Coleus Varieties for Sun or Shade: A Colorful Delight for Your Garden

Red coleus plants
Photo by ArtisticOperations on Pixabay

‍Are you looking to add a burst of color to your garden? Look no further than coleus varieties for sun. These stunning plants not only thrive in sunny locations but also bring vibrant hues and unique foliage patterns to your outdoor space.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the top coleus varieties for sun, their characteristics, and tips for growing them in pots outdoors. Let’s dive in and discover the wonders of these sun-loving coleus plants!

Why Choose Coleus Varieties for Sun?

Traditionally known as shade plants, coleus varieties have now evolved to thrive in both sun and shade. This expanded adaptability makes them a versatile choice for any garden.

The coleus varieties discussed in this article have been trialed at the University of Florida in various light conditions, including all-day sun and shade. This means that no matter where you place them in your garden, they are bound to flourish.

Not only are these coleus varieties sun-tolerant, but they also exhibit slow flowering tendencies. This unique characteristic minimizes the need for deadheading and allows the plants to focus their energy on foliage growth.

With their freely branching nature, you won’t have to worry about pinching back the plants to encourage bushiness. These low-maintenance features make coleus varieties for sun a convenient and rewarding addition to your garden.

The Stunning Coleus Varieties for Sun

Now that we understand why coleus varieties for sun are a fantastic choice, let’s explore some of the most captivating varieties available.

Each variety brings its own distinct colors and growth habits, allowing you to create a visually stunning garden. Here are the top coleus varieties for sun:

1. ColorBlaze Golden Dreams

  • Height Range: 2 feet to 3 feet & 4 inches
  • Spread: 18 inches to 3 feet

Golden Dreams is a mesmerizing coleus variety that can thrive in full sun as well as partial shade. The coloration of its leaves varies depending on the light conditions, ranging from chartreuse in shade to vibrant red in full sun.

This variety is known for its impressive growth, starting from small plants and quickly transforming into a beastly presence in just one season. With its freely branching nature, Golden Dreams requires minimal maintenance, making it an excellent choice for any garden.

2. ColorBlaze Rediculous

  • Height Range: 2 feet to 3 feet & 4 inches
  • Spread: 18 inches to 3 feet

As the name suggests, ColorBlaze Rediculous features stunning red foliage that adds a delightful pop of color to any outdoor space. When paired with complementary plants, such as a purplish Japanese maple, its vibrant hues truly stand out.

This variety can reach a similar size as Golden Dreams, showcasing its bold presence in the garden. With proper care and regular watering, ColorBlaze Rediculous will reward you with a beautiful and full plant by mid-summer.

3. ColorBlaze Chocolate Drop

  • Height Range: 14-20 inches
  • Spread: 18 inches to 2 feet

If you’re looking for a trailing variety, ColorBlaze Chocolate Drop is an excellent choice. With its small chartreuse leaves and luscious chocolatey centers, this variety adds an elegant touch to hanging baskets or cascading planters.

Although it takes some time for the trailing effect to develop, ColorBlaze Chocolate Drop can be used as a “spiller” in your pots. By mid-summer, you’ll be rewarded with a big and gorgeous plant that will captivate anyone who sees it.

4. ColorBlaze Strawberry Drop

  • Height Range: 14-20 inches
  • Spread: 18 inches to 2 feet

Another delightful trailing variety is ColorBlaze Strawberry Drop. With its dainty green and red leaves, this coleus variety adds a touch of charm to any garden.

Similar to ColorBlaze Chocolate Drop, it takes a little time for the trailing effect to develop. However, once it does, the beauty of ColorBlaze Strawberry Drop becomes apparent.

Plant it in a vibrant cobalt blue pot alongside other complementary plants, and watch as it transforms into a stunning centerpiece.

5. ColorBlaze Torchlight

  • Height Range: 2 feet to 3 feet & 4 inches
  • Spread: 18 inches to 3 feet

For a tricolor foliage experience, look no further than ColorBlaze Torchlight. This variety showcases stunning shades of fuchsia, maroon, and green, creating a visual masterpiece in your garden.

With its impressive growth potential, ColorBlaze Torchlight promises to become a dramatic presence in your outdoor space. Imagine the vibrant colors and unique patterns that will emerge as this variety flourishes under the sun.

