Coleus

Solenostemon scutellarioides ‘Trailing Salamander’

Photo/Illustration: 
Jennifer Benner
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Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides ‘Trailing Salamander’)
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Synonyms:  Coleus blumei var. verschaffeltii
Genus:  Solenostemon
‘Trailing Salamander’, which grows 14 inches tall, has oval, near-black leaves edged in bright lime. Its neutral color scheme makes it a choice filler for containers. It looks good with almost anything. Coleus are tender tropicals that are generally grown as annuals because they are hardy only in Zone 11. They are easy to grow, reliable plants. Blue to white nettle-like flowers bloom in racemes in summer, but are not showy and tend to visually detract from the attractiveness of the plants.
Noteworthy Characteristics:  May be overwintered indoors where not hardy. Coleus has been popular since Victorian times or earlier. Trailing coleus tends to have leaves that are only an inch long, and the plants typically grow 12 to 18 inches tall. They are custom-made for using in containers or for softening the front edge of a border.
Care:  Coleus likes warm soils with decent drainage, and these plants are not happy in overly dry conditions. Grow in full sun to medium shade; their colors are most vivid in full sun. Half-day sun produces softer colors that are still very appealing. Plants grown in too much sun may wilt, and plants grown in too much shade may become leggy. Pinch off flower spikes to retain shape and to avoid detracting from the foliage.
Propagation:  Sow seed on the soil's surface at 72° to 75°F in early spring. Root softwood cuttings from late spring to autumn.
Problems:  Mealybugs, scale insects, and whiteflies may be a problem under glass. No serious insect or disease problems.

Overview

Height
1 ft. to 3 ft.
Spread
1 ft. to 3 ft.
Growth Habit
Clumps
Growth Pace
Moderate Grower
Light
Full Sun to Part Shade
Moisture
Medium Moisture
Maintenance
Moderate
Characteristics
Showy Foliage
Bloom Time
Summer
Flower Color
Island Paradise,
White
Foliage Color
Colorful/Burgundy Foliage,
Evergreen
Uses
Beds and Borders,
Container,
Indoor Plant,
Specimen Plant/Focal Point,
Suitable as Annual
Style
Formal Garden
Seasonal Interest
Spring Interest
Type
Perennials

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