Two species of Solenostemon
are native to tropical Africa and Asia. This species is the one most commonly cultivated in
the United States.
The common name comes from the plant’s former scientific name, Coleus blumei. Coleus has the classic
mint family features of a opposite leaves, a square stem, and a flower spike at
the ends of its branches. Since its introduction to England in the 1800’s, many coleus
cultivars have been selected for variations in foliage form and color. Some
people remove the flower spikes keep the plant from diverting resources from
the leaves to developing seeds. Others enjoy the blue flowers.
See this plant at entrances during the summer and in containers around campus.
Herbaceous perennial to about nine inches to three feet tall, depending on the variety. Usually, it is grown as a summer annual in north Florida.
Light: full sun to shade (sun tolerance depends on variety)
Water: average, somewhat drought tolerant
Soil: average soil, no special requirements
This is an easy plant to grow during the summer in northeast
varieties will grow in shade. Some tolerate full sun. Cultivars at the nursery
with intricate patterns in the leaves may turn solid red when planted in the
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