Coleus plants are some of my favorite houseplants because of their vibrant and rich colors, interesting veination, delicately scalloped edges and oh-so-bushy growth. If you want to fill up your garden fast, coleus are the go-to plants. They may not give you flowers, but their leaves are so pretty they can pass up as flowers. Here are some of the coleus plants I have in my garden. They are all grown from stem cuttings which I unashamedly asked from friends.
This coleus plant has a deep purple color and velvety texture which interestingly turns luminous red-violet when it gets the full brunt of the sun. The scalloped edges are lined with a thin line of luminous yellow which may not be evident in the picture. Plants of these rich and dark colors are best set against a light-colored background, up against a pastel-painted wall or better yet, a white picket fence.
I love this coleus plant because of its feminine look—scalloped edges, lime to chartreuse green coloration and the splashes of white and pastel lime green in its scalloped margins. If you’ve followed my blog for some time, you will know that I have a passionate love affair with plants of green and white blends. They are bright in a clean and pleasant way.
Here is another coleus plant which is of the bright and light green family. The leaves are finely serrated at the edges and are wide and happily oustretched.
What I learned about taking care of coleus plants:
Planting. Coleus plants can be easily planted from stem cuttings. I find that a 4-inch long stem cutting is best. Plant the stem cutting with only its lower half in the ground. If your stem cutting is too short, it will be a midget and you will have to wait for a long time to see a normal-looking plant. If it is too tall to start with, the roots tend to have a harder time developing.
Rooting. I have found that compared to other plants, Coleus plants take root much faster once planted. Rich, preferably compost soil is best to use. You may have to keep the newly-planted coleus plant in the shade for the first 2 to 3 days, then when you see the leaves starting to stand tall, you may move it to dappled shade for 2 to 3 days more and then finally, place it in its favorite spot which is directly under the sun. If you are planting it directly on the ground, cover it with something to shade it from the sun in the first few days.
Sunlight. Coleus plants achieve their most vivid colors when they are receiving full sunlight. In reaction to the sun’s rays, coleus plants manufacture pigments which act as their “sunscreen.” When left in the shade on the other hand, coleus plants tend to be washed out and become limp. Coleus plants are not good indoor plants, they want to be out where they could get at least half of the day in the sun.
Watering. Coleus plants are low-maintenance and can get by with only once-a-day watering if they are planted in a sunny spot.
Pruning. Coleus plants grow faster than most houseplants and can quickly get too lanky. The charmingest coleus plants are those which are wider than they are tall—which can be done by pinching off the new leaf buds. In case you’re wondering why the violence, realize that pinching leaf buds causes the leaves to branch out horizontally to create a pleasantly plump look. If you do not take the time to pinch your coleus plants, they become too tall for their volume and easily get wilted or bowed down.
For charming colors, lush growth and easy-to-grow plants, choose coleus.
If you are not too fond of gardening, you may still want to consider having more plants in your home to increase the levels of oxygen in your air and also to purify your indoor air of common household pollutants and toxins. Here is my article on how plants promote health.