“Sun/Shade”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


I love plants that change.  You know, the ones that look one way in the sun and one way in the shade.  Coleus is one of those plants.  In fact, some coleus can look so different depending if they are growing in sun or shade, that they could be mistaken for completely different varieties.  Sometimes, they do still look similar, just different colors seem to come out.

An example of this chameleon ability to change colors would have to be Lemon Twist coleus.  When I bought it, it was green with purple stems and leaf edges.  The one I planted in a container that stays on the shady front porch still looks that way, with the purple accents complementing the Persian Shield planted with it.


Coleus Shade (redu)


Another piece planted in the garden where it gets more sun, shows much more of the purple in its leaves.  Even the undersides of the leaves are a deep purple.  I think that as more new leaves emerge, they will display more of the purple color, and soon this sun planted one will look so different from its shady sibling.


Coleus Sun (redu)


Another coleus that does this is Solar Sunrise.  In the sun there is great color, but in the shade more green.


Coleus (redu)



Solar Sunrise Shade (redu)


Alabama Sunset is another plant that can look totally different depending where it is planted.  In the sun, it has big rusty colored leaves, and in the shade the chartreuse color is dominant.


Ala Sunset Sun (redu)


Ala Sunset Shade (redu)


Since it is so easy to root coleus and make new plants, with these sun/shade differences, if you plan the placement of these plants, it will seem as if you have more varieties of the same plant.  Also, if you want certain colors to come out, making sure that they are planted where they get the proper amount of sun will ensure you get the look you want.  I know I will be moving my containers of Solar Sunrise into more sun because I want the pink colors to come out.  I just find this sun/shade difference that many plants display to be fascinating.



  1. Sweet Bay said,

    August 3, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Those Coleus are lovely. It also amazes me how many different colors and patterns there are.

    I too love plants that have different looks in sun and shade.

    • Jan said,

      August 3, 2009 at 6:27 pm

      I have planted coleus ever since I started gardening, but the last few years, I have developed a love for this plant.

  2. Phillip said,

    August 3, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    I love coleus and plant them every year. ‘Alabama Sunset’ is always a must-have. This year they don’t seem to growing as large as they usually do. I think it must be because it hasn’t been as hot as it usually is.

    • Jan said,

      August 6, 2009 at 7:57 pm

      Phillip, I have found a few plants this year have not grown well, either. I agree about the heat. I think our high heat in June really set some plants back.

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