Coleus plants are often known for their ornamental features and reliable performance, and Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry is no different. With its pointed leaves and vibrant color pattern, this dazzling plant will leave your garden – whether inside or outside – looking stunning.
In this guide, we’re providing you with general information on where to buy this unique plant and how to take care of it as an annual or perennial.
What Is Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry (Solenostemon Scutellarioides)?
Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry plants, identified as Solenostemon Scutellarioides (or Plectranthus scutellarioides in some circles), are herbaceous evergreen perennial plants that grow well in about any room or environment.
They are known for being hardy in both full shade and intense light, as long as there is plenty of humidity in the space. Their oblong serrated leaves have a coarse texture and dazzling colors, including a red rose center, surrounded by deep mahogany red lines, all outlined in thin green edges.
Scientific Name: Solenostemon Scutellarioides; Plectranthus scutellarioides; Coleus
Common Name: Coleus ‘Chocolate Covered Cherry Solenostemon’
Unique Attribute: This is a premium sun Coleus, meaning the leaf color holds, even in bright direct light, partial shade, or full shade.
Origin And Family
The Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry is a member of the Lamiaceae family (also called the Mint family) and originates from the Solenostemon genus. It is a cultivated variety of a species.
The Coleus genus is natively from southeast Asia and Australia, but many modern cultivars are from North America and other countries.
For several years, Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry has been grown indoors and outdoors, assuming growers provide it with adequate soil, humidity, and water.
Coleus varieties are considered relatively common plants that usually work well as “filler” in gardens or containers. Indoors the Chocolate Covered Cherry is an impressive houseplant that’s easy to grow.
Growing Chocolate Covered Cherry Coleus Outside
Most of this article is about growing this gorgeous foliage plant indoors, but several growers grow it in hardiness zones 9 and 10. The main danger for outdoor growers is frost. In areas with temperatures at freezing (or even slightly above freezing), this plant is an annual that dies and comes back the following year.
Outdoors, you can place your Coleus almost anywhere, including shade gardens, patio planters, hanging baskets, sun gardens, and more.
Chocolate covered Cherry Coleus in the center with Double Madness Rose & White Petunias in the corners. 🙂 I love this hobby of mine.— Probably trying to 100% a game (@IdiopathyRs) May 22, 2021
Instagram saw it first. pic.twitter.com/NIq7Wj1tCk
Buy Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry
If you want to buy a Coleus ‘Chocolate Covered Cherry’, you can check the local garden center or nursery at specific points of the year. However, there are better deals online at places like Etsy, which has a broad offering of Coleus.
That said, if full-grown plants of Chocolate Covered Cherry aren’t available, you can still purchase seeds throughout the year.
Love the bold patterns of this Coleus plant? Here are some other similar plant options you should try:
Coleus Kong Rose – Kong Rose Coleus is a herbaceous perennial that grew in popularity last year. Its coarse texture may help it stand out in the garden from other plants with more delicate foliage. It’s similar to Chocolate Covered Cherry, except that it has a wider green border.
Coleus canina – While not as flashy as its cousins, canina has some unusual perks (er, smells). If you’re looking for a plant that repels cats, dogs, and other small animals, start with the Coleus canina. It has an odor comparable to cat or dog urine. It stinks! But in a good way.
Coleus Black Dragon – Coleus Black Dragon, is a shrub with highly textured, vibrantly colored foliage. It’s a must-have for anyone with a shaded location because it’s compact, showy, easy to grow, and it’s super simple to sow using seeds.
Coleus Wasabi – Wasabi Coleus is a herbaceous annual or perennial with an erect spreading habit. Its medium texture blends into the garden but complements a couple of finer or coarser plants.
Coleus Redhead – Solenostemon Redhead is a tropical evergreen perennial with soft red leaves gently serrated on the edges. It has a lot of color. It, like Chocolate Covered Cherry Coleus, retains its brilliant color in both shade and full sun. It likes humus-rich, moist, well-drained soils in full or partial light.
Read about Coleus Electric Lime in our blog.
Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry Solenostemon Scutellarioides Plant Size
The Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry grows to about 12-14 inches (30-36 cm) tall and about 10-12 inches (25-30 cm) wide. This beautiful herbaceous evergreen perennial grows at a pretty fast rate.
Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry Solenostemon Scutellarioides Care Needs
Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry are water-loving plants that need evenly moist soil throughout the year. During the summertime, you’ll likely need to water about twice a week indoors, and likely more if you’re growing it outdoors in warmer hardiness zones.
Check out these general care tips for getting started with this beautiful houseplant.
The Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry Solenostemon Scutellarioides is a low-maintenance plant because of its easy-going light requirements.
If you wish to cultivate this fantastic plant successfully, ensure you have well-draining soil and the right potting mix.
Not Frost Hardy
Unfortunately, this variety of Coleus is not considered hardy to frost. This is one of the very few significant negative characteristics of this plant.
