Top 15 Colorful Coleus Varieties to Grow

Updated: Feb. 03, 2023

These colorful coleus varieties will brighten up any garden bed or container. Look for bold textures, colors and shapes.

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Today’s selection of coleus, with countless leaf shapes and colors, no longer needs to hide in the shadows. Many coleus varieties take front and center in sunny gardens, too. Coleus vary almost as much in size and growth habit as in color, and you can’t tell just by looking at a starter plant in your hands. Check the label to see whether it will grow into tidy mounds for edging beds, trailing types to spill over containers, or statuesque giants for a powerful punch. This collection of 10 types of coleus favorites is just the start of a new addiction to these easy, reliable plants.

Backyard tip: All these coleus varieties are hardy in Zones 10 to 11. If you live outside of those zones, never fear! They can also be grown as annuals. And they make great houseplants too. Keep coleus in pots on a windowsill that gets bright light during mornings to bring the bold colors of summer indoors any time of the year.

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ColorBlaze Royale Pineapple Brandy

Pw Mary JaneCourtesy of Proven Winners
Superbells Coral Sun calibrachoa, Suncredible Saturn sunflower and Royal Pineapple Brandy coleus

Royale Pineapple Brandy has beautifully serrated, elongated leaves that are chartreuse with burgundy-bronze hints along the edges and stems. It’s a superb border plant at 20 to 30 inches tall and 12 to 16 inches wide. Heat tolerant, it can be planted either in sun or shade. It’s also picture perfect in a container on the patio.

Why we love it: Besides being deer resistant, this coleus can become an excellent houseplant once the heat of summer is over.

Wildfire Blaze

Coleus Wildfire Blaze 1Courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries Inc.

The bright red of Blaze’s leaves, along with vibrant yellow edges, can’t be missed. It’s eye-catching in a border garden as a repeating pattern, or grow it anywhere else to add a bold design. This coleus can also be a great low hedge on a garden’s edge. Watch it grow in a perfectly compact mound that reaches up to 22 inches wide—and no pinching required.

Why we love it: Blaze will steal the show in a shady part of your yard with its brilliant colors and consistent growth habit.

Main Street Broad Street

coleus varietiesCourtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries Inc.

The vibrant tones and branching make Broad Street ideal in any part of the garden with sun or partial shade. But if you want it to really shine, the coloring is more intense in sun. It grows 18 to 24 inches tall and 12 inches or wider. The golden chartreuse edges on the leaves makes the plant look crisp and distinct in mixed containers. It establishes quickly too.

Why we love it: Take a closer look at the leaves, which have an almost velvet appeararance.

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Fishnet Stockings

Pw 86329Courtesy of Proven Winners

The lime green leaves of Fishnet Stockings are covered with deep burgundy-purple veins, giving it a look deserving of its common name. Use it on its own in a container or mixed with other plants and coleus varieties on a long border. Reaching about 12 to 16 inches wide and 2 to 3 feet tall, this plant handles partial to full shade and is heat tolerant.

Why we love it: Look no further if you want a true conversation starter for your garden.

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Premium Sun Ruby Heart

Coleus Premium Sun Ruby Heart Foliage FoliageBall Horticultural Company

Look for this plant’s beautiful foliage in shades of ruby with golden green serrated edges. Low-maintenance Ruby Heart does well in either shade or full sun with no fading in the heat of the summer. Ideal for bold entry containers, it’ll reach around 18 to 26 inches tall and 18 to 22 inches wide.

Why we love it: The underside of the leaves is the same color as the top’s serrated edges, providing a lovely two-toned contrast.

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Terra Nova Monkey Puzzle

Coleus Terra Nova Monkey Puzzle 4Courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries Inc.

This spreading coleus has fine, lacy leaves in hues of peach and purple. Reaching 14 inches tall and 20 inches wide, it’s perfect as a filler or spiller for pots. The ribbonlike leaves also work well in a mass garden planting display. Grow in partial shade to full shade to help it thrive in ideal conditions.

Why we love it: Quite dramatic in its appearance, Monkey Puzzle isn’t going to blend in with other coleus plants.

