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How to Care For a Kong Rose Coleus

Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) is one of the easiest summer plants to grow. While it is considered a tender perennial, most gardeners treat coleus as an annual. Coleus is tough, somewhat drought tolerant and grows in most soils. The "Kong Rose" is a newer cultivar known for its giant, light-green leaves and rose-colored center.

Plant Kong Rose in a shady area. While some coleus can tolerate sun, this cultivar will get leaf burn and fade. According to the Louisiana State AgCenter, choose a location where morning sun may occasionally appear, while the rest of the day the area should be partly to fully shaded.

  • Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) is one of the easiest summer plants to grow.
  • While some coleus can tolerate sun, this cultivar will get leaf burn and fade.

Kong Rose can be set out in the garden after all danger of frost has passed. The ideal planting time for full growth is May, but you can plant any time during the summer and early fall, according to the AgCenter.

Place your plants 15 to 18 inches apart. The Kong Rose will spread anywhere from 14 to 18 inches. When planting, apply a slow-release fertilizer.

Water Kong Rose when the top of the soil is dry. If allowed to get too dry, the coleus will wilt, but generally will spring back to life with a thorough wetting. Mulch with pine straw or hardwood chips to help the soil retain moisture and to warm the soil, which encourages plant growth.

  • Kong Rose can be set out in the garden after all danger of frost has passed.
  • If allowed to get too dry, the coleus will wilt, but generally will spring back to life with a thorough wetting.

Prune the terminal growing tips of the plant's shoots about every 4 to 6 weeks to encourage lateral branching and more compact growth, according to the AgCenter. Remove the flower spikes to keep Kong Rose growing.

Plant Care For Kong Coleus

For extravagantly colorful leaves on a shade-loving foliage plant, many gardeners swear by coleus. The species was discovered in the Java mountains in 1853 and ultimately given the alternative scientific names of Solenostemon scutellarioides and Plectranthus scutellarioides. Its hybrids, such as the Kong series, offer a seemingly infinite range of foliage color combinations that thrive outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11. A tropical evergreen, it has been hybridized over the years into many strains and cultivars. Kong variety coleus come pretty close to being foolproof in a garden. A Kong coleus grows best if you mix lots of organic compost, shredded bark, dried shredded leaves or peat moss into the soil before you plant. If you live in a frost-free zone, the plants may well survive the winter, but they are always at their best during their first year of growth. Be sure to prune down the tall and gangly growth in autumn to maintain a compact plant. Kong series coleus are healthy plants that don’t suffer from many diseases. However, they can be vulnerable to attack by insects. If you see a few bugs, try washing the insects off the plants with a strong hose spray.

  • Prune the terminal growing tips of the plant's shoots about every 4 to 6 weeks to encourage lateral branching and more compact growth, according to the AgCenter.
  • If you live in a frost-free zone, the plants may well survive the winter, but they are always at their best during their first year of growth.

Tip

Coleus is easily propagated by cuttings. They will even root well in water. Make cuttings before the last frost, and you can keep your plant through the winter.

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