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Coleus Coleus scutellarioides

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Coleus blumei
  • Coleus pumilus
  • Coleus x hybridus
  • Plectranthus scutellarioides
  • Solenostemon pumilus
  • Solenostemon scutellarioides
Phonetic Spelling
KO-lee-us skew-te-lair-ee-OY-deez
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Coleus is an annual or herbaceous perennial in the mint family with attractive foliage and succulent stems that comes in many colors and provides year-round interest. It forms a 3 ft. mound as it grows and it can be used as a tender annual outdoors in a bed or border, in a hanging basket or container. If grown as a houseplant, it requires bright light. Remove flowers as they appear and pinch back stems to promote bushy leaf growth.  Too much sun will cause plants to wilt, too much shade causes them to become leggy.  It is easily grown from stem cuttings in potting soil or a glass of water.  These plants are seldom damaged by deer. 

Some dwarf forms exist that may be labeled under the former name Coleus pumilus; they have a trailing habit, bright coloration, and are excellent in mixed containers.

Name Changes: Many Solenostemon and Plectranthus species have been moved to the genus Coleus. Technically, Coleus pumilus and Solenostemon x scutellarioides now fall under Coleus scutellarioides.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites on indoor plants.  

Quick ID

  • Various multicolored leaves with crenate to incise
  • Opposite leaves on square-angled stems & twigs

 VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens. 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Floating Garden Garden "Bed" Fence Planter Garden "Bed" Pitcher Plant Planter Japanese Shade Garden Collector’s Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alabama Sunset'
  • 'Buttercream'
  • 'Camellia'
  • 'Carnival' (Sun)
  • 'Color Blaze Dark Star'
  • 'Color Blaze Royal Glissade'
  • 'Color Blaze Wicked Witch'
    2nd Place in the 2019 NC State Annual Color Trials (in ground plantings)
  • 'Compact Red'
  • 'Dark Heart'
  • 'Defiance'
  • 'Dragon's Claw'
  • 'Eclipse'
  • 'Fancy Rose' (Sun)
  • 'Flare'
  • 'Florida Sunrise'
  • 'Fright'
  • 'Henna'
  • 'Indian Summer'
  • 'Mint Mocha'
  • 'Mosaik Burgundy Velvet' (Sun)
  • 'Mosaik Rose Blast' (Sun)
  • 'Mosaik Thin Mint' (Sun)
  • 'Pinata'
  • 'Pineapple Splash' (Sun)
  • 'Pineapple' (Sun)
  • 'Pineapplette' (Sun)
  • 'Rebel Rouser' (Shade)
  • 'Red Head'
  • 'Red Hot Rio' (Sun)
  • 'Sibila' (Sun)
  • 'Sun Lancelot Velvet Mocha'
  • 'Sunset' (Sun)
  • 'Sun Wasabi'
  • 'Tell Tale Heart'
  • 'Trailing Red'
  • 'Trailing Rose'
  • 'Trusty Rusty'
  • 'Versa Crimson Gold'
  • 'Versa Lime'
  • 'Versa Redhead'
  • 'Versa Watermelon'
  • 'Yellow Ruffles' (Sun)
'Alabama Sunset', 'Buttercream', 'Camellia', 'Carnival' (Sun), 'Color Blaze Dark Star', 'Color Blaze Royal Glissade', 'Color Blaze Wicked Witch', 'Compact Red', 'Dark Heart', 'Defiance', 'Dragon's Claw', 'Eclipse', 'Fancy Rose' (Sun), 'Flare', 'Florida Sunrise', 'Fright', 'Henna', 'Indian Summer', 'Mint Mocha', 'Mosaik Burgundy Velvet' (Sun), 'Mosaik Rose Blast' (Sun), 'Mosaik Thin Mint' (Sun), 'Pinata', 'Pineapple Splash' (Sun), 'Pineapple' (Sun), 'Pineapplette' (Sun), 'Rebel Rouser' (Shade), 'Red Head', 'Red Hot Rio' (Sun), 'Sibila' (Sun), 'Sun Lancelot Velvet Mocha', 'Sunset' (Sun), 'Sun Wasabi', 'Tell Tale Heart', 'Trailing Red', 'Trailing Rose', 'Trusty Rusty', 'Versa Crimson Gold', 'Versa Lime', 'Versa Redhead', 'Versa Watermelon', 'Yellow Ruffles' (Sun)
Tags:
#red#sun#poisonous#full sun#houseplant#annual#foliage#heavy shade#pink flowers#deep shade#shade tolerant#red leaves#showy leaves#colorful leaves#interiorscape#pink leaves#fall interest#interesting leaves#year-round interest#hanging baskets#summer flowers#deer browsing plant#deer resistant#burgundy leaves#burgundy#cutting garden#spring interest#fantz#tropical feel
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alabama Sunset'
  • 'Buttercream'
  • 'Camellia'
  • 'Carnival' (Sun)
  • 'Color Blaze Dark Star'
  • 'Color Blaze Royal Glissade'
  • 'Color Blaze Wicked Witch'
    2nd Place in the 2019 NC State Annual Color Trials (in ground plantings)
  • 'Compact Red'
  • 'Dark Heart'
  • 'Defiance'
  • 'Dragon's Claw'
  • 'Eclipse'
  • 'Fancy Rose' (Sun)
  • 'Flare'
  • 'Florida Sunrise'
  • 'Fright'
  • 'Henna'
  • 'Indian Summer'
  • 'Mint Mocha'
  • 'Mosaik Burgundy Velvet' (Sun)
  • 'Mosaik Rose Blast' (Sun)
  • 'Mosaik Thin Mint' (Sun)
  • 'Pinata'
  • 'Pineapple Splash' (Sun)
  • 'Pineapple' (Sun)
  • 'Pineapplette' (Sun)
  • 'Rebel Rouser' (Shade)
  • 'Red Head'
  • 'Red Hot Rio' (Sun)
  • 'Sibila' (Sun)
  • 'Sun Lancelot Velvet Mocha'
  • 'Sunset' (Sun)
  • 'Sun Wasabi'
  • 'Tell Tale Heart'
  • 'Trailing Red'
  • 'Trailing Rose'
  • 'Trusty Rusty'
  • 'Versa Crimson Gold'
  • 'Versa Lime'
  • 'Versa Redhead'
  • 'Versa Watermelon'
  • 'Yellow Ruffles' (Sun)
'Alabama Sunset', 'Buttercream', 'Camellia', 'Carnival' (Sun), 'Color Blaze Dark Star', 'Color Blaze Royal Glissade', 'Color Blaze Wicked Witch', 'Compact Red', 'Dark Heart', 'Defiance', 'Dragon's Claw', 'Eclipse', 'Fancy Rose' (Sun), 'Flare', 'Florida Sunrise', 'Fright', 'Henna', 'Indian Summer', 'Mint Mocha', 'Mosaik Burgundy Velvet' (Sun), 'Mosaik Rose Blast' (Sun), 'Mosaik Thin Mint' (Sun), 'Pinata', 'Pineapple Splash' (Sun), 'Pineapple' (Sun), 'Pineapplette' (Sun), 'Rebel Rouser' (Shade), 'Red Head', 'Red Hot Rio' (Sun), 'Sibila' (Sun), 'Sun Lancelot Velvet Mocha', 'Sunset' (Sun), 'Sun Wasabi', 'Tell Tale Heart', 'Trailing Red', 'Trailing Rose', 'Trusty Rusty', 'Versa Crimson Gold', 'Versa Lime', 'Versa Redhead', 'Versa Watermelon', 'Yellow Ruffles' (Sun)
Tags:
#red#sun#poisonous#full sun#houseplant#annual#foliage#heavy shade#pink flowers#deep shade#shade tolerant#red leaves#showy leaves#colorful leaves#interiorscape#pink leaves#fall interest#interesting leaves#year-round interest#hanging baskets#summer flowers#deer browsing plant#deer resistant#burgundy leaves#burgundy#cutting garden#spring interest#fantz#tropical feel
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Coleus
    Species:
    scutellarioides
    Family:
    Lamiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeast Asia and Malaysia; Asia and tropical Africa
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    This plant is seldom damaged by deer.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 6 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Houseplant
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Mounding
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Description:
    Nutlet
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Raceme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Lipped
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are small, blue-violet, in slender, terminal clusters, and irregularly shaped. Blue-white two lipped nettle-like flowers appear in racemes, early summer to fall but are not showy and can distract from the leaves. The flowers are insignificant. The calyx of the flower is persistent and resembles a saucer hence the Latin name "scutella."
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Orange
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Variegated
    White
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are ovate to oblong toothed and frequently feature a mixture of colors and patterns including red, burgundy, and pink. This plant is grown for its multi-colored foliage. This plant has opposite, simple leaves on 4-angled stems. They are often blotched with various colors and patterns.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Square
    Stem Description:
    Stems can be semi-succulent and light green, making them stand out from the leaves. This plant has 4-angled stems.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Hanging Baskets
    Houseplants
    Patio
    Landscape Theme:
    English Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Heavy Shade
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
    Poisonous to Humans
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    SKIN IRRITATION MINOR OR LASTING ONLY FOR A FEW MINUTES. Allergic dermatitis with red rash after repeated and frequent contact.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Diterpene coleonol, coleon O
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Leaves