Coleus 'Wasabi'
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Coleus ‘Wasabi’: A Chartreuse Marvel for Shade Gardens

Coleus ‘Wasabi’, scientifically known as Solenostemon scutellarioides ‘Wasabi’, belongs to the Lamiaceae family, commonly referred to as the mint or deadnettle family. Native to Southeast Asia and Australia, Coleus species are celebrated for their stunning foliage and versatility, making them a popular choice for gardeners.

Description

Foliage and Growth Habit: Coleus ‘Wasabi’ features large, deeply lobed, chartreuse leaves that bring a bright, cheerful note to any garden. The leaves have a scalloped edge and a glossy texture, making them a focal point in both garden beds and containers. This plant exhibits an upright, mounded growth habit, reaching a height of 18 to 36 inches and spreading 16 to 28 inches wide.

Color and Texture: The vibrant chartreuse foliage of Coleus ‘Wasabi’ is mesmerizing and adds a striking contrast to darker foliage plants. Its texture and color make it an excellent choice for mixed containers, patio pots, and landscape beds that need a pop of color.

Growing Conditions for Coleus ‘Wasabi’:

Light Requirements: Coleus ‘Wasabi’ thrives in partial shade to full shade. While it can adapt to the sun, too much direct sunlight can cause leaf scorch, especially in hotter climates. Providing dappled shade or morning sun with afternoon shade is ideal for optimal growth.

Soil: Plant this coleus variety in well-drained, rich, and organic soil. It is not particular about soil pH, making it versatile for various garden settings. Adding compost or organic matter to the planting area can enhance soil fertility and moisture retention.

Watering: Regular watering is essential for Coleus ‘Wasabi’. Keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so ensuring good drainage is crucial. Mulching around the root zone helps conserve soil moisture and reduce watering frequency.

Temperature and Hardiness: Coleus ‘Wasabi’ is a tender perennial typically grown as an annual in temperate climates. It is hardy to USDA zones 10 to 11 but can be grown in containers and brought indoors in cooler zones. The plant cannot withstand frost and will need protection or replacement annually in climates with cold winters.

Fertilization: Regular feeding is beneficial for Coleus ‘Wasabi’. Fertilize every two weeks with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season. Avoid over-fertilizing, as excessive nutrients can cause foliage to lose its vibrant color.

Propagation

Seed Propagation: Coleus can be propagated from seeds sown indoors about 6-8 weeks before the last frost. Sow seeds shallowly, lightly covered with fine seed starting soil. Keep the soil moist and maintain a temperature of 65-85°F. Seedlings emerge in 12-21 days. Provide plenty of light to young plants, thinning to one seedling per cell once they have two sets of leaves.

Cuttings: Coleus ‘Wasabi’ can also be propagated from cuttings. Take 3-4 inch cuttings from healthy, mature plants. Remove the lower leaves and place the cuttings in a well-draining potting mix. Keep the soil moist and provide indirect light until roots develop. This method ensures new plants are true to the parent in color and form.

Planting and Care Instructions

In the Garden: Select a location with partial shade and rich, well-drained soil. Prepare the bed by turning the soil to a depth of 8 inches and amending it with compost. Plant Coleus ‘Wasabi’ about 16-20 inches apart to allow for its mature spread. Water thoroughly after planting to settle the soil and eliminate air pockets.

In Containers: Use a high-quality potting mix for container planting. Choose a container with good drainage and place Coleus ‘Wasabi’ near the center, surrounded by smaller plants or trailing varieties. Regularly water and fertilize to ensure continuous growth and vibrant foliage.

Maintenance: Prune regularly to maintain the plant’s shape and encourage bushier growth. Pinching back the growing tips can also prevent flowering, which helps keep the foliage lush and colorful. Remove any spent leaves or damaged parts to maintain a healthy appearance.

Uses in the Garden

Coleus ‘Wasabi’ is an excellent choice for adding bold color to shady garden spots, mixed borders, and container gardens. Its striking foliage makes it standout as a thriller in the ‘spiller-thriller-filler’ container combination. It is also a great option for urban gardens, as it is highly tolerant of urban pollution and can thrive in inner-city environments.

Conclusion

Coleus ‘Wasabi’ is a versatile and eye-catching plant that adds a burst of color to any garden setting. With its striking chartreuse foliage and adaptability to various growing conditions, it is a favorite among gardeners looking to brighten up shady areas. Whether grown in the ground or in containers, Coleus ‘Wasabi’ promises to bring vibrant beauty and ease of care to your garden.

Coleus 'Wasabi'
Coleus ‘Wasabi’

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