F 3 & NORTH FLORIDA EXPERIMENT STATION
Dv, '2 i May 1, 1962
NFES LMMEO REPORT 62-9
COLEUS, A FOLIAGE PLANT FOR BEDDING AND POT CULTURE
by H. W. Young
Coleus have been observed at this Station for use in a genetic study. It
has become apparent that more gardeners in the area could effectively use the plant
either as a summer bedding plant or a year-round potted specimen.
Historically the plant's tendency to attract mealy bugs and the discovery
of other plants with brighter coloration have relegated it to minor use. Malathion,
one of the most widely used home insecticides, now effectively controls the mealy
bug. New varieties of Coleus, with a wider range of coloration including bright
shades of red, purple, yellow, green and white permit the selection of almost any
combination of color. Although Coleus have been reported to be susceptible to
nematode injury, no difficulty has been experienced in the trials at this Station.
Coleus will grow either in open sunlight or fairly dense shade. Brighter
coloration and better growth have resulted when grown in 25 percent shade. Adequate
moisture and moderate amounts of fertilizer are essential to good growth. The
soil must be well drained or stem rotting may develop.
Coleus may be propagated by seeds or cuttings. The seeds germinate
readily but because of their small size many gardeners have little success.
Cuttings, either with one node or more may be taken at any time and are best taken
in the spring of the year for summer bedding plants. Rooting is equally satis-
factory in peat moss, sand or water. Soon after the roots appear the plants may be
placed in peat pots, flats, or pots with a soil mixture preferably including 1/3
to 1/2 volume of peat moss or compost. A sandy loam soil may be used with somewhat
less success. When the weather becomes warm the plants may be set in their desired
To develop a rounded bushy plant the terminals of the branches may be
'pinched' several times to cause additional branches to develop. For pot culture
some gardeners will prefer to prune off all side branches which will develop a tall
one-stem plant with especially large leaves.
Although grown primarily for the foliage, the Coleus plant wil form
attractive tall spikes of bluish flowers in the latter portion of t sate. er
and early fall. Drought conditions may induce early undesirable ow.rng. \
A number of seed companies and plant nurseries have t own s ns
varieties of Coleus. The pattern and coloration possibilities a ost li4 d.
In addition to many lots of seed grown at this Station, the follow ist t
introductions have been observed and are being maintained:
PI Numbers Coleus Plant Introductions
249769 'Afterglow' Shallow scalloped, brownish orange, centers of young
leaves purplish-red, edges chartreuse.
249770 'Autumn' Shallow scalloped, deep purplish-red to reddish-brown
lightly flecked with deep pink and greenish-yellow spots.
249771 'Beauty' Moderately scalloped, center dark maroon with wide margin
of dark reddish-purple to purplish-red.
249772 'Beckwith's Gem' Shallow scalloped, center dark purplish-red
bordered by lighter purplish-red with a mottled green to light
249773 'Blackburn' Crinkled, linear, purplish-red, edged and tipped with
dark green to yellow.
249775 'Campfire' Shallow scalloped, irregularly blotched with yellow,
red, green, purplish-red appearing almost black.
249777 'Crimson Velvet' Deeply scalloped, edges crinkled, dark purplish-
red with lighter purplish-red areas throughout. Rich velvety.
249778 'Cristata' Doubly, deeply scalloped, crinkle edged, pale yellow to
cream central zone bordered by green band and yellow and green
249779 'Dominant' Shallow scalloped, somewhat blotched with areas of deep
purple, purplish-red to reddish-brown and from pale yellow to light
green, edged by light green to pale yellow.
249780 'Doris' Shallow scalloped, basal veins and edge creamy white, major
leaf portion purplish-pink bordered by dark yellowish-green.
249781 'Etna' Shallow scalloped, central portion deep reddish-black with
249782 'Excellent' Shallow scalloped, central area reddish-purple
bordered by maroon edge with green.
249783 'Freckles' Shallow scalloped, blotched in tones from reddish-
browns to pale yellowish greens.
249784 'Glitter' Shallow scalloped, central zone purplish-red bordered by
dark reddish-green areas, edged in green.
249785 'Glory of Luxemborg' Deeply scalloped, slightly crinkled, rich
velvety purplish-red, edged in pale greenish-yellow.
249786 'Harlequin' Shallow scalloped, a speckled clash of colors with
tones of red, bluish-reds, yellows and greens.
249787 'Laing's Croton' Scalloped, crinkled, linear, variable colored
from almost solid red, green or yellow to all combinations.
249788 'Lord Falmouth' Shallow scalloped, small central zone purplish-
red, bordered by a band of maroon and green, edged in green.
249790 'Paisley Shawl' Very like 'Harlequin', a Paisley Print or Cashmere
249791 'Pegasus' Shallow scalloped, relatively broad, major portion or
area dark purplish-red with green undertones, with edge of similar
color and broad lateral areas of yellow flecked with green.
249792 'Picturatum' Shallow scalloped, small, central zone purplish-red
bordered by dark maroon and edged in green.
249793 'Pineapple Beauty' Shallow scalloped, basal portion and petiole
usually deep maroon, remainder of leaf yellowish-green.
249794 'Poynton' Shallow scalloped, central zone purplish-red bordered
by dark maroon, edged in green. Green and cream blotches at random
over entire area.
249795 'Red Croton' Scalloped, crinkled, linear, central zone red
bordered by dark maroon.
249796 'Rust' Moderately scalloped, slightly crinkled, entire surface
rugose, main veins and small basal area pale yellow, remainder of
leaf pale-pink to salmon with pale green on rugae.
249797 'Russet' Shallow scalloped, central zone pale pink to red, bordered
by brownish-red and edged in pale green.
249798 'Salmon Croton' Scalloped, crinkled, linear, pale salmony-pink with
251601 'Scarlet Ribbon' Moderately scalloped, slightly crinkled, central
zone deep maroon and green, bordered by scarlet with golden yellow
to green edging.
249779 'Skylark' Shallow scalloped, purplish-red ground flecked with dark
maroon and pale greenish-yellow.
249800 'Sunbeam' Shallow scalloped, main veins reddish, central zone
creamy-white bordered by pale greenish-yellow, thin line of maroon
249802 'Sunset' Shallow scalloped, purplish-red with an undertone of green,
flecked with pale green and yellow spots. Appears luminous when wel,
249803 'Tapestry' Doubly scalloped, edges crinkled, areas variable in
color, red, green, yellow, maroon.
249806 'Vesuvius' Shallow scalloped, red, marked with dark areas and edged
in golden yellow to pale green.
249807 'White Gem' Shallow scalloped, rugose, central vein pinkish, central
zone creamy-white to pale yellow with green flecks and edging.