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19.11.12

Coleus "Under the Sea" Hort Couture Collection

I’m a big, big fan of coleus. As far as I’m concerned there is no wrong coleus to grow in the garden. Granted, there are some coleus color combinations I’m not too fond of, but to each their own. I always thought the only way coleus plants could be improved is if they were bread to produce large flowers. Then I was introduced to the “Under the Sea” collection of coleus plants at a garden show a couple of years ago and fell in love with them. This year Hort Couture sent me a box of sample plants to trial in my garden. Below are pictures of the plants from the “Under the Sea” collection that performed well in my garden, and that I’m comfortable recommending to gardeners looking for unusual garden plants.

'Bone Fish'


Coleus Under the Sea 'Bone Fish'



While not my favorite in the batch of plants, coleus ‘Bone Fish’ was a superb plant. The yellow and red color combination was pretty striking in person and it, of all the plants I trialed, reacted the best to pinching to create a fuller plant.

If you haven’t noticed yet, the leaves of the “Under the Sea” series is different than just about any coleus you may have seen before. They’re evocative of exotic salt water fish and coral--hence their names.

'Red Coral'


Coleus Under the Sea 'Red Coral'

'Red Coral' was one of my favorites. Like ‘Bone Fish’ above, it reacted well to pruning by pinching the tips of the plant to create a fuller plant. And just look at those leaves! Have you ever seen anything so weird? It's a smaller plant and if you grow it I recommend growing it in a single pot to really accentuate the unusual leaf structure. I’d also plant them one or two per pot at the most because I think the dramatic effect is lessened when they’re in mass. I planted all of mine in a single pot and from a distance they didn't seem to interesting until you got up close and personal.

'Red Anemone'


Coleus Under the Sea 'Gold Anemone'

Of all of the “Under the Sea” coleus plants 'Red Anemone' was by far my favorite. The leaves on this plant were rather large and dramatic. There was no ignoring this plant from a distance. Each individual leaf was about the size of my hand, and edged in a deep red color of carried through the stems. This was a usual and handsome plant that I wish I had tried to overwinter indoors.

'Lime Shrimp'


Coleus Under the Sea 'Lime Shrimp'

If you've read enough posts at this garden blog you know I love black plants. Or at least what passes for black plants in horticulture. When I was told Hort Couture was giving me plants to trial I was most excited about ‘Lime Shrimp’ because of it’s dark coloring. Let me preface the following by saying; my picture doesn't really do it justice. I probably have a better picture of it somewhere on my computer, but I can’t find it at the moment. The chartreuse and burgundy--a deep purple in some spots--color combination of the stems and leaves is superb. I paired these plants petunia ‘Black Cherry’ and loved the look. I would often go out to the container garden just to look at them together. These two plants together just made a miserable gardening year worth it.

What I didn't like about ‘Lime Shrimp’ was its growth habit. Perhaps this was as a result of me not pinching the plants as they grew, or of cultivation, but I found them to be too tall and sparse. The space between each cluster of leaves on the stem was too long. You can sort of see it in this picture, but it was more pronounced in person. Maybe in a container or garden bed planted among similarly tall plants this wouldn't have been noticeable, but as the tallest plants in a pot it was.

There were a couple more “Under the Sea” coleus in my sample box from Hort Couture, but they weren't included in this plant review because they didn't perform as well as these. You can visit the Hort Couture website to see all of the coleus plants in this collection for yourself, but I can only recommend these four as they performed exceptionally in my urban garden in a tough year, and didn't even blink at my benign neglect.

Have you grown any of the “Under the Sea” coleus collection from Hort Couture? What did you think of them?


27 comments:

  1. Oh, how gorgeous! Loved them all. Thanks for posting!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Asha,

      Glad you liked them.

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  2. These look interesting, especially 'Gold Anemone' -- the leaf shapes remind me of a nice one I used to have called 'Inky Fingers.' And you've reminded me to finally pot up those coleus cuttings I took before they lose all their leaves.

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    1. Helen,

      You reminded me of 'Inky Fingers' that was a great coleus. Wish I had kept cuttings of that one when I grew it. You would really need a greenhouse or conservatory to keep all of the awesome coleus varieties that have come and gone and the new ones that come out all the time.

