AskDefine | Define coleus

Dictionary Definition

coleus n : any of various Old World tropical plants of the genus Coleus having multicolored decorative leaves and spikes of blue flowers [syn: flame nettle]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A plant of several species of the Mint family, cultivated for its bright-colored or variegated leaves.




coleus (plural colei)

Extensive Definition

Solenostemon is a genus of perennial plants, native to tropical Africa, Asia, Australia, the East Indies, the Malay Archipelago, and the Philippines. They are commonly known as Coleus, a name which derives from an earlier classification under the genus name Coleus, species of which are currently included in either Solenostemon or another genus, Plectranthus.


Species include:


Many cultivars of the southeast Asian species Solenostemon scutellarioides have been selected for their colorful variegated leaves, typically with sharp contrast between the colors; the leaves may be green, pink, yellow, maroon, and red (somewhat resembling the unrelated caladium). The plants grow well in moist well-drained soil, and typically grow 0.5-1 m tall, though some may grow as tall as 2 meters. Coleus are typically grown as ornamental plants. They are heat-tolerant, though they do less well in full sun in subtropical areas than in the shade. In cultivation in temperate areas, they are often grown as annuals as they are not hardy and become leggy and unattractive with age. In bright hot areas, the colors of the plant will typically be more intense in shaded areas than in full sun, and the plants will require less water there. Coleus also make low-maintenance houseplants, and can often be propagated by clipping a length of stem just below the leaves and putting the stem in water to root. The plant's flowers grow on a stem above that stem's leaves, and tend to be purple and quite small in comparison to the leaves. The plant is not generally grown for its flowers.


One disease that can affect coleus is downy mildew. This mildew appears on the leaves making the plant look dirty because it is brown in color. The organism is called Peronospora sp. and can also result in curled leaves. The leaves also twist. Sometimes symptoms are not found on leaves which make the disease harder to control. Another disease is Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus which causes brown or yellow spots on leaves, rings, black or brown stem discoloration, and brown leaf veins. It is a virus that causes plants to die. The disease is spread by an insect called a thrips that develops the disease from an infected plant and carries it to an uninfected plant. It only takes a few of these insects to infect a whole greenhouse.


There are two ways to propagate Coleus. Seeds are inexpensive and easily obtainable. Sprouts can show color in as little as two weeks. Alternatively, cuttings can be taken.
coleus in German: Buntnessel
coleus in Spanish: Solenostemon
coleus in Persian: حسن یوسف
coleus in French: Coléus
coleus in Malay (macrolanguage): Ati-ati
coleus in Dutch: Siernetel
coleus in Japanese: コリウス
coleus in Romanian: Coleus
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1