University of Maryland Extension

Sun Coleus

Text and Photo by Christine Pfister McComas

Solenostemon scutellarioides

Coleus in a sunny bed? Unheard of…until now.  Long grown for colorful foliage in shade, newer varieties pass the hot sun test with flying colors, literally.  In red, lime, peach, yellow, burgundy, pink--all shades at the warm end of the spectrum--plus patterns and frilly-leaved varieties, an internet search of sun coleus images almost induces a wholesome and legal euphoria, as the beauty and breadth is incredible.  Coleus is easy to grow and low maintenance in a well-drained soil of medium fertility. Colors are best when not heavily fertilized.   Many grow 12- 24” tall, but read labels, as some are larger. Pinching the growing tips encourages fullness, and tip cuttings are not difficult to root. Coleus do well in containers and garden beds and can be overwintered as houseplants.

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