Information about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld



Coleus scutellarioides

Synonyms: Plectranthus scutellarioides, Coleus blumei, Solenostemon scutellarioides and many others
Family: Lamiaceae

This species is back in the botanical genus Coleus after being Plectranthus scutellarioides for a time and Solenostemon scutellarioides and Coleus blumei before that. There are many other Coleus species, but this is the one that is most widely known simply as "coleus".

These soft-wooded perennials/sub-shrubs are grown for their variously coloured foliage. They're very useful for providing quick, easy, and prolonged colour in formal and informal gardens, tropical and traditional. They're so fast-growing, large amounts of garden can be filled up quickly and at very little cost. They're also one of the easiest and fastest garden plants to propagate from cuttings.

Coleus are among those old-fashioned plants which have been rediscovered and given a "makeover" in recent decades, with many named cultivars now available in the United States and some gradually making it to Australian marketplace. Many of these have improved characteristics compared to the common types of older gardens. Some of the newer types have been bred to tolerate more sun than the shade/semishade conditions they more typically prefer.

Nevertheless they're soft, fast-growing plants that will need decent amounts of water (much like a leafy vegetable). If you don't have a suitable spot in the garden, try them in containers. They're great for filling out mixed containers with colourful annual flowers.

Coleus were covered in the 01-07-2022 edition of Get Results Gardening. Over the years, many tropical and subtropical plants suitable for Australian residential landscapes have been discussed in this weekly email publication. Find out how to get a free trial at

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