Coleuses are members of the mint gamily, bearing serrated, oval leaves in every conceivable color combination except blue. The blue is reserved for their flowers, which appear in clusters from time to time, looking a lot like the flowers of their cousin, the herb rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis).
Coleus is one of those “cross-over” plants that can look great outdoors in summer in a hanging basket or in an annual flower beds, then be a wonderful indoor plant the rest of the year. When they are inside:
- Give coleuses the best light possible — either too much sun or shade can cause fading.
- Protect it from cold drafts; it needs to be moderately warm with nighttime lows above 55º
- Water it just enough to keep the soil from drying out
- It likes humidity, so set the pot over pebble-and-water filled saucers to keep the air around it moist.
- Prune them if they get leggy and pinch off new growth to control size.
Here are photos, taken at Payne’s, of just a few of the many varieties available.
Type of Plant: Tropical House Plant and Annual Outdoor Plant
Distinguishing Characteristics: Grows rapidly and has few requirements
Water Use: Moderate
Flower Color: Blue
Sun/Location: Full to Part Sun