Coleus scutellarioides-Coleus

The bed close to the den in the backyard at the mansion in Mississippi on 9-15-10, #59-25. I made this bed in the spring of 2010. The potting area was behind this bed under a Ligustrum tree and HUGE Magnolia.


Some time ago I was informed the scientific name for the Coleus was going to change again. In an email dated June 24, 2019, about the change, I was told “the paper is in press now.” So, be prepared for the name to change from Plectranthus scutellarioides to Coleus scutellarioides sometime soon.” Hmmm… Back to the genus name it was given in 1830.


Coleus scutellarioides

KO-lee-us  skew-tell-ar-ee-OH-ih-deez


Plectranthus scutellarioides


Solenostemon scutellarioides

Synonyms of Coleus scutellarioides (60) (Updated on 2-12-21): Calchas acuminatus (Benth.) P.V.Heath, Calchas atropurpureus (Benth.) P.V.Heath, Calchas crispipilus (Merr.) P.V.Heath, Calchas scutellarioides (L.) P.V.Heath, Calchas scutellarioides var. angustifolia (Benth.) P.V.Heath, Calchas scutellarioides var. crispipilus (Merr.) P.V.Heath, Calchas scutellarioides var. limnophila (Benth.) P.V.Heath, Coleus acuminatus Benth., Coleus atropurpureus Benth., Coleus berkeleyi T.Moore, Coleus blancoi Benth., Coleus blumei Benth., Coleus crispipilus (Merr.) Merr., Coleus dixii T.Moore, Coleus formosanus Hayata, Coleus gaudichaudii Briq., Coleus gibbsiae S.Moore, Coleus gibsonii J.J.Veitch, Coleus grandifolius Blanco, Coleus grandifolius Benth., Coleus hybridus Cobeau, Coleus igolotorum Briq., Coleus ingratus (Blume) Benth., Coleus integrifolius Elmer, Coleus laciniatus (Blume) Benth., Coleus marshallii T.Moore, Coleus multiflorus Benth., Coleus pubescens Merr., Coleus pumilus Blanco, Coleus rehneltianus A.Berger, Coleus ruckeri T.Moore, Coleus saundersii T.Moore, Coleus savannicola K.Schum., Coleus scutellarioides var. angustifolius Benth., Coleus scutellarioides var. laxus Benth., Coleus scutellarioides var. limnophilus Benth., Coleus secundiflorus Benth., Coleus veitchii Dombrain, Coleus verschaffeltii Lem., Coleus zschokkei Merr., Germanea nudiflora Poir., Majana acuminata (Benth.) Kuntze, Majana blancoi (Benth.) Kuntze, Majana grandifolia (Benth.) Kuntze, Majana multiflora (Benth.) Kuntze, Majana pumila (Blanco) Kuntze, Majana scutellariodes (L.) Kuntze, Majana secundiflora (Benth.) Kuntze, Ocimum peltatum Schweigg. ex Schrank, Ocimum scutellarioides L., Perilla nankinensis Wender., Plectranthus aromaticus Roxb., Plectranthus blumei (Benth.) Launert, Plectranthus ingratus Blume, Plectranthus laciniatus Blume, Plectranthus nudiflorus (Poir.) Willd., Plectranthus scutellarioides Blume, Plectranthus scutellarioides (L.) R.Br., Solenostemon blumei (Benth.) M.Gómez, Solenostemon scutellarioides (L.) Codd

Coleus scutellarioides (L.) Benth. is the correct and accepted scientific of this species of Coleus. It was named and described as such by George Bentham in Plantae Asiaticae Rariores in 1830. It was first named and described as Ocimum scutellarioides by Carl von Linnaeus in the second volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.

To read the research document published on Phytokeys, “Nomenclatural changes in Coleus and Plectranthus (Lamiaceae): a tale of more than two genera” by Alan J. Patton and others”, click HERE. I think this is the document presented to make the name changes. 

The two most common synonyms that plants are still sold under are Plectranthus scutellarioides and Solenostemon scutellarioides. 

Now a synonym, Plectranthus scutellarioides (L.) R.Br. was described as such by Robert Brown in Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae in 1810.

Now a synonym, Solenostemon scutellarioides (L.) Codd was described by Leslie Edward Wastell Codd in Bothalia in 1975.

The genus, Coleus Lour., was named and described as such by João de Loureiro in Flora Cochinchinensis in 1790.

Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 241 species in the Coleus genus (as of 2-12-21 when I last updated this page) It is a member of the plant family Lamiaceae with 236 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made.

 This guide in Dave’s Garden, “Plectranthus”, written by Marie Harrison in 2011, has some very interesting information.

My love for Coleus goes way back to when I was in kindergarten and my teacher gave all the kids in her class a Coleus plant in a cup.

Over the years I have grown MANY different cultivars and they are among my favorite annuals. They come in so many different types, colors, sizes, leaf shapes… One could never possibly grow them all and new cultivars become available every year.

Coleus are very easy to grow and propagate. I find they do best in part to light shade alto many newer cultivars do well in full sun. I haven’t had the courage to put any of mine in full sun.

FAMILY: Lamiaceae (Mint family).
ORIGIN: Tropical and subtropical areas in Asia and Malaysia.
SIZE: Depending on cultivar and type, can grow from 6” to 36” PLUS tall x 6” to 36” PLUS wide.
LIGHT: Light to full shade. There are cultivars viable that tolerate full sun.
SOIL: They do best in a fertile, loose, well-drained soil with organic matter.
WATER: They seem to prefer their soil to be moist and not dry out. On occasion, mine have dried out to the point the plants are drooping. Once I water them, they perk back up with no problem.
FLOWERS: Most Coleus flowers are insignificant and should be pinched off. The plants bushier when the buds are removed and seem to do better. The flowers do, however, attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
USES: Beds, borders, containers, mass plantings, mixed containers, houseplants, etc…
PROPAGATION: Stem cuttings can be taken pretty much anytime and can root in water and damp soil.

Normally I buy new pants every year, but when I lived in Mississippi I did take cuttings and overwinter them in the sunrooms. I have dug entire plants and put them in pots for overwintering but found that sometimes didn’t work very well. Coleus tends to develop what is called “blackleg” and then they die. I have found it best to take cuttings late in the season (depending on where you live) and then overwinter the cuttings. You can keep them in water, but if you do this, you should then take a cutting of that plant and start again. They sometimes have difficulty adapting from water to soil.

On the pages connected with this page, you will see all the cultivars I have grown since 2009. Some were given to me by other people and some I didn’t know the names of. The problem with un-named plants is that is it nearly impossible to figure out their names. You can look through thousands of photos and not figure it out. That is because there are many different series of plants that look so similar. The other is that yours may not have been growing in the same conditions, and different light will make them look different from those in the photos. I have guessed a few times, but I always try and buy only plants with tags in their pots unless I already know what they are, which isn’t that often.

Below, in alphabetical order, is a sample of the cultivars I have grown since 2009:

Coleus ‘Big Blond’

Coleus ‘Bonnie Gold’

Coleus ‘Defiance’ Wizard

Coleus ‘Dipt in Wine’

Coleus Electric Lime’

Coleus ‘Florida Sunshine’

Coleus ‘Henna’

Coleus ‘India Frills’

Coleus ‘Indian Summer’

Coleus ‘Kong Red’

Coleus ‘Kong Lime Sprite’

Coleus ‘Kong Scarlet’

Coleus ‘Pineapple Splash’

Coleus ‘Redhead’

Coleus ‘Royal Glissade’

Coleus ‘Rustic Orange’

Coleus ‘Songbird’

Coleus ‘Spiced Curry’

Coleus ‘Wasabi’

PLUS 13 unnamed varieties...

If you can find any Coleus at your local garden center, Rosy Dawn Gardens is a Coleus specialist in the U.S.. They have HUNDREDS to choose from!

I hope the above pages help you and you find them useful. Please leave comments if you have questions or experiences to share. You can also contact me through the link at the top of the page or send an email at


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