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Coleus Made Me a Plant Geek

Posted on October 20 2002

Really, it did. My first interest in plants came as a child at my grandmother's house. Nanny had Coleus growing on the kitchen windowsill and the explosion of color mesmerized me. She showed me how to take a cutting, root it in water, and the rest was all downhill - instant Plant Geek! If only she could see the varieties we have now… We are headed into fall when colors explode across the landscape in reds, yellows, orange, rust and pink. New Coleus varieties (Solenostemon scuttelarioides) are perfect for the fall shade garden. Nearly every color except blue is now available (even just about black!) in either solid or combinations. Leaf shapes have gone cosmic as well from traditional oval to ruffled, deeply lobed, skinny fingers, and corkscrew spirals! September and October are still often two of the hottest months here in California. November can be mild. That leaves three whole months to enjoy this frost tender annual full of color - and fall colors at that. Filtered sun to light shade, evenly moist cool soil with regular waterings (never let them dry out completely), and that's about all there is to it! Don't be afraid to tip pinch either to make them extra full. Especially pinch out flower spikes as they form to prolong the beauty. by Bob Reidmuller printed in Garden Compass magazine, Sept/Oct 2002 Used with permission.


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