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  3. they look great I cant seem to grow these easy plnats...I dont know if Im watering them too much or not enough

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    Replies
    1. Sharon,

      I find that with the easiest of the plants it's usually a case of loving them too much. Coleus is a common landscaping plant because it can take some tough conditions.

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  4. Can you share with me the best way to get a cutting off of a Coleus? I can't seem to get my cuttings to grow well. I have been cutting and placing in the water. The leaves just fall off although they do produce roots.

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    Replies
    1. Tamara, If your coleus cuttings are producing roots; you're doing it right. When there aren't roots on a plant, it will drop off leaves it can't support. The reason your cutting are losing leaves is because there aren't enough roots to support them. This is totally normal. Just continue to grow the cutting and as the roots grow out, the leaves will return.

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    2. I've never had great luck with cuttings started in water. For me, starting them in soil works almost every time. I make cuttings with about six sets of leaves, pinch the leaves off the bottom three nodes, trim the largest leaves in half, make a fresh diagonal cut on the bottom of the cutting, dip the cutting in rooting hormone and shake off the excess, then stick the cutting in well-moistened soil. I usually use either a ziplock bag over the top of the pot and sealed around the bottom of the pot, or use an old plastic food container to cover the pot for a 'greenhouse' effect to keep humidity in, and leave it for a week or so until the roots start forming. It works almost every time. It works best with a green cutting from near the top of the plant. Woody cuttings don't work quite as well for me.

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  5. What A beautiful collection. I wonder if we will get them in New Zealand.

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    Replies
    1. Shaynacwings,

      Keep your fingers crossed. I've saw the "Under the Sea" coleus collection at trade and flower shows for the past two years before I saw them available for sale here in Chicago. It may take some time, but hopefully they'll reach New Zealand.

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  6. Call me naive, but what are feed scrapers?

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    1. Silas,

      There are some websites that scrape the first paragraph of text, some scrape the whole post and pictures, and publish it to their websites. The block of text that you're referring to I use to be able to find them and try to get my posts removed from their sites.

      Delete
  7. My husband adores coleus so i look for interesting ones each year. These are a "must" for next year. I love bone fish! Thanks for the encouragement.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Webb,

      I hope you find them next year for your husband. Before seeing this series of coleus plants my favorites have always been the Kong series. I think they make great annuals for men.

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  8. Those are pretty cool coleus. Love the unusual foliage shape. I saw a lot of really neat new coleus varieties in the nurseries this year.

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    Replies
    1. Garden Girl,

      This year seemed to have been an embarrassment of riches at the garden centers for people who like variety in their coleus plants. Another favorite this year was 'Wasabi' I wish I hadn't lost my plant due to frost.

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  9. I would definitely put some 'Bone Fish' in my containers for shade.

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    1. Jason,

      You're the second person to mention coleus 'Bone Fish' in these comments. I'm really surprised by how well people like it. I was certain that 'Red Anemone' or 'Red Coral' would be the faves. I guess not everyone has the same taste as me ;0)

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  10. I have become a big coleus lover especially with the heat over the past couple of years. I love the scalloped foliage on these and will have to add some to my containers next spring.

    Eileen

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    Replies
    1. Eileen,

      You know how I feel about all the plants you choose from my visiting your garden blog. I bet you could make some spectacular container garden combinations with these.

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  11. You have a beautiful informative blog. I love the both the information and the pictures.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Carolyn,

      Thank you so much for the feedback. I really appreciate it.

      Delete
  12. Nice! I really enjoyed the coleus I grew this year, but I never thought of pinching them back for bushier plants-thanks for the tip! I will definately look for 'Under The Sea' next year, I'd imagine an area as big as Minneapolis/St. Paul will have these varieties somewhere.

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  13. Such wonderful colours. I particularly like the first one 'Bone Fish'. My coleus tend to be leggy as I have a tendency to pinch them a bit late. Thanks for sharing the information.

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  14. I absolutely love these and wish I could find them here! Bone fish is my fav.

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  15. I want to buy seeds coleus this series. Where can I buy them?

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Hi!

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