Coleus plants are commonly known for having brightly colored foliage, and Coleus Electric Lime is no exception. It has vibrant lime leaves with yellow-white veins that net across the surface.
This low-maintenance plant grows well as an annual in areas with frost and as a perennial in hardiness zones 10 and 11. But increasingly, it’s become a prime choice for a houseplant perennial, living through the year and adding pops of color to indoor gardens.
And did we mention that it’s hardy? While some Coleus plants fade or even burn under direct sun, this variety can withstand sun exposure throughout the day.
In this Coleus Electric Lime care guide, we’ll introduce you to this beautiful plant, tell you where to buy it, and give you all the tips needed to keep it growing throughout the year as a houseplant.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is Electric Lime Coleus Plant (Solenostemon scutellarioides)?
- 2 Solenostemon Or Coleus?
- 3 Frost Danger
- 4 Where To Buy
- 5 Where To Plant Coleus Electric Lime
- 6 Plant Size
- 7 Electric Lime Coleus Care
- 7.1 Care Difficulty
- 7.2 Growth Rate
- 7.3 Potting
- 7.4 Repotting
- 7.5 Soil Needs
- 7.6 pH
- 7.7 Water
- 7.8 Light
- 7.9 Fertilizer
- 7.10 Propagating Solenostemon Electric Lime Coleus
- 7.11 Humidity And Aeration
- 7.12 Temperature
- 7.13 Flowers
- 7.14 Pinching The Plant
- 7.15 Toxic To Cats And Dogs
- 7.16 Pests, Diseases, And Other Problems
- 8 Similar Plants
- 9 Conclusion
What Is Electric Lime Coleus Plant (Solenostemon scutellarioides)?
Called Coleus Electric Lime, these plants have oval, but jagged chartreuse leaves with contrasting yellow veins along the surface. It’s some great foliage that provides a pop of color. The Coleus Electric Lime, an herbaceous annual, is commonly seen as a perennial in warmer climates and indoors.
There are over 1500 varieties of the Coleus plant, so you’re sure to find one that suits your aesthetic!
It’s a stunning plant that grows well in any room, with high or low light. For indoor growing, you can remove its blooms (which aren’t anything to write home about), causing it to keep growing as a perennial. It’s truly a versatile plant as a houseplant.
Botanical name: Solenostemon scutellarioides
Common name: Coleus ‘Electric Lime’
Special Abilities: Can withstand full sun exposure and part sun while also being shade tolerant
Here’s a good guide for general Coleus care, specifically indoors:
Massive disclaimer about the video above – it’s a general Coleus guide – not the Electric Lime variety specifically. Most importantly, Electric lime can withstand and even thrive in bright direct light.
Solenostemon Or Coleus?
The naming of this genus has been through a journey. It was initially given the name Coleus blumei for its showy leaves, but the botanical community has since been renamed to Solensotemon scutellariodes. But the people who buy and grow this plant found that to be a tongue-twister, so most just call it Coleus still.
Origin And Family
The Coleus Electric Lime belongs to the Solenostemon genus and the Lamiaceae family, which is sometimes called the Mint family. The genus Coleus comes from southeast Asia and Australia, but most modern cultivars are developed by seed companies.
Solenostemon scutellarioides has become a popular indoor plant in recent years, thriving in most households with moderate to high humidity.
Florida Foundation Seed Producers trademarked this plant, and it’s a terrific addition to any indoor grower’s collection. It only produces small bluish-white flower spikes before winter, signaling that it’s time to produce seed.
We’ll say it a few times in this article, but this beautiful plant, with its bright lemon-lime leaves, is in danger of frost if kept outside in colder environments. Be on guard if you don’t live in a warm climate. You should plan to overwinter your plants before the first frost.
Electric Lime Coleus: Annual Or Perennial
Outdoors, Coleus Electric Lime is often grown as a perennial in hardiness zones 10 and 11. Any colder than that (most of the United States), it is grown as an annual outside. Grown inside, which is becoming increasingly common, you must pinch off the flowers to keep Electric Lime Coleus growing throughout the year.
Where To Buy
You can likely find Coleus Electric Lime at your local nursery or home improvement store, but we’ve recently had a lot of luck on Etsy.
