Newer Coleus Series Packs A Punch

Although it was developed by seed researchers a decade ago, Kong coleus is just recently gaining popularity as gardeners discover its beauty. What makes Kong coleus so special? Coleus has been around a long time as a staple of shaded flower beds and planters. But the leaves of Kong coleus are huge. When compared side-by-side with other coleus, it’s easy to pick out which one is Kong. The difference in leaf size is amazing. It truly is the “King Kong” of the coleus world.

Kong coleus is a  whole series of coleus, and there are a number of different leaf colors and patterns within the series. Garden centers have been increasingly carrying Kong coleus during the past several years. Usually they are sold in individual 4-inch pots, rather than multi-packs, because the large leaves need space.

Kong coleus can be grown in containers, or planted directly into flower beds. Unlike some coleus types that can withstand sun, the Kong series is best planted in full shade, or spots that receive only a little filtered sun or brief periods of morning sunshine. Too much intense sun will stymie their growth.

Kong coleus remains quite compact, not stretching like some varieties.

We’ve grown Kong coleus for several years in planters, and have found them very showy and easy to grow. This year we started our own Kong coleus from seed sown in January and grown under fluorescent lights. After several transplants, by the end of May they were nice-sized plants in 4-inch pots, ready for outdoor use.

Next time you spot Kong coleus at a garden center, give them a try. I think you’ll like them.

Happy Gardening!


2 Responses

  1. Joel Horne

    Mr. K, thanks for the piece. We don’t plant Kong, as they are too large for our limited space (and my wife doesn’t care for the bright colors.) We prefer the more earth tone varieties like Sodona, which is less common. I tried (first time) growing Coleus from seed this year, with pretty good results, although started in early March. My question: how do you handle the nearly microscopic seeds?

    1. Don Kinzler

      Hi. Yes, the Kong do get such huge leaves that require special place and special handling. When we start coleus from seed we just sprinkle the seed on the surface without covering with mix. It does take a bit of finesse because the seeds are so tiny. Then we water in with lukewarm water, cover with clear material, and put on heat pad under fluorescent lights.

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