Dogs and cats can become sick if they ingest the leaves of this Coleus. The poisonous materials in this plant are essential oils. According to the ASPCA, if swallowed, this plant causes diarrhea, vomiting (sometimes bloody), anorexia, and depression. In most circumstances, this plant is not considered dangerous.
Contact poison control or the ASPCA if you or your canine companions have consumed coleus (888 426-4435).
Since Chocolate Covered Cherry is such a versatile plant, you can put it about anywhere, whether that’s in a container, basket, etc. The primary consideration for growing several of these plants together is spacing. You should space Coleus plants about 8 inches apart. They make a great companion with other Coleus and most other plants because of their fabulous looks.
Present to self.— Dr Sophie Farooque 💙 (@LondonAllergy) June 9, 2019
Coleus chocolate covered cherry. pic.twitter.com/MBl1A2rWGP
Chocolate Covered Cherry is a fast grower. At maturity, this Solenostemon scutellarioides plant measures 12-14 inches (30-36 cm) in height.
That said, if you want to restrict the growth of this Coleus, you can do so by leaving it in a pot. Repotting to a larger pot encourages it to grow wider and taller.
In terms of container size, it usually is acceptable to use a small-to-medium container for this plant. Most potting materials, including plastic, terracotta, or clay, will work perfectly. Make sure there are drainage holes in the pot. If there aren’t, you may need to make your own, as this Coleus doesn’t do well with “wet feet.”
While Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry Solenostemon Scutellarioides wants evenly moist soil, it does not like to sit in water and will quickly succumb to root rot if you’re not careful.
The main reason to repot your Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry is if you want it to grow larger. If you want it to stay the same size, you can keep it in a single pot.
If you want your Coleus to continue growing, you can upgrade to a slightly larger pot every year – usually in the winter.
Even if you’re not repotting your plant, you should consider changing out the soil every year or so. This replenishes the growing medium with essential nutrients that your plant needs to grow.
The frequency of watering varies based on the temperature and where your Coleus is planted.
For instance, outdoors in baskets or containers may require more watering than if they were in the ground or a garden.
Generally speaking, your Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry Solenostemon Scutellarioides prefers an evenly moist growing medium.
To gauge if your Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry needs water, start by sticking your pointer finger in the soil. If you notice that the soil is dry about an inch down, it’s time to water the soil.
When watering, water the soil itself and not the leaves, which can cause mildew and bacterial problems. Also, water deeply, allowing drips to come out of the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot.
For the Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry, a rich, good quality soil with perlite is suitable. If you decide to make your own, use a thick mulch high in organic matter, sand.
Keep in mind that Scutellarioides prefers an evenly moist growth medium, and your soil should accommodate this.
We recommend the following potting mixes:
The rich soil should also allow for proper drainage, which helps keep root rot and other diseases at bay. Assuming you can meet this plant’s soil needs, it will continue to be a low-maintenance plant.
Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry Solenostemon Scutellarioides can thrive in any type of light, whether full sun, indirect light, or low light. This is a great option if you only have south-facing windows (or if you don’t have a green thumb!).
Place this plant in about any room or environment, assuming you have sufficient humidity. In an ideal state, this plant would get light 6-10 hours a day, but it can tolerate some variations.
While bright direct light won’t cause issues with moderate-to-high humidity, dry heat can scorch the leaves. Read our section on humidity to make sure you can meet this versatile plant’s needs.
In terms of fertilizer, a general-purpose option is usually acceptable. Some growers recommend a liquid seaweed fertilizer made from concentrated liquid kelp supplement, but this is a bit overkill, in my opinion.
Feed the plant once a month during the summer (you don’t typically need to fertilize in the winter). Some general-purpose fertilizer options include Miracle-Gro and Jack’s Classic Houseplant Special Fertilizer.
But if you’re jazzed about using a seaweed fertilizer, here’s an option you can try.
pH For Chocolate Covered Cherry Coleus
Assuming you give your Coleus rich soil, the pH isn’t a huge concern. That said, in an ideal state, you’ll want your soil to have a pH of roughly 5.6-7.5 for this Coleus, which is considered slightly acidic to neutral.
A rich, good-quality soil with perlite is somewhat close to this, so don’t worry about it too much.
If you’re having trouble with your Coleus and it’s not recovering through any other troubleshooting efforts, you could test the pH to make sure it’s accommodating. There are several affordable pH tests online that can help you with this.
Propagating Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry Solenostemon Scutellarioides
Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry has unique, bold coloring, so it’s no wonder you want to propagate it. Propagating can be done through a few basic steps and methods, but you could also grow it through Cherry Coleus seeds, which are readily available online.
Stem Cuttings In Soil
Coleus isn’t challenging to propagate, and while you can propagate in soil, we recommend you do it in water. Using water is easier, and it’s fun to see the development of the root. If you are dead-set on propagating directly in the soil, you can do so with the following method.
