Bring coleus back, bring it back tonight


Technically, it’s been solenostemon for years, but I don’t know anyone, even the most die-hard of botanical name purists, refer to it as anything but coleus. And that’s the way it should be. Joseph/Greensparrow Gardens has similar feelings about this and other preemptory and seemingly arbitrary scientific name changes. . He’s even made a video about it that has been making the rounds to much acclaim.

Check it out:


Keep those cartoons and videos coming, Joseph!

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at


  1. I can only imagine some over sensitive grower got scared. I mean with all the talk of col-onoscopies, bill col-lectors the impending Obama socialist farming col-lectives. I would too change the name of col-eus to anything not resembling the government sticking its’ arm up our col-on and controlling every aspect of life.
    Just the thought gives me col-onitis

  2. The garden “Coleus” is now Plectranthus scutellarioides, keep up! Coleus blumei was published in 1832, Plectranthus scutellarioides in 1810 so it is the earlier and correct name.

    The massive task of organising taxonomy is fascinating and is rationalising the naming of plants that has been messed up for years. Gardeners can carry on calling them whatever they like, people who want to know the latest name can look on the Plant List: The reorganising of families according to their real relationships rather than what they look like is also wonderful. Pomegranate being in the Lythraceae just makes sense now we know.

  3. Cute video…I am a designer and a very visual person and all the names mix me up. And the customers need pictures…I am so happy their is a web where I can look up images and do show and tell.

    What is in a name? A Coleus by any other name will be just as amazing : )

    Happy Heart Day…Happy Gardening!

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