Six on Saturday – W24/2019 – Coleus and Fittonia

For this Six on Saturday I’d like to feature the Coleus plants I have in my garden! They are fantastic filler plants, ideal for planting out in those bare spots in amongst shrubs and perennials. Coleus prefer shade or semi-shade positions, and luckily they seem to tolerate the hot and humid conditions of the Hinterland. The plants are grown for their colourful foliage and come in a wide variety of colours and colour combinations! They produce long spikes of little pretty pale blue flowers during autumn and the flowers should be removed so as to extend the life of the plant. Propagation of these plants is done by cuttings, and they root very easily in water, or in sand. I often use Coleus cuttings in small flower arrangements for my home, and once they send out roots I pot them up into small pots, allowing them to develop a good root system before transplanting them out into their permanent positions in the garden.

In colder climates these Coleus plants can be treated as annuals. In the warmer regions the plants become quite leggy by the end of a growing season, and need to be cut back in winter or early spring. The cuttings can be used to propagate new plants, while the original plant will re-shoot and grow into a full bush through the following growing season.

Coleus 1

This speckled coleus is a vigorous plant and grows quite tall, up to almost 1.2 metres in height. The leaf colour provides a lovely foil for the lighter green colours of the Begonias and bromeliad in the foreground. This plant will be cut back within the next month or two.

Coleus 2

This Coleus certainly lights up shady areas in the garden with its light green coloured leaves with lovely splashes of red along its veins. It is a great foil for the lovely red bromeliad and the grey salvia on either side of it.

Coleus 3

This coleus is not as strong a plant as the others but has beautiful leaves with a central splash of pink. This particular plant is not in an ideal position as the soil needs to be enriched with compost and cow manure, and the brick wall of the house does not show off the colour of the leaves to their full advantage. Within the next few weeks I will prune it back and use the cuttings to propagate more plants.

Coleus 4

This Coleus is a real beauty! It is lighter in colour that the speckled one and does not grow as tall either. It certainly adds a splash of pretty pink and red colour to the semi-shaded part of the garden.

Coleus 5

I was given a cutting of this lime green Coleus a couple of days ago by a local gardening friend. I have put the cutting into a vase with water and hopefully it will develop roots soon. The colour of the leaves will provide a wonderful contrast in the shady parts of the garden, and the frilly edges of the leaves certainly add interest!


I found a Fittonia plant for sale at one of our local Growers Market today. It is a small potted plant with beautiful colouring of pink leaves and green speckles, and the frilly edges of the leaves are edged in dark green. To add further interest, the underneath of each leaf is a lighter green with raised pale green veination. A really beautiful specimen!

That is my contribution to Six on Saturday for this week. Please visit the home of ‘Six on Saturday’ at and have a look at what is happening in all the other lovely gardens of Six on Saturday participants from around the world.


  1. I have grown coleus for a couple of years now, from seed. This years are a disappointment. It has never occurred to me to try to overwinter a couple. Might try that this year…

  2. Coleus are lovely, but I wouldn’t be able to grow them here as they would perish in the frost. Your number six is dazzling, isn’t it!

  3. Great post on coleus…….and I didn’t know about propagating them, so now I am headed out to my garden and taking some cuttings! Mine are huge!!!!!!!

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