins once the chance of frost has passed the following spring.

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