Coleus- Fairway Orange Seeds. Excellent foliage, shade loving annual
Coleus- Fairway Orange Seeds , Apricot-orange leaves veined in magenta, hemmed with chartreuse
Planting and Care
Coleus has long been considered a shade plant but the best leaf color is achieved with morning sun and some degree of afternoon shade. Many varieties do well in both shade and part-sun. Some can take quite a bit of sun as long as they are not allowed to dry out. Avoid overly damp soils, which can cause leaf drop and encourage disease. Plant coleus after danger of frost has passed when soil temperatures have warmed sufficiently and evening temperatures are above 60 degrees F. Feed plants regularly with a water-soluble fertilizer, especially if they are growing in containers.
To maintain plant form, pinch back every few weeks to prevent flower formation. Pinch just above a set of leaves or branching junction for the best appearance; don't leave a stub. Some gardeners leave the small flowers, but it's best to pinch them off to direct more energy into stem and foliage growth. Coleus left to flower may lose vigor as the plant puts energy into seed production.
Getting More Plants
Raising coleus from seed is relatively easy. Plan to sow them indoors, eight to 12 weeks before the last frost date in your area. Because seeds require light to germinate, sow them on the surface. Be sure to monitor water levels carefully. For best results, use a seedstarting system and read How to Start Seeds.
Overwintering coleus plants as houseplants is another way to get more plants. Temperatures near 70 degrees F. are required. Rotate plants and pinch back as needed to maintain form. Use grow lights to provide adequate light.
Coleus in Containers
Coleus do well in pots and planters, as long as they are planted in free-draining potting soil, fertilized regularly and given the right amount of sun. Avoid windy locations because coleus can be prone to breakage. Feed regularly during the growing season, following the rate recommended on the package. Coleus do not show their best color if over-fertilized, so be conservative and consistent. You may want to consider self-watering planters, especially in sunny locations.
Coleus can be included in hanging baskets, too. Some of the trailing selections will flow nicely over the edge. Compact, bushy types can be used in the center of the basket. Keep in mind that coleus are thirsty and a hanging basket can dry out quickly — choose a self-watering basket for best results.