Thursday, October 3, 2013

In Praise Of The Coleus

Hello! I'd be the first to admit I'm a rather lazy flower gardener, as more of my outdoor efforts go toward my vegetable garden. However, I do like to have a few nice planters to dress up the front and side entrances of our house.

Since both entrances are in part shade, I am limited to plants that do well under that condition. Enter the humble coleus. I used to think it was a somewhat boring plant, but new varieties have meant more colorful coleus. And so year after year, I have used this plant to brighten up these  parts of our house. 

This year my coleus seem to be even better than ever, so I thought them worthy of a post. Let's begin with the side entrance:

Three coleus plants in a vintage pail (a one dollar garage sale purchase). 

Here, two planters line the front porch steps; these planters have three coleus plants apiece in them. The top planter, on the porch itself, is potted with four plants. In previous years, I have mixed-and-matched different colors of coleus in each planter, but this year I stuck to one color per planter. Maybe that's why I think they look better than ever this year? 

The pot on the left was a two dollar Goodwill find, while the pot on the right was a gift from my husband from a fair trade store in downtown Holland, The Bridge. 

These coleus have been potted in an ordinary plastic pot, but the pot itself sits in a vintage wicker piece that had originally belonged to my grandmother. It arrived to me painted red, but I sprayed painted it white. 

I might have fed my coleus once or twice all season, but basically all I do is water them as needed and pick off an occasional frayed leaf. That brings up another point: we are bothered by Asiatic brown beetles, which seem to strip plants of leaves overnight (literally!). My coleus seem to escape the worst of their appetites though. 

The growing season is winding down, of course, but come next spring, I'll be buying coleus once again. They are easily found at garden centers, including the ones that pop up seasonally at the big box stores, but I get mine from the local nursery, Jonkers.


  1. Thanks for sharing this! I remember asking you what this plant was, now I can refer to this post next Spring. I will definitely be planting some of these next year. They would look nice with my house colors.

  2. You're welcome! They really are easy-care plants, and they come in a nice variety of colors.