Kong Coleus (Plectranthus/Solenostemon scutellarioides “Kong Series”)

Coleus is now a defunct latin name for this family, although it is still used as a common name for these decorative shade plants. It looks like recently the genus name was changed, once again, to Plectranthus, so you may find this plants under a variety of names.  Coleus have been very popular as bedding plants here in the US for decades (at least). I enjoy coleus, but it was only when I saw who large and colorful this particular variety was that I I started to investigate further. I have some deeply shade area of my garden that could benefit from some of these large, shrubby specimens. I plan on visiting the garden center soon to see if they have anything like this locally. I know I have at least 2 or 3 spots where they would help to fill a hole in the borders.

Interesting Plant: Kong Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides

Discovered via Phillip Oliver at Dirt Therapy

Plectranthus scutellarioides (coleus) is a species of flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae, native to south east Asia and Malaysia. Growing to 60–75 cm (24–30 in) tall and wide, it is a bushy, woody-based evergreen perennial, widely grown for its highly decorative variegated leaves.[2] Another common name is painted nettle,[3] reflecting the deadnettle family to which it belongs.

The name “coleus”, still widely used by horticulturalists and gardeners, refers to a defunct genus, and may be regarded as a common name for this species in particular. The nameSolenostemon scutellarioides is similarly widely used for this species.


The specific epithet scutellarioides means “resembling the genus Scutellaria“, whose name is itself derived from the Latin scutella, meaning a small dish or bowl.[4]

Plectranthus scutellarioides color variation is mostly dependent on how much sunlight is available and how intense that light is. Light is the most influential factor in Plectranthus scutellarioides speciation. In plants, green coloration is due to the amount of chlorophyll present in the chloroplasts in the leaves. While Plectranthus scutellarioides foliage does have green pigmentation, the Plectranthus genus is known for its bright reds, purples, pinks, and oranges. These variations in color are due to anthocyanins, water-soluble, flavonoid biosynthetic pigments, found in the foliage in addition to chlorophyll.[13] The increase in anthocyanin production is accompanied by a decrease in chlorophyll production.[13] The production of anthocyanins and chlorophylls are affected by light; the more light is present, the more anthocyanins are produced, with an inverse relationship to the production of chlorophylls. Anthocyanins are created inside the cell in order to facilitate photosynthesis in leaves that are exposed to very intense or prolonged sunlight. Leaves in Plectranthus scutellarioides species that are not exposed to intense or prolonged sunlight have a higher concentration of chlorophylls than anthocyanins[3].[verification needed] Balance of pigmentation chemicals allows for a wide variety in Plectranthus scutellarioides foliage colors. — Wikipedia

  More information on Kong Coleus (Plectranthus/Solenostemon scutellarioides “Kong Series):



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Previously in the Interesting Plant series: 

Interesting Plant is a series from A Gardener’s Notebook blog and podcast that highlights the most interesting plants I find in my Internet and real-world travels — Douglas