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Solenostemon scutellarioides
Coleus, Painted Nettle
LAMIACEAE (mint family)

ColeusThere are so many different coleus on the market now, there is one for everyone's taste.

It's probably one of the easiest annuals to grow. (It is actually a tender perennial coming from Java and a member of the mint family.) A fast grower, cuttings can be taken all summer long. Cuttings can be taken from the summer season to winter over as a houseplant and then returned for the next season (see below).

Sun Coleus can tolerate full sun and that's what they are all about, but most coleus grow best in semi-shade.

All coleus need plenty of water.

It is grown primarily for the color of the leaves as the flower is very insignificant. In fact, it should be pinched to retain fullness. Letting the plant go to seed will shorten the life of the plant.

One can utilize this plant best in beds, borders, and containers. Great color can be added to the garden by mass planting coleus.

Look for varieties such as the 'jade wizard', the 'wizard velvet', the 'fairway rose', 'fairway mosaic', 'Big Red', 'Mr. Wonderful', 'Defrance', 'Duck Foot', 'Kiwi Fern', 'Inky Fingers', 'Lime Queen', 'Purple Emeror'.

Cuttings for the winter

Coleus cuttings can be taken into late fall. Place in a container of water or in a perlite or vermiculite medium. When the roots are formed (tug on the stem a little to see if there is some resistance ) repot in a larger pot. By growing this cutting through the winter months in your home, you should have a pretty good plant by the spring time to recycle back into your garden.

Tip: Newspapers are great weed barriers when creating a new bed. They are printed with soy ink and will decompose nicely. Re do when needed. Do not use slick advertisement papers or colored newspapers.