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The Plant Guide

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Coleus

Solenostemon scutellarioides ‘Vulcan’

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26-inch-tall ‘Vulcan’ has a complex color scheme: crimson with an undercurrent of reddish rose, enhanced by brushes of black that heighten the richness of its crimped, puckered leaves. A defining edge of lemon yellow causes the leaves to stand out from one another instead of blurring into a solid mass of color. ‘Vulcan’ makes such a dramatic statement that a single plant can carry a scene for the entire season. Use it to brighten a dull stretch of spring-blooming plants when the main show is over, or combine ‘Vulcan’ with asters and mums that don't contribute much to the garden until late summer.

Noteworthy CharacteristicsMay be overwintered indoors where not hardy. Coleus has been popular since Victorian times or earlier. Its leaves frequently feature mixtures of colors in irregular patterns.

CareColeus 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 stems to maintain shape and to avoid detracting from foliage.

PropagationSow seed on the soil's surface at 72° to 75°F in early spring. Root softwood cuttings from late spring to autumn.

ProblemsMealybugs, scale insects, and whiteflies may be a problem under glass. No serious insect or disease problems.

  • Genus : Solenostemon
  • Plant Height : 1 to 3 feet
  • Plant Width : 1 to 3 feet
  • Zones : 11
  • Uses : Containers
  • Light : Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Growth Rate : Moderate
  • Maintenance : Moderate
  • Plant Type : Perennials
  • Foliage Color : Purple/Burgundy
  • Characteristics : Showy Foliage
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Spring Interest
  • Bloom Time : Summer
  • Flower Color : White
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