What is this plant that I was given, please?

If anyone could provide a particularly good guide to caring for it, that would also be great, but I'm expecting to just Google its name once I know what it is :)

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  • 1
    I'm happy to receive the question up-votes, but I confused as to what they're for? Can anyone who gave one explain why? I'm keen to know what aspects of this question I should ensure I reproduce in future questions?
    – Brondahl
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 16:20
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    I up-voted your question, because I like identification questions in general. You posted a good photo of the plant, which is good practice (hence +1).
    – benn
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 16:44
  • Well, consider yourself lucky that the question got into Hot Network Questions (HNQ) that's shown on all SE sites on the right sidebar :)
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 16:44
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    It probably ended up as a hot network question because you asked about a (pot) plant instead of a (potted) plant. I would bet lots of people are looking to see if you were really asking about cannabis, so you accidentally created a good clickbait title ;-)
    – Ukko
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 16:53
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    I always notice plant id questions in the hot network questions list. I think people just generally like plant id questions. Especially with pictures. Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 21:15

5 Answers 5


It is Plectranthus scutellarioides or coleus. I don't have one, myself, so I cannot give any info about how to keep them. Checking Google, like you suggest seems a very good option!


I've just realised where you are.... this plant is a tender annual, usually grown in the summer outdoors as bedding in the UK. It can be kept as a houseplant, but needs pinching out regularly to keep it bushy.

Yours needs some attention; first, has the pot it's in got a drainage hole? If not, it needs to be in something with a hole in the bottom to allow water to drain way. Second, I recommend you cut it back by two thirds/three quarters, down to about 6 inches or where there are side shoots. This is best done in a month or two, as spring begins/approaches, but can be done now. Give it something like Baby Bio houseplant food about once every two weeks after you've cut it back. This should encourage new shoots from the roots - if you see little flowers forming, pinch those out between your thumb and finger. The flowers are relatively insignificant and this plant is grown for its highly decorative leaves, so removing the flowers encourages more leaves.

Likes some sunlight, otherwise very bright daylight, and the usual rules re watering apply - water when the surface of the potting soil is just dry to the touch, water thoroughly and tip away any excess in an outer pot or tray after 30 minutes.


It grows very well in moist, shaded areas in the outdoors in Indiana during the summer months. My mother left a pot of it on the brick paved patio and it quickly spread by seed over a large area.

I've tried growing it indoors but didn't provide enough sun. The colors other than green didn't show as well.


Bamboo's right -- pinch back a lot to get the leaves to show. consider buying several kinds and putting them together in a window box-shaped place; they can take a bit of shade and I used them as houseplants for years till i discovered that where summers are warm they do well outside as annuals. (They're houseplants in Seattle, which has the same climate as much of Britain, and outdoor plants in Iowa, which has the same climate as hell.)

They look especially fine with sweet potato vines and lime green foliage of various kinds. They like water fairly regularly, though they're not swamp plants.

Yours is far too leggy; I didn't recognize it at first. Cut 2/3 off, then cut each of the long pieces into 4" pieces. Take off the bottom-most pairs of leaves (about 1/2" worth) and stick in a glass full of water which covers the denuded parts. Every couple days, check on the water to be sure it's still covering that part; if it starts getting yucky looking, replace with fresh water. After a bit (weeks, not months) roots should be growing on each of those parts. You will end up with a TON of coleus plants to do whatever you wish with -- build a forest of houseplants or a garden of bedding in the sun.


I have one, although didn't know the name. Can provide a little of my experience with it. Apologies that i'm no expert.

It likes a bit of water ever now and again, it can cope with being quite neglected and water will bring it back again.

It is incredibly easy to take cuttings from - literally cut a piece off and put it in another pot with some water and it will probably take.

Every time i've tried to plant one outside (UK) it has quickly died, I have a feeling its maybe fussy about PH levels.

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    In the UK, this plant is grown as an annual outdoors - its tender, not frost tolerant.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 0:39
  • Love Coleus! I buy some every summer for outside. When winter comes I bring them in and keep them for next year. The leaves fall off, but no matter. I keep them watered anyway then when spring rolls around Iv'e already got some plants to put out. They may look a little rough, but they recover quickly. A couple pinches here and there and they bush back up. Plus I can get clippings to start more. Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 19:30

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