13 Stunning And Unusual Dark Colors Of Coleus You Should Plant In Your Garden

While most plants in the garden feature bright green or light pastel tones, there are also plenty of darker plants that will add a bit of edginess, including many types of coleus. With more than 600 varieties, this hardy spectacle that's part of the mint family is adored for its leaves that typically feature vibrant — and sometimes dark — tones. This prehistoric-looking plant can display a tapestry of colors including bright yellow, fiery red, and deep purple or black. We've listed 13 types with the most unusual and deep hues below.

However, before you decide to add this plant to your space, it's important to ensure you can give it the right care requirements so that it thrives. While coleus is easy to grow and care for, it will still require some attention. Most coleus is shade-loving, but many new varieties tolerate full sun. These plants can grow between 6 and 40 inches tall, making them suitable for ground cover, gardenscapes, and potted arrangements. When selecting a variety for your garden, you'll want to consider the specific growing conditions in your area. You'll want to choose a variety that matches your USDA hardiness zone. This plant tends to be a perennial only in zones 10 and 11, so for lower zones, you'll need to bring it inside during the winter or just use it as an annual. 

1. 'Vulcan'

'Vulcan' is a captivating variety that's known for its bright color and interesting leaves. Its dark magenta foliage provides a backdrop for the thin, chartreuse borders that delicately outline each leaf. Unlike many coleus varieties that have smooth-edged leaves, 'Vulcan' boasts velvety, serrated foliage that gives it an extra textural dimension. It's noted for its ease of care and columnar growth pattern, typically reaching between 14 and 28 inches tall and wide. The vivid mass of color and texture is perfect for vertical spaces as a filler when designing a container garden or as a border along garden beds.

2. Colorblaze 'Golden Dreams'

One of the most unique-looking coleus cultivars, Colorblaze 'Golden Dreams' is a visually-striking type that almost appears surreal. Its bright yellow chartreuse foliage with dark maroon veins can turn your garden into an exotic jungle. In higher sunlit conditions, the yellow chartreuse hue dominates, adding brightness to any space. As the plant receives more shade, the dark maroon veins take over, becoming more pronounced and adding a dramatic contrast. Growing over 3 feet tall, this plant is perfect to use as a focal point because of its height and color.

3. 'Inferno'

As the name suggests, this plant's bright red-orange, gorgeous foliage is as unique as they come. 'Inferno's' fiery leaves with magenta veining and undersides make it a show-stopping foliage piece to add to your garden. Combine this variety with red and orange flowers to create a monochrome or maximalist garden. Try planting it between red, pink, orange, and yellow celosia, coral-colored impatiens, red or orange begonias, bright-orange lantana, or tangerine-orange echinacea. With a mounding growth habit that reaches heights of 14 to 28 inches, this unique coleus is an ideal addition to any garden.

4. Talavera 'Moondust'

'Moondust' evokes the imagery of a starry night sky and has red leaves that are speckled with yellow stardust spots. This variety thrives in hanging baskets, containers, or as part of lush and natural border arrangements. Its mounding growth habit makes it versatile and ideal for adding structure, dimension, and interest to any space it's grown in. Because this type is suited for partly-sunny environments, its colors shine without the risk of fading or changing. Reaching 3 feet tall and spreading almost 2 feet wide, this unusual space-resembling plant is perfect for creating contrast in any garden.

5. 'Black Dragon'

If you're looking for a "Game of Thrones" or "Harry Potter"-themed plant, the 'Black Dragon' is everything you'd imagine it would be. With lush, deep burgundy to black velvety ruffled-edged leaves and blood-red centers, you can turn any planter or garden into a Mother of Dragons or Sirius Black-themed arrangement. Unusually-textured and easy to grow, the 'Black Dragon' complements any floral companion in the garden, including begonias or echinacea. This coleus variety does best in part or full shade and has a small, compact growth pattern, only reaching up to 14 inches high and 12 inches wide.

