I'm fairly new to gardening and decided that I wanted to have some plants on my balcony this year. I bought these two plants at a local Lowe's, but there wasn't any information regarding what they were. I like how they look, and they seem to be doing well so far. All I've done so far is plant them in some miracle grow in clay pots, watering once every day or two. enter image description here enter image description here

Can anyone identify what they are, or if they need any sort of special care? Thanks.


These are a tender perennial called Coleus originally from Indonesia. They do not tolerate frost and can become leggy in low light. In their favour though they can be brought indoors to overwinter and respond well to being cut back. There are many cultivars but all have the same multi colored leaf. If grown indoors there is a tendency for the colour to revert to a light lime green.

They require full sun and good access to moisture. Whitefly is sometimes a problem and soap and water should be able to control this.

They root readily in water so don't be afraid to cut them back.

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  • Coleus is a really good way to start learning how to root cuttings. They're a sort of nettle. You can tell from the square stem and alternating opposite leaf nodes. In the Pacific Northwest, we have a wild related variety called Red Dead Nettle. Originally it came from Europe/Asia, but grows everywhere. – Fiasco Labs Jun 8 '14 at 4:14

I believe they are both coleus. The top one may be the variety "Firebrand". I'm not sure what variety the bottom one would be.

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  • 2
    The bottom one looks like one of the "Dragon" series. Perhaps "Black Dragon." – TeresaMcgH Jun 8 '14 at 20:06

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