14 Coleus Varieties to bring Color to your Shade Garden

Do you need plants for your shade garden? Let’s talk about one amazing plant that’s coming back into the modern garden… coleus! Whether to add to a more formal garden bed, or be placed in a colorful, moving pot, this plant just keeps giving us more and greater flexibility and styles. And because of its ability to grow fast from seed, we have a lot of different coleus varieties for the shade! Plant breeders have had a fun time discovering new colors and patterns… from the vibrant, smooth greens, to the twisted, curly reds, this plant has been doing it all! And remember, coleus does well in shade or in partial sun. It also does best in slightly moist soil. So here are 14 of the most common types of coleus varieties for your shade garden!

Note: The scientific name of Coleus is Solenostemon scutellarioides, so technically all of the following names are S. scutellarioides ‘Variety’. However, most nurseries will recognize the name Coleus much faster, so I will refer to them simply as Coleus.

Click here to subscribe

1. Coleus ‘Watermelon’

This Coleus does great in the flower beds, with a bright pink center rimmed with a light green, almost feathery leaf. This is one of the most popular varieties of coleus sold in garden centers. And, it is also one of my own personal favorites!

2. Coleus ‘Fishnet’

‘Fishnet’ Coleus adds a whole lot of texture to any landscape. With dark purple veins emphasizing the jagged cut leaves, this variety will make a bold statement. For an even more Gothic look, try out the variety ‘Under the Sea Fishnet’. A close relative, but quite the daring sibling.

3. Coleus ‘Alabama’

Also known as Alabama sunset, and sometimes called Alabama sunrise, this coleus features yellow centers, pink leaves, and a slightly toothed leaf texture.

4. Coleus ‘Dark Star’

This is a crowd favorite! The ‘Dark Star’ is a great way to add those deep black hues into the garden for the entire season. And these black plants add quite a bit of popular drama!

5. Coleus ‘Rustic Orange’

This Coleus is one of the several in the orange and red range. ‘Rustic Orange’ keeps it lighter with the yellow-green border, but there are several deep orange and red options too, such as ‘Ruby Slipper’, ‘Campfire’, and ‘Inferno’.

6. Coleus ‘Chocolate Covered Cherry’

Chocolate Covered Cherry is known for its bright red centers, dark red middles, and bright green edges. Quite the contrast in colors, this twisted foliage is sure to draw attention!

7. Coleus ‘Chaotic Rose’

While this Coleus brings a lot of the same colors as the ‘Chocolate Covered Cherry’, the thin, needle-like leaves add a much sharper texture. This can be very useful as a break from the many large, round flowering species’ foliage.

8. Coleus ‘Henna’

‘Henna’ is also a great texture plant. With it’s ruffled leaves and the distinctive reddish-brown color, this Coleus will definitely add some variety to a pot or even an entire bed. Coleus ‘Indian Summer’ is also very similar, but brings in more of a purple tone, rather than the more bold reds of ‘Henna’.

9. Coleus ‘Dipt in Wine’

This fantastic variety is also one of the crowd favorites! With very similar colors to ‘Chocolate Covered Cherry’ and ‘Chaotic Rose’, this variety has a distinctive speckling of the leaves, almost like the wine-colored reds are dripping off each individual leaf. This adds almost a mosaic of color from the entire plant.

10. Coleus ‘Painted Lady’

The ‘Painted Lady’ Coleus is very similar and often called the ‘Finger Paint’ Coleus. Both have very distinctive red splotches of color in a random scattering over the light green leaves.

11. Coleus ‘Trusty Rusty’

‘Trusty Rusty’ is a gorgeous blend of a red center with a light yellow-green border. This variety is also one of the more common varieties and is used in pots and beds as either group plantings, borders, or even individually. This is a well-adaptable variety that brings in that extra splash of color.

12. Coleus ‘Limelight’

There are several varieties of the bright green coleus, including ‘Limelight’, ‘Lime Time’, and ‘Electric Lime’. These all have very light, almost neon colors that look great backed against darker foliage.

13. Coleus ‘Inky Fingers’

Boasting its delicate, lobed foliage, the contrasting purple and green adds vibrant color as well as rich texture in the landscape.

14. Coleus ‘Chocolate Mint’

With just a ribbon of green to lace its edges, there is an almost delicate, lace feel to these leaves. The only thing is I wish this plant really smelled like chocolate mint!

That’s all I’ve included for today. However, there are over a thousand different cultivars of coleus varieties for the shade, so please be understanding if your favorite is not on this list. Please comment below if there are any more you’d like to share, and check out my post 12 Best Plants for the Shade for more plants that will do well in your shade garden!

Click here to subscribe

2 thoughts on “14 Coleus Varieties to bring Color to your Shade Garden”

  1. what is eating the leaves on my coleus plants. the ones in my pots and beds.??? How to prevent this???

    • I would have to see, but the most common eaters are slugs, snails, and grasshoppers… see if you can’t find a few still around them to know what it is…

Comments are closed.