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We’re at summer’s end and look what’s starring in my garden – the humble Coleus. Once restricted to shady spots, these newer sun-tolerant ones are something else, growing tall enough to actually provide privacy for this front-yard patio. The pots they’re in give them an added lift, but still.

Another view. That mass of chartreuse goodness is the product of two plants.

These pots each have just one plant in them.

Who needs flowers when leaves are this gorgeous?

Though not the stars of the show, Coleus flowers are sure popular with bees, like this one, possibly a carpenter bee. (Larger than a bumble bee, but black and yellow.)

Planting Advice, Please

Trouble is, on hot days these sun-tolerant Coleuses wilt within a couple of hours of being watered, so I’m having to water at least twice a day. Should I be doing something special to make the pots hold water longer? Surely not those gels that I keep reading about not working.

Now for a bonus annual – Iresine ‘Blazin’ Lime.‘ Amazing show from just one plant in each pot, and they grow quickly to that size. Note the red stems – very rhubarbish. No need for flowers on this plant, either.

And in my back garden, Iresines ‘Blazin’ Rose‘ are stand-outs against a sea of mostly green.

Posted by

Susan Harris
on September 2, 2016 at 7:33 am, in the category It’s the Plants, Darling.


  1. I love coleus, and they perform so well in our summer heat (and sun–something I’m still getting used to, having grown up with coleus as “shade” plants!). One of my favorites is ‘Sedona’, which goes so well with tropicals. My quibble is that, like caladiums (and basil, grrr), coleus starts looking sad as soon as the weather starts to turn cool and especially once nights turn cold. I like my annuals to last a bit longer into the fall!

  2. Containers can be tricky to water. Too little water and the whole thing dries up and pulls away from the pot, too much and the bottom half is waterlogged and the roots only occupy half the pot. Whenever I see plants in decent sized pots that need watered 2x a day, I always wonder if perhaps it is being watered too much for the container medium. Coleus is definitely a thirsty one though. What are you using for container medium?

  3. Next time it wilts, stick a big bamboo skewer in the soil as far as it will go and let it sit there for a few minutes then pull it out. If it is damp then lack of water is not the problem and you might want to use a different container medium with more air space.

  4. I grow all of my coleus in sub-irrigated planters (SIPs) which have water reservoirs in the bottom of each planter. Plants grown in SIPs take up water when they need it so my coleuses grow to be quite large and long into the fall.

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