Image for  Texas Superstar  (TM)


Contact: Dr. Steve George, Extension Horticulturist, 214/231-5362
Writer: Mary Porter, Communications Specialist, 214/952-9232
Date: March 7, 1995

Dallas, TX -- For the first time, traditionally shade-loving coleus plants venture out of the shadows this spring with the introduction of the new SuperSun varieties which truly tolerate our hot Texas sun. According to Dr. Steve George, Texas A&M horticulturist based in Dallas, more than 70 varieties were tested over three years to find two fully sun-tolerant ones called SuperSun 'Plum Parfait' and SuperSun 'Burgundy Sun'.

Image of Plum Parfait Coleus Image of Burgandy Sun Coleus
SuperSun 'Plum Parfait'
SuperSun 'Burgundy Sun'

Bedding plants of this popular annual grown for its colorful foliage will be available in nurseries this spring, in early to mid-April in South Texas and late April in northern areas of the state. "Gardeners have long depended on coleus for color in shaded areas, but now these two can stand up to scorching sun and still retain their rich, beautiful colors," said George.

"They are vigorous long-lasting plants, providing color from mid-spring through to fall. 'Plum Parfait', a purplish-plum color which develops gorgeous pink margins, is more suited to plantings enjoyed from close up, whereas 'Burgundy Sun' demonstrates its deep color most effectively in large plantings viewed from a distance. Be sure to ask for SuperSun coleus by name to be certain you have the sun-tolerant ones," he added.

"The trials were done across the state and these two new sun-loving coleus varieties proved they could do extremely well from Beaumont to Amarillo to El Paso in a wide range of light intensities, from day-long dappled shade to full, hot sun."

Due in part to their low maintenance properties, both varieties received the Texas A&M "Earth-Kind" designation. George said they adapt well to almost any soil type and thrive in a wide range of climates.

"The most important thing for this plant is good drainage," he said. "Plants with wet feet become stunted and their leaves turn muddy brown in color. Poorly drained soils and watering too frequently spell disaster. So, water them only when the soil is dry one inch below the surface. If battling a heavy clay soil, plant in raised beds liberally amended with organic matter, which helps to ensure good drainage."

"Otherwise, they're highly resistant to serious disease or insect problems, which means they require little or no pesticides to keep them healthy -- a very important factor in their being chosen as "Earth-Kind" plants."

George said they also grow like gangbusters in containers, which can be used to highlight patios, porches and garden terraces. As annuals, they'll freeze outdoors during the winter, and will need to be replaced next spring.

Texas A&M's coleus field trials, the largest of their type ever undertaken in this region of the U.S., were a cooperative effort between Extension specialists and horticulture researchers across the state working closely with the Texas Association of Nurserymen.

So try the new SuperSun coleus this spring. Their easy care beauty will make a wonderful addition to any Texas landscape.

Read more about SuperSun coleus.

Aggie Horticulture | Texas Superstar TM