Coleus comes in different sizes from small to large and all kinds of bright colors. Last year I bought a Kong Red Coleus that had very large and dark burgundy leaves with bright red veins and bright green edgings. This type of coleus can grow up to 22 inches. Since it did so well in the shade, I looked online for a variety pack of coleus seeds that would go well in my yard.
I found a winner – Coleus Rainbow Blend from Botanical Interests. This packet contains different varieties with the following colors: pink, red, bright green, white and yellow. The coleus plants range from 12″ to 36″ tall and 6″ to 18″ wide.
Another packet you may want to consider trying is called Coleus Carefree Blend which has leaves with different shades of green, red, orange, yellow. The plants are more compact and grow up to 8 to 10 inches. While I like the compact size of this blend, I like the shades of pink and red that are in the Rainbow Blend. The packets for both blends indicate that they are deer resistant.
Coleus should be started indoors from seed 6 to 8 weeks before the average last frost. In my area, the last Spring frost is around May 15th so I will be planting the seeds soon.
You can grow them easily from seed or buy starter plants at a nursery. As we discussed the other day, I have a shaded area in front of my house that needs a spark of color. One of the trees that we planted in the front is a birch tree which has very thick roots that grow close to the surface. Since the roots make it difficult to plant shade loving perennials that are in gallon containers, I am going to try planting some annuals (including coleus) and perennials that I grow from seed. I think it will be much easier to fit in smaller plants.