Easy-to-grow coleus plants aren’t just for shade anymore. Heat and sun-tolerant varieties are widely available, making them a popular choice for many areas, and their bold and beautiful foliage make them the center of attention no matter where they’re planted. Although technically an evergreen perennial, coleus are usually grown as annuals because these tender tropicals can’t handle even the slightest frost.

Coleus plants have an incredible range of natural color variation, but enthusiasts and breeders have taken them a step further with colors from bright chartreuse to hot pink to velvety near-black, and any number of combinations. There are plants with solid-colored foliage, and ones with heavily contrasted veining, stripes or splotches. Coleus leaves range from one to six-inches long, and also come in many different shapes and sizes. Coleus plants also have unique, square semi-succulent stems.

he amount of light can have a dramatic impact on plant size and leaf color. For the best leaf color, a location that receives morning sun and dappled afternoon shade is best. Darker-leaved varieties tend to handle more sunlight better than those with lighter-colored leaves. Also, choose a wind-protected area, as their semi-succulent stems are prone to breakage.

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