A Coleus Knocked On My Door

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Solenostemon scutellarioides.

Solenostemon scutellarioides who?

Solenostemon scutellarioides ‘Crimson Gold’

No joke, those crazy taxonomists renamed the common coleus a while back to Solenostemon scutellarioides.

I checked out the pronunciation on the Fine Gardening website and have decided to stick with “coleus”. I have trouble with words that end in “ioides” and sound like a fool trying to say them, or make that “more of a fool”.

Fortunately, those who are selling the plants are still calling them Coleus. This particular coleus, ‘Crimson Gold’* was sent to me by Ball Horticultural Company to grow in my garden someplace. It’s from their Versa Collection.

The someplace I chose was a container by the front door. This has not been a good location for many plants through the seasons. It is on the front porch, which, though south facing, gets very little light up by the door. Many a shade loving plant has done miserably in this location including impatiens, begonias, and even hostas.

This coleus did quite well. The six plants in this container have filled in nicely in spite of me never pinching them back and only offering a token amount of slow release fertilizer when I potted them up at the end of May, after they sat in their six pack on the porch for a few weeks.

I don’t like to molly-coddle plants.

I do think they would have been even fuller had I bothered to pinch them back at all. But I like this one well enough to pinch off a couple of cuttings to root and try to overwinter inside.

It’s time to do that now, so I’m adding it to my ever growing list of things to do in the garden. By the way, the fastest growing thing in my garden right now is that list of things to do before the snow flies. It is always that way this time of year. The list is growing longer while the days are growing shorter.

But it would all be better if it would just rain…

*Crimson Gold reminds of those households that include both an Indiana University graduate (Cream & Crimson) and a Purdue University graduate (Black & Gold). Get it?  "Crimson Gold". Or as some of us might prefer "Gold Crimson".


  1. That's a nice one! Am I right in assuming since you haven't pinched it back, it also hasn't gone to flower easily? Love coleus, just not their flowers.

  2. Kim... Yes, you are correct, it has not started to flower yet, though I think it will in a week or so.

  3. I am late arriving to the coleus party! next spring more of them will be living in containers and adding color to the green that happens at C&L mid summer!

  4. That name really is such a mouthful ... I'm sticking to Coleus too! Your Coleus is just fabulous ... it looks really terrific by the door.

    I have a few Coleus plants and I always let them flower ... I rather like the tiny little blooms. Yours certainly looks full despite the fact you haven't pinched it back.

  5. It looks pretty full to me, and as for that long botanical word, they can keep it. I need to call them coleus for now. :) They are such pretty things.

  6. Love the coleus! I use them a lot in my shade garden at the edge of the woods. Gives everything such a bright cheerful look!

  7. I love names that end in "oides," I think it's fun to say. (But then I'm a little strange.) But I'd rather type "Coleus." The Coleus is a good solution for the front porch, as it can hand sun & shade and it manages very well when the gardener forgets to water it. That's a beautiful one.

  8. Those "oides" endings indicate that the plant is "like" something -- but what the heck is a "scutellari" that this is scutellari-like? Those darned taxonomists have been reclassifying things left and right. Asters aren't asters and Sedums aren't sedums any more. Yikes, it's hard to keep score. This coleus is a good one, and whatever you call them coleus-eseses are so easy to root. I'll be keeping my 'Henna' over winter, for sure.

  9. It's a lovely coleus! I'm amazed at all the new varieties that are out now...so many colors and choices!

  10. Happily, Solenostemon scutellarioides is already obsolete: the most recent word has it as Plectranthus scutellarioides. (Proof!) I went to the trouble of learning Solenostemon, and I fully intend to get a couple years' use out of it before abandoning it for a new name.

    They seem pretty settled on the scutellarioides part, though: that's what the last three names have been, I believe. (Coleus blumei --> Coleus scutellarioides --> Solenostemon scutellarioides --> Plectranthus scutellarioides)

    @Mr. McGregor's Daughter:

    I like the -ioides names too. They're entertaining to type.


    "Scutellarioides" comes from L. scutum, meaning shield. Therefore, shield-shaped, or shield-like.

  11. I have the same COLEUS as you have at your front door. It is an amazing plant. Never cries for water like the rest of the crew. It has been growing tightly all season without pinching. And now it is a monster of a plant, living happily beside two gift hydrangeas in the same large pot. I took its photo today and will post it soon. I am so pleased with it, it is coming inside for winter. The hydrangea, not so lucky. Take some cuttings of your COLEUS, too.

  12. Carol - the coleus is 'jinormous' (Latin term for really huge) and fantastic! My aspirations last year to get coleus cuttings was dashed in one freakishly cold night... I was speechless!

    I LOVE your comment about 'growing' in reference to your 'to do' list! Amen to that!!!! :) --Shyrlene

  13. I have that same coleus and also did not molly-coddle and it is doing fantastic for me, too. Can't believe it hasn't tried to bloom yet for me either, with no pinching. I think I am going to take some cuttings for the winter.

  14. Ah, so it is now Plectranthus, at least I can spell that one more easily without looking it up. We have this variety too, Carol. But it gets somewhat wilty every afternoon in full sun and is quite thirsty. It would do better with some shade, but is a beauty.

  15. That is one healthy and happy coleus!

  16. Coleus flowers aren't the most pretty flowers in the garden. But the bees and butterflies do love them, so I've let mine go. It's also easier. Call me lazy!

  17. I had some coleus growing in my front eastern exposure bed. I had mentioned to my kids that I'd be taking cuttings of them to overwinter since I liked it so much. Suddenly last week my two nicest ones vanished. Just yesterday I found out where they were, my kids had decided to pot them up and put them in their rooms for houseplants. I couldn't get mad, it's getting late in the season and I'd be bringing them inside soon anyway, just funny to see how they think.

  18. That's a fine looking coleus! There are so many varieties now, it can be hard to pick one. But I'll remember 'Crimson Gold.' Thanks for sharing!

  19. P.S. I hope you don't mind, but I put a link to your blog on my latest post; it's about the 'Blogosphere' and the blogs that inspire me... :D


  20. It is so hard to get used to some of these tongue twister names.... I like the old coleus and asters for heaven's sake!


Post a Comment

Comments are to a blog what flowers are to a garden. Sow your thoughts here and may all your comments multiply as blooms in your garden.

Though there is never enough time to respond to each comment individually these days, please know that I do read and love each one and will try to reciprocate on your blog.

By the way, if you are leaving a comment just so you can include a link to your business site, the garden fairies will find it and compost it!