Botanical name: Coleus blumei
Synonyms: Coleus scutellarioides, Plectranthus scutellarioides
Common names: Painted Nettle, Coleus
Painted Nettle or simply Coleus offers a multicolored display of foliage and a bewildering choice of hybrids making beautifully colored houseplants.
There is no basic color in Coleus; almost every conceivable mixture can be found. There are some attractive single-colored varieties but the usual choice is for the multi-colored varieties.
Most but not all Coleus have nettle-like leaves. There are also ruffled ones, frilly ones and wavy-edged ones.
This bushy, soft-stemmed Coleus plant, needs regular pinching out to stop the plant from becoming leggy and defoliated.
Painted Nettle requires the use of soft water, regular misting and a moist soil at all times.
The inflorescence in Painted Nettle is borne on the end of a stem and is very variable in size being up to 1.6 in long, with few or many flowers
Pinch off the flower spikes in Coleus as soon as you sight them as they will detract from the beautiful foliage.
The usual height for Coleus is 2-5 ft and about the same width, but dwarf varieties are also available.
Painted Nettle Plants are native to to southeast Asia through to Australia.
Painted Nettle grows best is bright light away from direct sunshine as it can lead to scorching of the leaves.
Too low light will dull the colors of your Coleus and may cause leaf drop. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.
Water Painted Nettle liberally during the growing season to keep the soil moist at all times.
Reduce watering for your Painted Nettle during cold season to keep the soil slightly moist as growth is minimal.
Avoid soggy soil for your Painted Nettle as it can lead in root-rot and eventual death of your plant.
Use soft water to water your Coleus as hard water can cause white spots on the leaves. Read more on how to water houseplants.
The best temperature for growing Coleus is an average warmth with a minimum 130C.
Protect your Painted Nettle from cold draughts as they can cause leaf drop. Check out this guide on understanding temperature for houseplants.
Average room humidity is ideal for Painted Nettle. Do not mist the leaves as water on the leaves can cause white spots on the leaves.
Set the pot on a wet pebble tray instead to raise humidity for your Painted Nettle. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.
Feed Painted Nettle with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 2 weeks during the growing period.
Withhold feeding for your Coleus during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn. Read more on how to feed houseplants.
Cut back the leggy foliage of Painted Nettle during the growing period to rejuvenate growth.
Repot Painted Nettle in fresh, rich, free-draining soil and a pot that is one size larger.
Ensure the pot has a drainage hole(s) to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot and eventual death of your Coleus plant.
Pruning Painted Nettle involves regular removal of dead foliage to maintain the plant neat and tidy.
To encourage a bushy, compact growth for your Coleus, regularly pinch off the growing tips.
As your Painted Nettle ages, it becomes straggly. Cut back the stems during the growing season and repot the plant to rejuvenate growth.
Pinch off the flower spikes in your Painted Nettle as soon as you sight them as they will divert the plant's energy from developing the beautiful foliage. Read more on how to prune houseplants.
Painted Nettle can be propagated during the growing season from stem cuttings or from seeds.
Take stem cuttings of about 4-5 in. length from a healthy Painted Nettle Plant.
Ensure the Painted Nettle cutting has 2-3 leaf nodes as this is where new growth will emerge from. Strip off the lower leaves.
Insert the Painted Nettle (Coleus) cuttings in moist rooting soil. Ensure the rooting container has some drainage holes to prevent the soil for becoming soggy.
Place the set up in warm, shaded place and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges.
When substantial growth has been observed, transfer the new Painted Nettle plants into individual pots and begin routine care. For a fuller Coleus plant several cuttings in one pot.
Sow Painted Nettle seeds at the beginning of the growing season in moist free-draining soil.
Place the set up in a warm, shaded place and maintain the soil moist until the Coleus seeds germinate.
Once germinated, move the set up to a cool, shaded place and maintain the soil moist until the new Coleus plants are well established.
The cause of brown and shrivelled leaves in Painted Nettle is too dry air especially where the temperatures are to high.
To raise humidity for your Painted Nettle, set the pot on a wet pebble tray. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.
In young Painted Nettle, leggy stems are due to two reasons.
One reason for leggy stems in young Painted Nettle is low light. Move your plant to a brighter spot.
The second reason for leggy stems in a young Painted Nettle is failure to pinch out the growing tips. Regularly pinch out the growing tips for a bushy growth.
In old Painted Nettle plants, straggly growth is a natural characteristic of this plant.
Take stem cutting and propagate new Coleus plants or cut back the stems during the growing season and repot the plant to rejuvenate growth. Read more on how to prune houseplants.
Underwatering is the cause of wilting leaves in Painted Nettle.
Maintain the soil moist at all times. Take care to avoid soggy soil by ensuring that the pot has adequate drainage and the soil is free-draining. Read more on how to water houseplants.
There are three possible causes of leaf drop in Painted Nettle.
Water your Painted Nettle liberally during the growing season to keep the soil moist at all times.
Reduce watering for your Painted Nettle during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist as growth is minimal. Read more on how to water houseplants.
Painted Nettle prefers bright light, away from direct sunshine as it can lead to scorching of the leaves. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.
Protect your Painted Nettle from cold draughts to maintain an average warmth with a minimum 130C for your plant.
Sudden death in Painted Nettle is due to soggy soil caused by lack of drainage. Ensure that the soil is free-draining and the pot has a drainage hole.
Lack of proper drainage of the soil leads to root-rot disease which is what causes the death of your Painted Nettle plant.
Isolate the affected Coleus Plant to avoid spread to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately.
Isolate the affected plant to avoid spread to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately.
Painted Nettle (Coleus blumei) is non-toxic to humans but is mildly toxic to pets.
Painted Nettle contains a toxic substance which causes vomiting, diarrhea, depression and loss of appetite in pets if ingested.