6. ColorBlaze Wicked Witch

  • Height Range: 2 feet to 3 feet & 4 inches
  • Spread: 18 inches to 3 feet

ColorBlaze Wicked Witch is a larger variety with purplish centers and yellowish edges on its foliage. The ruffled edges add an elegant touch, making this variety a standout in any garden.

With proper care and maintenance, ColorBlaze Wicked Witch will reward you with its lush growth and captivating colors. Imagine the beautiful contrast this variety will create when paired with other coleus varieties or complementary plants.

These are just a few examples of the stunning coleus varieties for sun. Each variety brings its own unique colors, growth habits, and patterns, allowing you to create a garden that reflects your personal style and preferences.

Consider mixing and matching these varieties to create a vibrant tapestry of foliage in your outdoor space.

Tips for Growing Coleus in Pots Outdoors

Now that you’re familiar with the enchanting coleus varieties for sun, let’s delve into some essential tips for successfully growing them in pots outdoors.

While coleus can be grown indoors, they truly shine when grown outdoors, allowing their true potential to flourish.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting, these tips will help you cultivate healthy and thriving coleus plants in your outdoor pots.

Light Requirements

Coleus varieties for sun are incredibly versatile when it comes to light requirements. They can tolerate a wide range of light conditions, from full sun to full shade.

However, if you live in a particularly hot and sunny location, providing some shade for your coleus plants may be beneficial.

This will protect them from excessive heat and ensure their foliage retains its vibrant colors. Keep in mind that the intensity of leaf coloration may vary depending on the light conditions, with more intense colors observed in full sun.

Watering Needs

Proper watering is crucial for the health and vitality of your coleus plants. Keep the soil fairly moist and water your plants abundantly, especially in hot weather.

As soon as the surface of the soil feels dry to the touch, it’s time to water. Be attentive to your plants, particularly if they are growing in sunny locations, as they may dry out more quickly.

Overly dry soil can cause the entire plant to wilt, but a thorough watering will quickly revive it. Regular monitoring and appropriate watering practices will ensure your coleus plants thrive.

Soil Selection

Choosing the right soil mix is essential for the successful growth of your coleus plants in pots. Opt for high-quality potting mixes, such as Miracle Gro or ProMix.

These mixes provide excellent drainage and aeration, which are crucial for the root health of your plants. When planting your coleus in pots, ensure that the soil is loose and well-draining.

This will prevent waterlogged conditions that could lead to root rot. By selecting the right soil and maintaining proper drainage, you’ll create an optimal environment for your coleus to flourish.

Fertilizing Routine

To promote healthy growth and vibrant foliage, it’s important to establish a fertilizing routine for your coleus plants. Start by applying a slow-release fertilizer, such as Osmocote Plus, during the initial planting stage.

This will provide a steady supply of nutrients over an extended period. After a month, make another application of the slow-release fertilizer to support ongoing growth.

Additionally, weekly watering with a fish and seaweed fertilizer will further enhance the growth and overall health of your coleus plants. By following a consistent fertilizing routine, you’ll be rewarded with giant, gorgeous plants in your garden.

Temperature Considerations

Coleus plants prefer warm to hot temperatures for optimal growth. It’s best to wait until temperatures reach a minimum of 50°F before planting them for the season.

Planting coleus in colder temperatures won’t provide much extra time for growth. Once the temperatures rise, your coleus plants will quickly make up for any initial delay, showcasing their vibrant colors and lush foliage.

Ensure that your plants are exposed to the appropriate temperature range for optimal growth and overall health.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to growing healthy and thriving coleus plants in your outdoor pots.

From providing the right amount of light and water to selecting the ideal soil and implementing a proper fertilizing routine, these practices will ensure your coleus plants flourish and become a stunning addition to your garden.


Coleus varieties for sun have transformed the traditional perception of coleus plants as shade-loving foliage. With their adaptability to both sun and shade, these varieties bring a burst of color and unique foliage patterns to any garden.

From the captivating Golden Dreams to the elegant Wicked Witch, the coleus varieties discussed in this guide offer an array of options to suit your personal style and preferences.

By following the tips for growing coleus in pots outdoors, you’ll ensure the health and vitality of your plants, creating a vibrant and captivating outdoor space.

Embrace the beauty and versatility of coleus varieties for sun, and let your garden come alive with an explosion of colors and textures. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, these sun-loving coleus plants will provide endless opportunities for creativity and visual delight.

Explore the wide range of coleus varieties available and start transforming your garden into a colorful paradise today!

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