Buy Electric Lime Coleus From Etsy
In terms of cost, the Coleus Electric Lime is very affordable, only costing about $7-10 per plant. It makes an excellent ground cover or filler next to a plant in a container.
Where To Plant Coleus Electric Lime
Since Coleus is tolerant of almost anything, it can be grown about anywhere. It works well in garden beds, outdoor containers, indoor containers – and just about anywhere else you can think of.
Beyond being sun tolerant, it’s also heat tolerant and can withstand a variety of warm temperatures. The main danger for this variety – and most Coleus plants – is frost.
When grown indoors, the Solenostemon scutellarioides grows to a height of 16-20″ and spreads to a width of 24″. It grows at a fast rate and thrives in any room, with high or low light. It’s truly a versatile plant – for inside and outside alike.
Electric Lime Coleus Care
Like any houseplant, your Solenostemon scutellarioides will thrive if you take good care of it. Although this painted leaf plant is a sun lover, it also likes relatively moist soil.
You should water your Solenostemon when you notice the top 1″ of soil is dry. Make sure to give it a full watering, allowing it to run down the draining hole. As for the light source, this lovely plant likes bright indirect light – but can do well in either direct sunlight or partial shade.
The biggest danger for Coleus Electric Lime is frost, which, if you’re growing it indoors or in a warmer climate, isn’t really a problem.
Take a look at the extensive care tips that follow to get more specifics.
In terms of care difficulty, the Solenostemon scutellarioides is super easy to care for. The most significant considerations for this beauty are the amount of water, the soil drainage, and the temperature – with the temperature being the most crucial factor to consider.
Most Solenostemon species, including the scutellarioides, grow very fast.
This plant grows to a height of 16-20 inches when mature. Their growing season is traditionally between spring to fall.
It can grow bushier as it matures, so you should be careful not to plant multiple Coleus directly next to each other.
This stunning plant has adjusted well to indoor living and can thrive in most potting options. For most growers, plastic, terracotta, or clay will work well for Solenostemon scutellarioides.
In terms of sizing, you typically want to use a small-to-medium option. As long as it has a drainage hole in the bottom of the pot, it should be fine.
If you want a taller plant, you can give your Coleus a larger pot. It typically doesn’t grow larger than its container.
As your Coleus Electric Lime develops, you consider moving it to a larger pot on an as-needed basis, assuming you want a larger plant.
As a result of this painted leaf’s speedy growth rate, you can repot to a slightly larger pot every winter, assuming you want your Coleus to grow larger.
When repotting, be sure to use a new potting mix for your Coleus, as this will leave your plant feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Coleus Electric Lime plants can grow well with standard commercial potting soil or any other rich soil options. Use anything that supports good drainage, has organic matter, perlite, or sand. Keep in mind that your soil should be relatively moist.
These potting mixtures are what we recommend:
Also, adequate drainage is critical to avoid disease, root rot, and other issues. Like most plants, this stunning species loves good drainage.
For the scutellarioides, you’ll need a soil pH of around 6.6 and 6.0, which is neutral to acidic. In most cases, a standard commercial potting soil is pretty similar to this, so this shouldn’t be a significant worry.
If you’re concerned that your pH is causing issues with your plant, I recommend you start with a basic pH test, which you can get on either the internet or a local garden center.
The frequency of watering will vary based on the temperature and the humidity of your surroundings. But generally speaking, your Coleus Electric lime prefers a relatively moist growing medium.
As a rule of thumb, water your Coleus Electric Lime when you notice the top 1″ of soil is dry. Be sure you’re not watering the green leaves themselves, as this could cause certain diseases and mildew.
Allow the water to run out the bottom of the pot.
In the winter, you can water your Electric Lime even less.
Solenostemon prefers bright light. Generally speaking, you’re trying to simulate how Coleus grows in southeast Asia and Australia.
That said, Electric Lime is an incredibly hardy variety of Coleus that can withstand either full sun or partly shaded areas. Other Coleus varieties’ leaves fade when they’re exposed to direct light. But Electric Lime thrives in it.
In an ideal state, you’ll want to keep this plant in bright light for 6-10 hours per day.
