Botanical name: Coleus blumei
Synonyms: Coleus scutellarioides, Plectranthus scutellarioides
Common names: Painted Nettle, Coleus
Coleus blumei commonly called Painted Nettle or simply Coleus offers a multicolored display of foliage and a bewildering choice of hybrids making beautifully colored plants.
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 have nettle-like leaves. There are also ruffled ones, frilly ones and wavy-edged ones.
This bushy, soft-stemmed 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 inorder to thrive.
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 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.
Coleus blumei also called Coleus scutellarioides or Plectranthus scutellarioides is native to to southeast Asia through to Australia.
If you would like to add these beautiful plants to your collection. Buy Painted Nettle (Coleus blumei) online from Etsy.
Painted Nettle (Coleus blumei) grows best in bright light and consistently moist soil. It prefers average warmth and has no need for high humidity except where the temperatures are too high.
The best soil for growing Coleus is free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. It requires regular feeding and pruning for lush growth. Continue reading for more on the best growing conditions for this plant.
Painted Nettle grows best in bright light away from direct sunshine as it can lead to scorching of the leaves. It can also grow under a grow light where natural light is not sufficient.
Too little light will dull the colors 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 during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist as growth is minimal at this time. Read more on how to water houseplants.
Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead in root-rot disease and eventual death of your plant.
Use soft water to water Coleus as hard water can cause white spots on the leaves.
The best temperature for growing Coleus is an average warmth with a minimum 130C. Keep it away 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.
Feed Painted Nettle with a balanced, water soluble fertilizer every 2 weeks during the growing period. Withhold feeding 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 Painted Nettle foliage during the growing period to rejuvenate growth and also encourage a compact, bushy growth.
Repot the Coleus in a pot that is one size larger than the current one. Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant.
The best soil for Coleus should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.
Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal for this plant. Buy quality Potting Mix for Painted Nettle from Etsy.
Pruning Painted Nettle involves regular removal of dead foliage to maintain the plant neat and tidy. To encourage a bushy, compact growth, regularly pinch off the growing tips.
As it ages, Coleus becomes straggly. Cut back the stems during the growing season and repot the plant to rejuvenate growth.
Pinch off the flower spikes 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 (Coleus blumei) can be propagated during the growing season from stem cuttings or from seeds. We have outlined herebelow these two propagation methods. Keep reading.
Take stem cuttings of about 4-5 in. length from a healthy Painted Nettle Plant. Ensure the cutting has 2-3 leaf nodes as this is where new growth will emerge from. Strip off the lower leaves.
The stem cuttings root easily and there is no need for a rooting hormone.
Place the set up in warm brightly-lit place and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges and substantial growth has been observed on the cuttings.
Transfer the new Coleus to individual pots and begin routine care. For a fuller plant, transplant several cuttings into one pot.
Sow the Painted Nettle seeds at the beginning of the growing season in moist, free-draining soil.
Place the set up in a warm place away from direct sunlight and maintain the soil moist until the seeds germinate.
Once germinated, move the set up to a warm, well-lit place and maintain the soil moist until the new plants are well established.
Transplant the Coleus plants into idividual pots when they are about 8-10 in. high after which you can begin routine care.
Painted Nettle (Coleus blumei) problems indoors are caused by cultural faults in lighting, humidity, watering, temperature among others. Continue reading for more on these problems, their remedies and solutions.
The cause of brown and shrivelled leaves in Painted Nettle is too dry air especially where the temperatures are too high.
In young Painted Nettle, leggy stems are due to two reasons. One reason for leggy stems in young plants is low light (too little light).
Move the Coleus to a brighter spot where it will receive bright light away from direct sunlight or instal a grow light if you do not have adequate light in your home.
The second reason for leggy stems in a young Painted Nettle is failure to pinch off the growing tips. Regularly pinch off the growing tips for a bushy growth.
In old Painted Nettle plants, leggy growth is a natural characteristic of this plant.
Take stem cuttings and propagate new plants or cut back the stems during the growing season and repot the plant to rejuvenate growth. Read more on how to prune houseplants.
The cause of wilting leaves in Painted Nettle is underwatering which results in too little moisture in the rootzone. This implies that there is no moisture for the plant to take up to the leaves and therefore they begin to wilt.
Water Coleus liberally and maintain the soil moist at all times during the growing season. 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. One possible cause of leaf drop is underwatering.
Water the plant liberally during the growing season to keep the soil moist at all times. Reduce watering during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist but do not allow the soil to dry out completely. Read more on how to water houseplants.
The second possible causes of leaf drop in Painted Nettle is too low light. It prefers bright light away from direct sunshine as it can lead to scorching of the leaves.
Move the plant to a brighter spot where it will receive bright light or instal a grow light if you do not have adequate light in your home. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.
The third possible causes of leaf drop in Painted Nettle is low temperature due to cold draughts. Protect the plant 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 the plant.
The common pests in Painted Nettle are aphids, mealy bugs, scale insects, spider mites and fungus gnats. Isolate the affected plant to avoid spread to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately.
Painted Nettles (Coleus blumei) are non-toxic to humans but is mildly toxic to pets according to Plantaddicts.com.
The plants contain a toxic substance which causes vomiting, diarrhea, depression and loss of appetite in pets if ingested.