Coleus scutellarioides ‘Songbird’

Coleus ‘Songbird’ on 5-23-17, #332-1

Coleus ‘Songbird’

Coleus scutellarioides

KO-lee-us  skew-tell-ar-ee-OH-ih-deez


Plectranthus scutellarioides


Solenostemon scutellarioides

Coleus scutellarioides (L.) Benth. is the accepted scientific name for 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.

As of 1-2-23 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 301 species in the Coleus genus. It is a member of the plant family Lamiaceae with 232 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.


Coleus ‘Songbird’ in the bed on the north side of the house needing a drink on 5-26-17, #334-7.

I brought this beautiful Coleus home from the Green Sreet Market in Clinton, Missouri on May 22, 2017. Apparently, there is an older “version” of Coleus ‘Songbird’ as I found out when I did some research online.

Most websites do not mention the breeder, as with many Coleus, but I think maybe, possibly, the breeder of Coleus ’Songbird’ is a company called Athena Brazil (according to C. Raker & Sons trial of this cultivar in 2014). The Athena Brazil website says their program features over 50 varieties of Coleus.

Coleus ‘Songbird’ on 6-11-17, #343-7.

The tag that came with the plant says this cultivar grows to 30” tall. Information from the internet says anywhere from 18 to 28” and up to 24” plus wide. The 2014 trial from C. Raker & Sons says in week 34 Coleus ’Songbird’ measured 27” tall x 27” wide.

Coleus ‘Songbird’ on 6-24-17, #349-24.

Most of the photos of Coleus ‘Songbird’ online are much more colorful. Mine is nearly black! Descriptions say the leaves of Coleus ‘Songbird’ are a combination of purple and magenta edged in

Coleus ‘Songbird’ on 7-11-17, #356-8.

This Coleus is very adaptable from sun to shade. Probably the color of this plant’s leaves has a lot to do with the kind of light it receives.

Coleus ‘Songbird’ on 7-19-17, #357-18.

After several months it did start producing flowers that needed pinched. I think possibly I should have pinched it so it would have branched out more. Every photo looks almost alike except that it is definitely getting taller.

It is just August 17 when I am making this page so there will be a few months of photos left to take.

So far I give the Coleus ‘Songbird’ a five gold star rating for color, strong growth, heat tolerance, etc. We had had plenty of rain in 2017 so I only had to water it twice.

You can read my Coleus scutellarioides page by clicking HERE for more information and a list of all the Coleus I have grown.

I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant. If you notice I made an error, please let me know. Of course, you can always send me an email at



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