For your cuts, choose those with healthy and fresh growth. Cut below a leaf node. Remove all but the top few leaves from the stem and set it in a moist soil mix.
Maintain a high degree of humidity around the cutting by keeping the soil moist. You’ll want to keep the plant warm, around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, for healthy root development. When we’ve propagated Coleus, we typically see roots within the first couple of weeks. You don’t need to use rooting hormone on this plant.
Stem Cuttings In Water
Stem tip cuttings in water are one of the easiest ways to grow your Chocolate Covered Cherry Coleus.
Similar to stem cuttings in soil, you’re looking for new growth for your cutting. You typically want to propagate from spring to fall, which is considered the growing season. Choose a stem with no more than 2-3 nodes; any more, and the plant can become leggy.
Remove all but the top few leaves from the stem and place them in a glass of tepid water (I use a wine glass for small cuttings). Replace the cup every few days and keep it in indirect light.
It usually takes a couple of weeks for the Coleus cultivars we’ve propagated to develop a considerable root system.
If you notice your plant is struggling to root, it may be a humidity problem. Place a humidifier nearby and monitor the progress.
Humidity For Coleus
Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry is a herbaceous evergreen perennial (or herbaceous annual) that prefers moderate to high humidity – often between 60% and 80%. That’s pretty high for most homes, so you may need to add a humidifier if you’re growing it indoors.
Also, please note that this plant can only withstand full direct sun if it’s surrounded by high humidity. If you’re living in regions of high relative humidity, this shouldn’t be a massive concern. But drier areas, such as the southwestern United States, could be a problem.
All this said, it can withstand humidity levels of up to 40%. But if you have the means, make every effort to enhance it.
Warm temperatures are preferable for your Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry plant, thriving in a temperature range of 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. That said, it can live in temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Coleus, however, like a constant temperature, so keep them away from vents and window that may allow chilly air inside
The Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry Solenostemon Scutellarioides can produce insignificant light blue or white flowers. The flowers of this Coleus are not showy and should be removed if you plan to grow it as a houseplant. To remove flowers, simply pinch the spike off with your fingers.
Pests, Diseases, And Other Problems
In most situations, the Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry is a disease-resistant and pest-resistant plant. There are, however, some common issues that can affect it. Here are some of the common Coleus problems, as well as solutions to protect your Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry Solenostemon Scutellarioides.
Root rot is a problem for Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry, as it is for many other plants.
Indoor gardeners frequently overwater or fail to provide adequate drainage for potting soil. These are the two most common causes of root rot. Because root rot is difficult to treat, prevention is the most effective strategy.
Brown Leaf Tips
If the tops of your Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry begin to brown, it’s probably due to low humidity, which should be between 60 and 80%. Add a humidifier near your Coleus plant.
Scale insects might appear as lumps on plant stems or branches rather than as insects. The large white patch on the insect’s body is a waxy ovisac that connects to the abdomen. The eggs hatch inside this ovisac, and small young scale insects emerge.
The first step in managing small infestations is to remove damaged leaves and branches by hand. During their most susceptible stage in April, smother adults, crawlers, and eggs with horticultural oils. Apply refined horticultural oil when the winter weather has passed.
Aphids consume the showy red leaves of your Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry, resulting in black and brown spots.
To get rid of aphids, use insecticidal soap or neem oil, or make your own with a dish detergent like Ivory Liquid combined with water.
If the infestation is small, remove any aphid-infested growth. Put on gloves, crush the pests on the stem, brush them off with a paper towel, and dispose of them.
Spray the plant with a strong stream of water outside, as well.
Spider mites can attack your Coleus. The larvae will be invisible, but the tiny mites should be visible. During the larval stage, neem oil sprinkled on the leaves can assist in their eradication.
To get rid of these annoyances, home gardeners can apply an organic pyrethrin spray.
A Peronospora species causes downy mildew in Coleus. It was discovered in the United States for the first time in 2005, but it has since spread throughout the country.
Downy mildew can slow growth in yourChocolate Covered Cherry Coleus, but it can also cause leaf drop, chlorosis, and angular lesions.
Because downy mildew thrives in high humidity, keep fans running at night to increase ventilation.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst recommends using products containing “copper, cyazofamid, dimethomorph, mefenoxam, oxathiapiprolin, and phosphorus acid” to fight downy mildew.
Plant thread: begin!— Incorrigible Dreamer (@Tasteofarrow) June 14, 2021
Majora, my chocolate covered cherry coleus was my first foray into house plants and definitely a pandemic response. She grew beautifully from seeds and last week moved into a bigger pot than the one pictured! Super easy to care for and gorgeous 🥺💕 pic.twitter.com/lhW2GueX3O
The Chocolate Covered Cherry Coleus has some of the best foliage patterns available of the many Coleus varieties out there. It makes an excellent choice for a houseplant.
Have you grown this plant in your home or yard? We’d like to take a look. Send any pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we may include them in our articles.