Black Dragon Coleus is a great plant to grow if you are looking for something that adds intensely deep colored foliage to a shady location in your garden space. This is a very showy annual that adds the perfect dramatic touch to borders or container plantings. With its deep reddish and intense purple, almost black color, this is also an ideal plant to use in garden settings with a gothic or Victorian black garden theme. This plant also works well either indoors or outdoors and makes a dramatic statement wherever it grows.
Facts about Black Dragon Coleus
Another common name for Coleus is Painted Nettle. Coleus makes the perfect addition to any outdoor shady area, or it can even be grown indoors if placed in a sunny window. This plant has a very rich texture and is compact and easy to grow from seed. A very showy plant with spectacular leaves in hues of red to midnight purple (nearly black). Aside from their rich color, the Black Dragon Coleus has leaves which begin to ripple around the edges then pucker to begin changing colors. The ruffled deep purple colored edges are a great contrast with the deep reddish-purple centers of the foliage. This plant is an annual that grows well in growing zones 4 through 11 (works best in zones 10 and 11) and blooms from spring until fall. When fully grown, the height of the plant will be around 12 inches. Black Dragon Coleus is a member of the Solenostemon family and its botanical name is Solenostemon scutellarioides.
How to Plant and Grow Coleus
It is advisable to start Coleus seeds indoors so that they get a good start before transplanting outdoors. A good time frame for starting the plants is six to eight weeks before the last frost of the season is expected, or around 56 days before the last frost. Use starting pots or trays to start your seedlings and make sure to press the seeds into the soil, but don’t cover them up. Plant two or three seeds per container space. Cover your pots, trays, or other growing containers loosely using plastic wrap, which will help the soil retain moisture until germination. Bottom watering is recommended. Once the seeds have germinated, it is time to take the plastic wrap off.
When your seedlings are established and ready for planting outdoors, choose an area that receives full shade or partial shade at minimum. The planting location should have well drained soil that has a pH level of 5.6 to 7.5, and you should hold off transplanting outdoors until the weather has reached an average temperature of seventy to seventy five degrees, as Coleus is a tender plant and sensitive to cold. Plants should be spaced about ten inches apart from each other when planting, as these plants tend to spread similar to a ground cover plant. This plant is easy to grow and is a fairly low maintenance variety.
This plant germinates readily and is an eager grower. If you would like your plants to be bushier and more full, pinch off the growing tips. To keep the plants blooming longer into the fall season, remove any stray flower spikes. The spikes use a lot of energy within the plant to bloom, taking energy away from the beautiful foliage, which is the main attraction and reason for planting Coleus.
Where to Use Black Dragon Coleus in the Garden
Coleus makes a stunning border plant and also works well in container plantings. Any shady area that needs a splash of color would work well, especially in gothic garden settings. This plant very much lives up to its reputation of being an ornamental plant. They are known for having intense color, even with limited exposure to sunshine. You may be able to find Coleus plants at your local garden center, but if not, there are many sites online where you can order seeds for this colorful plant. If you are using the plants for an indoor flower planting arrangement, you can sow the seeds and start indoors at any time of year. Young plants get their best start when placed in a sunny window location.