Coleus

How to grow solenostemon (coleus)

Find out all you need to know about growing solenostemon, in this detailed Grow Guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Plant
Plant

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do not Plant in March

Do not Plant in April

Do Plant in May

Do Plant in June

Do not Plant in July

Do not Plant in August

Do not Plant in September

Do not Plant in October

Do not Plant in November

Do not Plant in December

Take cuttings
Take cuttings

Do not Take cuttings in January

Do not Take cuttings in February

Do not Take cuttings in March

Do not Take cuttings in April

Do not Take cuttings in May

Do Take cuttings in June

Do Take cuttings in July

Do not Take cuttings in August

Do not Take cuttings in September

Do not Take cuttings in October

Do not Take cuttings in November

Do not Take cuttings in December

Solenostemon or coleus is usually grown as a flamboyant bedding plant or conservatory houseplant.

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It comes in lots variations and colours, with dramatic foliage being its show stopping feature. The flowers are not very significant, but the leaf colour ranges from bright reds, yellows, greens, bronzes, pinks and browns. Solenostemon is actually an ornamental member of the mint family, native to Indonesia. It looks good in bedding schemes or as filler at the front of a summer border or in pots and containers.

All species formerly placed in the Coleus genus have now been split into either Plectranthus or Solenostemon.

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Follow the advice in this start-to-finish guide to growing solenostemon.


Where to grow solenostemon

Planting coleus
Planting solenostemon as a bedding plant

Given its exotic origins, solenostemon is a tender perennial, but is most typically grown as an annual in the UK in borders or containers. Choose a sheltered spot outdoors, with moist but well-drained soil in full sun or part shade at the front of a border, on a patio or in a window box.


Planting solenostemon

Planting coleus with lantana and impatiens
Planting solenostemon with lantana and impatiens

Plant into well-worked soil with added compost and a slow release fertiliser, after all risk of frost has passed. Try this planting combination with solenostemon, for a shady window box.


Propagating solenostemon

Taking solenostemon cuttings
Taking solenostemon cuttings

Take cuttings from solenostemon plants in summer to increase your supply of plants and grow on for next season – overwinter in a greenhouse or conservatory. Watch our video for advice on how to take cuttings.


Solenostemon: problem solving

Solenostemon has no problem with diseases, but if grown in a conservatory or indoors, look out for pests such as whitefly, mealybugs and scale insects.


Caring for solenostemon

Frost damage to solenostemon
Frost damage to solenostemon foliage

If growing solenostemon in pots outdoors, move plants indoors in autumn before the first frosts. If using as bedding plants, you could transfer to pots and move to a sheltered indoor area. Alternatively, grow as a conservatory houseplant.

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Solenostemon varieties to try