If you notice that its leaves are losing pigment, it could be a sign that the direct light is becoming too much for your plant – and you may need to adjust its placement.
When growing this Coleus indoors (and most modern Coleus varieties), you can place it directly under a grow light if you’re worried your plant isn’t getting enough light.
Several indoor growers forget to fertilize, thinking water and bright light is enough. But every other week, from spring to fall, you should apply a basic liquid fertilizer.
If you’re using a more potent fertilizer, you may need to dilute it first. In the winter months, there’s not a need to fertilize.
Propagating Solenostemon Electric Lime Coleus
Propagating Coleus Electric Lime can be done through a few basic steps. Here is the primary way we recommend you propagate.
Stem Cuttings In Water
One of the most convenient techniques to propagate your Solenostemon scutellarioides is through stem tip cuttings in water. Seeds are often available, although they might be difficult to find at certain points of the year.
Early spring to fall is the best time to take stem cuttings. For your cuts, choose those with a reasonable rate of development, preferably fresh growth. Choose a stem with 2-3 nodes – any more, and the plant could become leggy.
Remove all but the top few leaves from the stem and set it in tepid water. Refill the cup every few days and put it in bright, indirect light.
Of the Coleus varieties we’ve propagated, it usually takes a couple of weeks to get a significant root system. But so far, we’ve had a 100% success rate on propagation.
Maintain a high degree of humidity around the cutting by keeping the soil moist. Until the Solenostemon scutellarioides takes root, it’s best to set the plant near a humidifier. For healthy root development, you’ll also need to keep the plant warm, around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Humidity And Aeration
Solenostemon scutellarioides or Coleus Electric Lime is a stunning herbaceous annual or perennial – and it prefers a high humidity rate – often 60% or more. It can survive with a humidity rate of 40%. But do your best to increase it if you have the means.
If you’re concerned about your humidity or see brown edges on your plants, place a humidifier next to the plants.
Warm-to-temperate temperatures are preferable for your Coleus Electric Lime plant, usually within the 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit range. Like most plants, keep it away from vents or open windows in winter. While a hardy plant, immediate changes can stress the Coleus.
Temperature and humidity requirements are frequently intertwined. Make sure to go over the humidity portion above as well.
The Solenostemon scutellarioides can produce insignificant bluish-white flowers, signaling that they should produce seed. For most indoor growers of Coleus Electric Lime, you want to pinch off the flower tips to keep your plant actively growing.
But if you want to raise it indoors as a perennial, you must pinch off the flowers as you see them. This will keep the plant growing – and often produce a bushier-looking plant.
Pinching The Plant
If you’re growing your Coleus indoors, you should semi-regularly pinch the tips of the plants, which will make your plant bushier and less leggy. You can learn more about how to do that in the video at the top of the article.
Toxic To Cats And Dogs
The essential oils in Coleus are considered toxic to dogs and cats. According to the ASPCA, if ingested, this plant will cause the following symptoms in pets: diarrhea, vomiting (occasionally bloody), anorexia, and depression. In most cases, this plant is considered non-life-threatening.
If you or your fur-ever friends have ingested coleus, call poison control or the APCC (888 426-4435), respectively.
Pests, Diseases, And Other Problems
As a whole, the Solenostemon scutellarioides is a disease and pest-resistant plant, but it has a few more common issues than others. The biggest issue is cold weather. You shouldn’t let the plant get under 32 degrees ever during the night and ideally keep it above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the following sections, review these tips for diagnosing common Coleus Electric Lime problems and discover ways to return your plant to a healthy condition.
Mealybugs may infest your Solenostemon scutellarioides. If you find these tiny parasites – identified by their white “fluff” – you need to act promptly. Start by taking a cotton ball and rubbing it in alcohol. Rub this over the plant to remove all the visible bugs.
At this point, take one cup of rubbing alcohol and a teaspoon of fragrance-free dish soap, and then mix that with water in a spray bottle.
Spray that on your plants every 3-4 days until the mealybugs are gone.
Neem oil also works well as a prophylactic spray.
Spider mites could potentially attack your Coleus. The larvae will not be visible, but you should be able to see the tiny mites. During the larval stage, neem oil sprayed on the leaves can help eradicate them.
