Photo credit: delawareonline

Coleus: universal beauty in container

Photo credit: delawareonline

Not your momma’s plant: Year of the coleus

by Moira Sheridan

Coleus has come a long way from the variegated six-packs sold in the shade section of local garden centers.

The humble annual has expanded its versatility as an outstanding foliage plant with seemingly endless new variety in color, pattern, leaf shape, branching habit and sun tolerance.

It ain’t your mama’s coleus anymore, and to celebrate, the National Gardening Bureau has named 2015 the Year of the Coleus.

Modern coleus breeding focuses on new color combinations and foliage characteristics, or unusual growth habits. Most groundbreaking has been breeding a tolerance for more sun exposure. The term, “sun coleus,” refers to selections that have been observed to tolerate more direct sunlight, although they likewise require more moisture.

Fortunately, coleus is one of the easiest plants to grow. From seed, cuttings or bedding plants, it adapts to any spot with good drainage and it is a classic filler tucked into the perennial bed or under shrubs and trees. Like any annual, it benefits from good watering and periodic fertilizing. If it becomes leggy, or develops flowers, plants can be pinched back by a third during the season.

Read the full article: delawareonline

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.