Leaves in shades of lime to burgundy provide attention-grabbing summer color

Julie Chai,  – August 9, 2006

Few foliage plants prompt as much conversation as coleus. With new and more vibrant varieties hitting the market each year, it’s hard not to find at least one that will fit into your garden.

Colors: Coleus comes in a range of foliage shades including lime, red, burgundy, apricot, salmon, and seemingly endless pattern combinations of those.

Size: They reach about 1 to 2 feet tall and almost as wide. Small lavender flower spikes are inconsequential ― many think the plants look best if you remove the blooms.

Care: These tropical plants like bright indirect light or light shade (in general, the redder the foliage, the more sun it can take), and need regular water and well-draining soil.

Planting: Coleus grows in all zones as a warm season annual. They also do well indoors in bright light. Buy mature plants, start new plants from cuttings, or grow from seed in spring. Pinch back plants regularly to keep plants compact.

Companions: Plant alongside impatiens, begonias, ornamental grasses, small phormiums, sweet potato vine, and heliotrope.