This tender perennial (perennial in tropical areas but grown as an annual in areas that experience frost) is prized for its dramatic foliage. Large swaths of assorted coleus can create a patchwork-quilt effect; it can also add an interesting touch to window boxes, container gardens or hanging baskets.

Coleus will do best in rich, loose, well-drained soil, so amending with compost or adding perlite to soil before planting is advised unless you have very good soil. Soil should be consistently moist but not soggy. Coleus performs best with filtered morning sun and shade in the afternoon, especially in hot climates.