Home growers can also use an organic pyrethrin spray to get rid of these annoyances.
A species of Peronospora causes downy mildew in Coleus. It was first detected in the US in 2005 but is now across the whole United States.
Downy mildew may stunt growth in your Electric Lime but can also include many other symptoms, such as leaf drop, chlorosis, and angular lesions.
High humidity is a breeding ground for downy mildew, so be sure to run fans at night to improve ventilation.
There are some mildew-resistant cultivars of Coleus, but we don’t know if Electric Lime can fend off this mildew.
To manage downy mildew, the University of Massachusetts Amherst recommends using products containing “copper, cyazofamid, dimethomorph, mefenoxam, oxathiapiprolin, and phosphorus acid.”
Whiteflies, which are gnat-like pests that feed on the sap of your plants, may be attracted to the Solenostemon scutellarioides. They lay eggs on the tops of leaves, which hatch into larvae that eat the undersides of your leaves.
Whiteflies management often means you use a pesticide. Here are some popular whitefly pesticides from Amazon:
- BioAdvanced 708287 3-in-1 Insect Disease & Mite Control Spray, 32-Ounce, White
- Bonide 023 Neem Oil Insecticide, White
- BioAdvanced 701520A Fruit, Citrus & Vegetable Insect Control for Edible Gardening Concentrate, 32-Ounce
Scale insects may appear as lumps on the stems or branches of a plant rather than insects. The vast white patch on the insect’s body is a thick waxy ovisac linked to the abdomen. Inside this ovisac, the eggs hatch, and tiny new scale insects emerge. Gross.
Hand removal of damaged leaves and branches is the first step in controlling minor infestations. Smother adults, crawlers, and eggs with horticultural oils at their most vulnerable stage in April. After the cold weather has passed, apply refined horticultural oils.
Aphids can eat the green leaves, resulting in black and brown patches on your Electric Lime Coleus.
Use an insecticidal soap or neem oil to treat aphids, or prepare your own with a dish detergent like Ivory Liquid mixed with water.
If the infestation is minor, clip and discard any aphid-infested growth. Put on gloves and crush the pests on the stem, brush them off onto a paper towel and throw them away.
Take the plant outside and spray it with a strong stream of water.
Brown Leaf Tips
If the tops of your Coleus Electric Lime start to turn brown, it could be an indication that it’s getting too much sunlight – or that your home isn’t humid enough.
Root rot is a threat to Coleus Electric Lime, as it is with many plants.
Indoor gardeners regularly overwater or don’t provide proper drainage for potting soil. These are the two leading causes of root rot. Because root rot is difficult to treat, prevention is the best approach.
The easiest way to prevent root rot in Solenostemon scutellarioides is to monitor water intake closely. In this case, too much water is the main culprit. Take a look at the watering instructions above to make sure you’re not overdoing it.
Can’t get enough of this beautiful houseplant? Here are some other Coleus plant options you should try:
Coleus Wasabi – Wasabi Coleus is a herbaceous annual or perennial that grows in an upright spreading style. Its medium texture integrates into the garden but pairs well with a couple of finer or coarser plants.
Coleus Redhead – Solenostemon Redhead is a tropical evergreen perennial with soft red leaves delicately bordered with slight serrations. It really has great color. They are extremely spectacular and preserve their brilliant color in the shade or full sun. They thrive in humus-rich, wet, well-drained soils in full sun or partial shade.
Coleus Kong Rose – Kong Rose Coleus is a herbaceous perennial that’s become increasingly popular in the last year. Its coarse texture might help it stand out from other garden plants with finer foliage.
Coleus Canina – Start with the Coleus canina if you’re seeking a plant that repels cats, dogs, and other small animals. It has a stench that is similar to cat and dog urine. In a nutshell, it stinks.
Coleus Black Dragon – Coleus Black Dragon is a shrub with extremely finely textured, brightly colored foliage. Compact, showy, and easy to grow, it’s a must-have for anyone with a shady space, and it’s incredibly simple to plant using seeds.
Coleus Electric lime works great as a ground cover plant, or as a container plant – or even as a stand-alone houseplant. It’s easy to grow, simple to propagate, and it can give your home an amazing splash of color.
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