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GardenVoice.com
» Articles » Plants » Coleus: Brilliant Color, Even Without Blooms

Coleus: Brilliant Color, Even Without Blooms

by Douglas L. Bishop on 7/7/2008 14:58


Brightly colored, variegated foliage makes this easy-to-grow plant a gardener’s favorite, indoors or out.

Coleus fits nicely into a variety of planting locations. It works well either on its own or mixed in with other plants in flower pots and window boxes; it serves more than adequately as a border planting along sidewalks or as contrasting plant material in beds of evergreens.

Another big plus for the use of coleus is the fact that it is a year-round plant—indoors in winter, providing a warming touch as a multi-colored houseplant; and outdoors in summer, decorating your planting beds all through the more temperate months from spring through fall. Also, those very same potted coleus plants that brighten the interior of your home through the dreary days of winter can then be removed from their containers and transplanted directly into your exterior gardens as the warming spring weather allows, thus having “giant size” bedding plants ready to install at the drop of a trowel.

As your coleus plants grow and thrive in their outdoor environment, they should be pinched back occasionally in order to promote well-formed full bushy plants; otherwise, they tend to become leggy and not so dense. Although the plants will produce insignificant flowers on spikes, the beauty of your coleus lies in the coloring of their almost velvety-textured leaves. To insure the deep reddish colors, coleus requires lots of sunlight. However, if your garden setting allows only partial or filtered sun to fall on your coleus plants, you’ll still get a nice mixture of leaf colors, with the greens becoming more dominant than the reds as the coleus plants seek to produce more chlorophyll in order to continue their photosynthetic food-making activities.

Brightly colored, variegated foliage makes this easy-to-grow plant a gardener’s favorite, indoors or out.

Coleus fits nicely into a variety of planting locations. It works well either on its own or mixed in with other plants in flower pots and window boxes; it serves more than adequately as a border planting along sidewalks or as contrasting plant material in beds of evergreens.

Another big plus for the use of coleus is the fact that it is a year-round plant—indoors in winter, providing a warming touch as a multi-colored houseplant; and outdoors in summer, decorating your planting beds all through the more temperate months from spring through fall. Also, those very same potted coleus plants that brighten the interior of your home through the dreary days of winter can then be removed from their containers and transplanted directly into your exterior gardens as the warming spring weather allows, thus having “giant size” bedding plants ready to install at the drop of a trowel.

As your coleus plants grow and thrive in their outdoor environment, they should be pinched back occasionally in order to promote well-formed full bushy plants; otherwise, they tend to become leggy and not so dense. Although the plants will produce insignificant flowers on spikes, the beauty of your coleus lies in the coloring of their almost velvety-textured leaves. To insure the deep reddish colors, coleus requires lots of sunlight. However, if your garden setting allows only partial or filtered sun to fall on your coleus plants, you’ll still get a nice mixture of leaf colors, with the greens becoming more dominant than the reds as the coleus plants seek to produce more chlorophyll in order to continue their photosynthetic food-making activities.

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