Over the past few years, I have cultivated a taste for coleus plants. I grew up during the 1950s, and I do not remember that the coleus plants of my childhood were as vividly colored as they are now. The coleus plants that I saw when I was young seemed to be browner, but during the past few years that has changed.

Wizard Rose Coleus – 2010

I discovered two fabulous coleus plants that were the stars of my garden in 2021. Wizard Rose Coleus is perhaps my favorite of all coleus plants, but I have not found another of these since 2021.

Black Dragon Coleus – 2021

Also during 2021, I discovered Black Dragon Coleus, but again, I have not found another of these since 2021.

Coleus Pinkplosion – Image Credit White Farms

You will not detect anything brown in the coleus plants above. Wizard Rose is a brilliant pink with tones of green. Pinkplosion is a bit darker than Wizard Rose. Black Dragon is a gorgeous variety of magentas, maroons, and purples. All are outstanding plants.

Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioides 'Main Street La Rambla'

La Rambla Coleus – Image Credit Ebert’s Greenhouse

During 2023, I discovered La Rambla.

No photo description available.
Flamethrower Coleus in Jacki Kellum Garden 2023

During 2023, I have also discovered Flamethrower. Its leaves are more slender and more arrow-like than those of most coleus plants.

In the above photo, you also see a lime green coleus that grew in my garden in 2021. Its name is Limelight. I believe that the pinkish coleus is Pinkplosion.

Coleus in Jacki Kellum Garden – 2021

Coleus plants are also called Painted Nettles, and painted they are.

Hardy Hibiscus Summer Carnival Near Coleus in Jacki Kellum Garden

I am not trying to confuse the issue, but this year, I discovered the hardy hibiscus plant Summer Carnival that has coleus-like foliage. I placed my coleus plant near Summer Carnival to facilitate the comparison of the leaves,

Foliage of Hardy Hibiscus Summer Carnival in Jacki Kellum Garden

Again, hardy hibiscus plants and coleus plants are not the same.

Summer Carnival has massive, 7″ blooms, and Coleus plants only produce a few small blossoms toward the end of their seasons.


Hardy Hibiscus Sugar Tip – Photo Credit Garden Crossings.

I have discovered that there are a few other varieties of hardy hibiscus plants with variegated leaves, and next year, I hope to add others of them to my garden, too.

Coleus plants are similar to the old, traditional nettles of English lore, but they are not exactly the same.

Dead Nettle | White Flower Farm

Dead Nettle – Photo Credit Proven Winners

Lamium, Perennials, Dead Nettle | American Meadows

Photo Credit American Meadows

Dead Nettle is a small, ground cover. In the above photo, you see it circling the green and white hosta plants. There are several varieties of lamium similar to the Purple Dragon. Some of the lamium plants can be invasive, but again, Coleus or Painted Nettle and Dead Nettle are not the same Nettles that I’ve seen mentioned in the lore of old England.

n208_w1150 | Botanical drawings, Botanical illustration, Plant illustration


Culpepper talks about Nettle in his book The Complete Herbal that was published in 1653:

Wikipedia says the following about the distinction between Nettle and Coleus plants:

“Coleus scutellarioides, commonly known as coleus, is a species of flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae (the mint or deadnettle family), native to southeast Asia through to Australia. Typically growing to 60–75 cm (24–30 in) tall and wide, it is a bushy, woody-based evergreen perennial, widely grown for the highly decorative variegated leaves found in cultivated varieties.[2] Another common name is painted nettle,[3] reflecting its relationship to deadnettles (Lamium species), which are in the same family. (True nettles and their close kin are in the family Urticaceae.)” Wikipedia

Wikipedia names the following as some of the varieties of the coleus family that have gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit::

Note: None of the following images are mine. I found these photos through Google Images.

Колеус Блэк Принц (Черный Принц) 2447 | Мой сад

Black Prince Coleus

Solenostemon 'China Rose' | Alan Buckingham

China Rose Coleus

Coleus 'Combat' (Coleus 'Combat') - Plants | Candide Gardening

Combat Coleus

coleus 'Crimson Ruffles' | wouter en bua | Flickr

Crimson Ruffles Coleus

Coleus Gay's Delight – Premier Growers, Inc.

Gay’s Delight Coleus

Solenostemon Henna (Coleus)

Henna or Balcenna Coleus

Coleus Juliet Quartermain | Plant & Flower Stock Photography: GardenPhotos.com

Juliet Quartermain Coleus

Solenostemon (Coleus) 'Lord Falmouth' | Plant & Flower Stock Photography: GardenPhotos.com

Lord Falmouth Coleus

Picturatus Coleus

Coleus 'Pineapplette' | Last year, I didn't know the name of… | Flickr

Pineapplette Coleus

Pink Chaos - Coleus - Plectranthus scutellarioides

Pink Chaos Coleus

Solenostemon Redhead (Coleus)

Redhead Coleus

Deeproot Plant Base Online - Solenostemon 'Royal Scot'

Royal Scot Coleus


Focus on Coleus Plants, Sometimes Called Painted Nettle

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