6. Colorblaze 'El Brighto'

With tie-dye reminiscent leaves, Colorblaze 'El Brighto' stands as one of the most stunning and unusual-looking plants. It has bright yellow-green lining on the outside that contrasts with the splashes of red and deep burgundy in the center and the lime green veining, making it a talking point. The leaves have serrated edges with long points, mimicking the shape of crab claws. It's a perfect accent in containers or gardens, growing up to 40 inches tall and 36 inches wide. Pair this coleus with a sweet potato vine, the fiery fountain grass lookalike Japanese blood grass, and 'Black Dragon' coleus for a dramatic look.

7. Colorblaze 'Wicked Hot'

Colorblaze 'Wicked Hot' coleus will have you wanting to turn your garden into a gothic, spooky-filled landscape (even during summer). Giving all the fall color you could hope for, its copper-orange leaves and deeply-serrated edges have hints of pink and bright green. This easy-to-grow variety grows less than 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide and thrives in full sun or shade. Create a dark gothic garden by adding purple and black plants like the black heart sweet potato vine, heuchera 'Black Pearl', or baptisia 'Dark Chocolate'. Or, go with an unusual coleus-themed garden that includes varying heights, colors, and textures.

8. Colorblaze 'Newly Noir'

Much like the 'Black Dragon,' the 'Newly Noir' coleus has a stunning, nearly-black color. Its deep purple, velvety foliage makes it a striking addition to any garden, especially when paired with silver-green foliage or other dark plants. Capable of reaching up to 3½ feet tall and 3 feet wide, this coleus adapts to varying light conditions, including full sun, part shade, and full shade, displaying more pronounced color variations when exposed to more sunlight. With an upright growth habit, it makes an excellent large thriller for any landscape.

9. Colorblaze 'Dipt in Wine'

The Colorblaze 'Dipt in Wine' is a stunning, unusual coleus with leaves that are adorned with wine-colored splotches and lime green edges and centers. Its unique coloration sets it apart from the typical shades of green-leaved plants in most gardens. This sun-adapted, gorgeous, easy-to-grow coleus thrives in both sun and shade, offering versatility for gardens and containers. 'Dipt in Wine' reaches up to 3½ feet tall and 2 feet wide, needing sufficient space to show off its striking foliage. Looking to add a burst of crimson-red color to your garden? This coleus is the perfect addition.

10. 'Chocolate Covered Cherry'

The 'Chocolate Covered Cherry' variety's multi-colored leaf offers a visually striking and dramatic coloration. While smaller in size, growing 14 inches tall and 12 inches wide, it still draws attention with its foliage. Deep mahogany/burgundy leaves with rose-colored centers framed by delicate chartreuse edges create an extravagant display in any garden planting. Adding depth and texture, this plant is perfect for container gardening and accenting garden landscapes. It does best in high-humidity full sun environments or partial shade in dry climates. This sun-tolerant variety is renowned for its foliage, which maintains its color.

11. Colorblaze 'Rediculous'

The cherry red leaves of the Colorblaze 'Rediculous' coleus inject a burst of color into any landscape. This variety reaches a height of 40 inches and spreads up to 36 inches wide, making a substantial impact in any garden setting. Its large ruby-red foliage and big size make it ideal for creating focal points with its bright-red hues. When planted with other red or dark purple plants, it adds intensity to a monochromatic space. Add this coleus to your garden to create a stunning and flamboyant arrangement.

12. Colorblaze 'Chocolate Drop'

The 'Chocolate Drop' coleus is a trailing plant variety known for its unique leaves and versatility. It features small lobed foliage rich in a dark burgundy shade, highlighted by vivid green accents. This variety of coleus is an excellent choice for hanging baskets or container gardens in either shade or sun, adding depth and contrast. Its foliage, reminiscent of a lily pad shape and prehistoric dinosaur-like color scheme, create a dense and colorful display. It trails and spreads up to 2 feet long and wide, creating a stunning cascade over the edges of containers or garden beds.

13. Colorblaze 'Strawberry Drop'

Vibrant green leaves, distinctively marked with dark red veins and a striking center that bursts with magenta and bits of white and yellow, Colorblaze 'Strawberry Drop' is another trailing variety. It adds lively interest and a lush look to any container. As it trails over the edges, it also spreads up to 2 inches long and wide, densely filling garden spaces. This plant thrives in a range of light conditions, from full shade to full sun. Whether nestled between colorful blooms like begonias or textured foliage like caladium, this coleus is a stunning variety to add to your garden.