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How to Care For a Kong Rose Coleus

By Aileen Clarkson ; Updated September 21, 2017

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.

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.

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.


Things You Will Need

  • Pine straw or hardwood chips
  • Slow-release fertilizer


  • 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.

About the Author


Aileen Clarkson has been an award-winning editor and reporter for more than 20 years, earning three awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. She has worked for several newspapers, including "The Washington Post" and "The Charlotte Observer." Clarkson earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Florida.