Coleus is an annual flower that does well in See more pictures of annual flowers.

Coleus is an annual flower that is a colorful classic with serrated leaves on branching plants. Coleus is a member of the mint family.

Description: Plants show their colors when small. Leaves are banded and veined with multiple improbable colors like purple, lime, red, brown, white, and copper, in a variety of lacy or plain shapes. Leaf size can be from 1 to 6 inches, and plants have a mounded shape anywhere from 6 to 36 inches tall and almost as wide.

How to grow: Grow plants in moist, rich soil in partial shade. Space ten or more inches apart. Protect coleus from frost and drought. Pinch back tips for bushiness. Remove flower spikes before they open.

Propagation: Start seeds indoors eight weeks before planting. Seeds germinate in 10 to 12 days at 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Root tip cuttings for a week or two in moist soil, vermiculite, or even plain water.

Uses: Group identically colored plants together for better design. Use plants in containers, bedding designs, and borders. Side branches, cut, have been known to make roots while still in bouquets.

Related varieties: Breeders love the many variations of color and form. Solid purple and velvety Palisandra is great for combinations. Countless named types in all colors have tiny, huge, frilled, or serrated leaves and have led to a craze for coleus.

Scientific name: Solenostemon scutellaroides

As an indoor plant, coleus thrives easily and is therefore a welcome colorful addition to the living room. Learn what makes it such a perfect house plant in the following section.

Want more information? Try these:

  • Annual Flowers. Discover your favorite annual flowers. We've organized them by color, sunlight, soil type, and height to make it easy to plan your garden.
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  • Perennial Flowers. Complement your annuals with these delightful perennial flowers. They are also organized by height, soil type, sunlight, and color.