Monday, July 22, 2013

The Perfect Plant

I love coleus.  It is almost the perfect plant.
I purchased the coleus in this hanging basket last fall at the Ithaca, New York, farmers market.  It was reduced (my favorite kind of find) and in a little hanging basket.  I took it right to my office and it thrived there.

Now, it is thriving in a shady spot on my porch that I would consider full shade.  I've taken a number of cuttings, for other containers I have, and it roots readily in water - takes only about a week.  I gave cuttings to my son for his tiny garden.  I'll be taking cuttings son to root and put back into the hanging basket I bought it in, and back to my desk at work it will go.

So, why should you grow coleus?
1. It comes in tens of color combinations - see what this garden blogger has done with hers. (Thank you, Cosmos and Cleome, for the inspiration to write this post.
2. Coleus is deer resistant and groundhogs (the bane of our home garden) don't seem to bother them, either.
3. Most varieties thrive in part shade to shade.  Some newer coleus tolerate full sun.
4.  They do well in containers.  Some, like the one I have, are trailing plants.
5.  Up to now anyway, I've never had problems with insect pests on coleus.

The only downside I know of -they aren't hardy in areas with frost. But, you can grow them indoors in winter from cuttings.

If flowers appear, snip them off immediately.  The flowers are insignificant, and will drain energy from the plant.
Can you imagine using coleus in a garden mosaic?  If you look at this gallery of photos, you can easily imagine coleus art. Maybe one day I will try that.

Do you have a favorite "go to" plant that is ideal for you?


  1. Thank you for opening my eyes to coleus. I've never really been attracted to it, but you've convinced me that (next year!) I ought to give it a try. It does really sound like a wonderful plant.

  2. I love coleus also- though here in New Orleans it doesn't do as well in our heat.

  3. I just clicked over to google to try to find the name of my favorite plant, but I gave up. Shish! I got taken to some disgusting choices. All I could remember about the plant that has lived for 15 years in my bathroom is that the leaf is the most sensual you can touch. It's a broad-leaved grass, variegated mauve and deep purple. Beautiful and easy to care for.

  4. What a beautiful plant. I have to admit that I've never heard of coleus before! *Slaps wrist!*


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