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Kong Lime Sprite

coleus varietiesBall Horticultural Company

If you’re looking for a showy coleus with giant leaves, you’re in luck with Lime Sprite. Unsurprisingly, its foliage is lime green with a bold burgundy patterning. Preferring shady spots, it does great in small spaces with a maximum width of 24 inches. Like many other coleus varieties, it’s noted for being deer resistant and can be repotted in fall and brought inside as a lovely houseplant.

Why we love it: Lime Sprite can add brightness to a darker area of the yard.

Terra Nova Peach Julep

Coleus Terra Nova Peach Julep 3Courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries Inc.

The stunning leaves of Peach Julep are margined by a deep red border and a brilliant green scalloped edge. Providing a perfect pop of color for mixed borders or containers, this coleus grows to about 14 inches tall and 12 inches wide. The habit spreads a bit, giving it a dynamic appearance.

Why we love it: Don’t miss it in the morning light, where it practically glows.

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ColorBlaze Mini Me Watermelon

Plectranthus Colorblaze Mini Me Watermelon MonoCourtesy of Proven Winners

Mini Me Watermelon is extremely heat tolerant and does well in conditions ranging from full sun to part shade. The leaf edges are green, while the leaf centers can be anywhere from coral to watermelon in color.

Why we love it: Because of its easygoing and very adaptable nature, this plant makes a great introductory coleus pick.

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Nova Mad Medusa

Coleus Nova Mad Medusa 4Courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries Inc.

Mad Medusa looks like a bright green head of thin ribbons. It stays round in form and works beautifully in a container by itself or in a mixed grouping. Plant in part or full shade, where it’ll reach 9 inches high and about 18 inches wide.

Why we love it: Small in stature, it’ll still stand out as an indoor plant.

Wizard Mix

wizard mix coleusW. Atlee Burpee & Co.

An oldie type of coleus but a goodie, this exuberant mix will yield all sorts of surprises. Just like a litter of kittens, you never know what colors you’ll get. At about $5 for 100 seeds, one packet can fill an entire garden with mounded plants about 10 inches tall. Start seeds indoors, very early. A January sowing will yield dozens of good plants by May.

Why we love it: The first pair of “seed leaves” that sprout will be green, but then the fun begins! Colors and markings become evident, starting with the second pair of leaves, and get bolder and brighter as the plants grow.

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White Flower Farm

The sharply serrated leaves of this 2-foot-tall by 2-foot-wide coleus look as if someone took scissors to the edges. Up close, they’re golden chartreuse above and burgundy below. From a distance, the overall effect is warm copper.

Why we love it: The perfect contrast with blues and deep purples all summer, Henna is ideal for autumnal combinations, too. Try it with fountain grass and fall mums ranging from soft apricot to rich rusty tones.

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Trailing Plum

White Flower Farm

The absolute best cascading coleus, this low-growing, sun-loving variety is vigorous, graceful and gorgeous in containers. Avoid planting it in a terra-cotta pot, because the vivid purple will clash with the pot when the stems spill over the edge.

Why we love it: Trailing coleus varieties are catching on fast; look for the word “trailing” in their names. Trailing Queen has classic neon pink-splashed leaves but in a whole new form.

Black Dragon

Park Seed

Pink, green, and white is a little old-school when it comes to coleus. Go for molten fire instead! At only about 12 inches tall and wide, Black Dragon is on the smaller side for coleus, but its look of bubbling, volcanic lava definitely stands out in the garden or a container. Psst—you’ll also love these dark colored flowers that are almost black.

Why we love it: Dramatic Black Dragon can be started from seeds or from cuttings. Sow seeds indoors 10 to 12 weeks before the last spring frost.


coleus varietiesPark Seed

One of the Giant Exhibition coleus varieties, Limelight belies the name of its group: Its tidy mound is only 12 to 16 inches tall and wide. But, boy, is that color big! The near-neon leaves glow like a spotlight in shady spots and containers.

Why we love it: When it comes to combinations of colors, lime is nearly as versatile as a neutral. It goes with just about everything, including blues, purples, pinks, bright red or burgundy.

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Perfect Coleus Companion Plants

  • All Gold Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’)
  • Japanese holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum)
  • Madagascar dragon tree (Dracaena marginata ‘Tricolor’ )
  • Proven Accents Margarita sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas)