What is Coleus?

Coleus is a plant that belongs to the mint family and is found in tropical regions of Asia, including Nepal, India, and Thailand. The root of the plant is commonly used as a natural remedy. The primary active constituent found in the root is a chemical called forskolin. Many manufacturers of herbal products produce coleus extracts that are high in forskolin levels. These products are marketed for the same health conditions for which forskolin has traditionally been used.


Coleus or forskolin are often used to manage high blood pressure, angina (chest pain), asthma, dry eye, and several other ailments. However, there is insufficient scientific evidence to support any of these applications.

Types of Coleus

There are numerous coleus plant varieties available, each with distinct leaf textures, patterns, and colors. New cultivars are introduced annually, and garden centers may stock only popular selections. To find unique varieties, consider shopping at various locations. Some noteworthy types to look for include:

Wizard series:

These are small plants, about 12 to 14 inches in size, with leaves in standard color mixes, and can be easily grown from seeds.

Kong series:

These coleus varieties have large leaves, up to 6 inches in size, on tall plants reaching 2 feet. They are sensitive to direct sunlight.

‘Black Dragon’:

This unique variety has ruffled edges and deep burgundy leaves, and grows up to 18 inches tall.

Premium Sun series:

These cultivars are bred to tolerate full sun exposure.

Fairway series:

These dwarf coleus varieties grow only 6 to 10 inches tall, and come in various leaf patterns and colors.

Propagating Coleus

To propagate coleus plants through stem cuttings, follow these steps:

Use a sterile shearing scissor to cut a 4- to 6-inch long stem tip cut right below a leaf node along the stem. Remove all leaves from the lower half of the cutting.

Dip the end of the stem in a rooting hormone compound and plant it in a moist potting mix so that the soil covers the exposed leaf nodes.

Place the container in a plastic bag, ensuring that the plastic doesn’t touch the cutting.

Put the covered cutting in a bright and warm location for two to three weeks until new roots develop.

Remove the plastic and continue growing the new plant in a bright and warm location.

For unusual cultivars, it is advisable to take multiple cuttings to ensure that enough viable plants are obtained.

How to Grow Coleus From Seed

Nowadays, coleus hybrids sold in stores are mostly grown from cuttings and then potted up for nursery sale. However, you can still find seeds of various varieties. If you plan to plant coleus in your outdoor garden, start seeds indoors about eight to ten weeks prior to your last frost date.

Growing coleus from seed is simple. It can take up to 21 days for the seeds to germinate, and after the seedlings appear, it will take three to four weeks of warm weather for them to grow into fully grown plants.

Lightly sprinkle the small seeds over a tray filled with potting mix, then cover them lightly with a sprinkling of soil.

Cover the tray with plastic and put it in a bright, warm area until the seedlings sprout, which takes around two weeks.

Take off the plastic and continue to grow the seedlings while keeping the soil moist.

When the seedlings develop two sets of true leaves, carefully transplant them into their own pots and continue to grow them until it’s time to plant them outdoors. Make sure to harden off the seedlings before planting them in the garden.

How Does Coleus Forskohlii Work in Weight Loss?

Recent research has uncovered the potential benefits of Coleus Forskohlii, particularly its active compound Forskolin, which is now considered a powerful natural remedy for weight loss. This is evident in the abundance of commercial weight loss supplements that feature Coleus Forskohlii (Forskolin) as their main ingredient.

Forskolin, a diterpene, works by directly activating adenylate cyclase, an enzyme that triggers the release of Cyclic AMP (Adenosine Monophosphate) within the cell. Cyclic AMP, in turn, accelerates the breakdown of stored fats within the cells. Additionally, Forskolin regulates thermogenesis induced by diet, increases the body’s basal metabolic rate, and enhances fat utilization.

Taking Forskolin also promotes the release of fatty acids from adipose tissue, which can then be burned as fuel to generate energy in the body. Studies show that high levels of Forskolin lead to increased accumulation of Cyclic AMP, which stimulates lipolysis, leading to greater fat degradation. One remarkable feature of Forskolin as a weight loss supplement is that it targets accumulated fat without affecting muscle mass.

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