The leaves may be velvety or rough and crinkled notched or round and full. They may be one solid color or several colors in varying shades of green, red, bronze, yellow, maroon, pink, and chartreuse. Small blue or lilac flower spikes appear through the summer and needs to be taken out to conserve the plants energy. Keep by periodically cutting the stems back several inches, the plants bushy. Coleus are ideal as edging plants, as well as in flower beds, pots, and window boxes. They grow best in medium to light shade, using a rich, well-drained soil that’s kept evenly moist.
Coleus propagate easily from stem cuttings. Cuttings produced in the fall can be grown indoors over winter months, and put outdoors in the springtime following the late frost. They may also be grown from seeds, but no two plants will be alike. Start the seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before planting the seedlings outside. Pinch off flowers to keep bloom growing. Some new cultivars remain packed without topping back. Native to Java and the Philippines, coleus are grown as annuals in many regions of the country, as even the lightest freeze damages them.