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.
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.
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 very bright light, average warmth and consistently moist, fertile, well-drained soil coupled with regular feeding during the growing season.
Coleus blumei has no need for high humidity except where the temperatures are too high. It requires regular pruning to keep it neat, to reduce pest infestation, to control and rejuvenate growth. Continue reading for more on the best growing conditions and how to provide them.
Painted Nettle grows best in bright light with some direct sunlight but away from hot direct sunshine as it can lead to scorching of the leaves.
Too little light for Coleus will dull the colors and may cause leaf drop. Rotate the pot regularly to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth.
Where the natural lighting is not adequate Coleus can be grown under a grow light to supplement it.
Outdoors, Coleus can grow under direct sunlight but it needs to be acclimated gradually by placing it in a brighter spot every few days.
Water Painted Nettle liberally during the growing season while allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings to keep the soil moist at all times.
Decrease watering during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist as growth is minimal at this time but do not let the soil dry out completely.
Use a pot that has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead in root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant.
Only 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.
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.
Where the temperatures are very high, set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity or grow the plant in the bathroom and other moist areas in the home. 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. Do not feed during the cold season as growth is reduced and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn.
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 online from Etsy.
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 one size larger than the current one and ensure it has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy to prevent root-rot.
Pruning Painted Nettle involves regular removal of dead foliage to maintain the plant neat and tidy as well as minimize pests and diseases. 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.
Painted Nettle (Coleus blumei) 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 each 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.
Insert the cuttings in moist, free-draining soil. Ensure that the rooting container has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.
Place the set up in warm brightly-lit place away from direct sunlight to avoid scorching.
Maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges and substantial growth is 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) common growing problems include shrivelled leaves, wilting, leaf drop, leggy growth, plant death, pests and diseases among others. Continue reading for more on these problems, their remedies and solutions.
Brown and shrivelled leaves in Painted Nettle are due to too dry air especially where the temperatures are too high.
To increase humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.
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).
Position the Coleus in 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 the 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, compact 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.
Wilting leaves in Painted Nettle are caused by 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 during the growing season and maintain the soil moist at all times. Avoid soggy soil by ensuring that the pot has adequate drainage and the soil is free-draining.
Reduce watering in the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
There are three possible causes of leaf drop in Painted Nettle. One possible cause of leaf drop is underwatering.
Keep the soil moist at all times during the growing season. Lessen watering during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
The second possible causes of leaf drop in Painted Nettle is too little light as it prefers bright light away from direct sunshine which can cause scorching of the leaves.
Place the plant in a brighter spot where it will receive bright light or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not adequate.
The third possible cause of leaf drop in Painted Nettle is low temperature due to cold draughts.
Keep the plant away from cold draughts to maintain an average warmth with a minimum 130C for the plant.
Plant death in Painted Nettle is due to root-rot disease which is enhanced by soggy soil caused by lack of proper drainage.
Always make sure that the pot has a drainage hole and that the soil is free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy. Read on how to treat root-rot disease in houseplants.
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. Read on how to identify and treat pests in houseplants.
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