Growing Black Dragon Coleus (The Complete Care Guide)
Just got your first black dragon coleus plant and wondering how to start caring? Read on! This guide contains everything starting from germination to pruning and propagation.
Most plant owners grow coleus for their exotic foliage even though they are a group of flowering plants.
If you just got your first black dragon coleus plant or its seeds, reading a growing guide is essential so that you get the basics right and never kill your plant.
This article is your complete guide to understanding how you can grow a coleus black dragon plant starting from seed to a fully matured plant.
Here are the sub-topics we’ll cover in-depth,
- Black Dragon Coleus Plant Profile
- Where To Buy Coleus Black Dragon?
- Black Dragon Coleus Seed Germination
- Black Dragon Coleus Care
- Coleus Black Dragon Pruning
- Coleus Black Dragon Propagation
- Coleus Black Dragon Toxicity
- Other Coleus Varieties
- Lots more.
Let’s get started.
Black Dragon Coleus Plant Profile
|Scientific Name||Solenostemon Scutellarioides Coleus|
|Common Name(s)||Black Dragon Coleus, Solenostemon Black Dragon|
|Care Level||Easy, Beginner friendly|
|USDA Zone||USDA 4 – 10|
|Light Requirements||Partial, full shade|
|Temperature Preferences||70 – 75oF|
|Humidity Preferences||High humidity, >50%|
|Soil Preference||Well drained|
|Growth Rate||Very fast|
Where To Find Black Dragon Coleus On Sale?
If you need to buy a live black dragon coleus plant, the first place to check out is the local nurseries that specialize in rare plants.
Coleus black dragon plants are not considered to be rare, but still, the majority of the general nurseries do not have them. So, you need to try your luck with rare plant collectors or rare plant nurseries.
In case, if you do not get a live plant, don’t be disappointed. There are plenty of online marketplace sellers who sell black dragon coleus seeds on Amazon, Etsy, Facebook, and similar marketplaces.
While buying black dragon coleus seeds online, analyze the ratings of the seller to avoid getting scammed.
How To Germinate Black Dragon Coleus Seeds?
If you bought coleus black dragon seeds, then knowing how to germinate them is necessary.
Germinating these plants from seeds is straightforward.
Here are the steps to follow,
- The first step in germinating black dragon coleus seeds is to find a container for planting the seeds. It can be a tray or a small pot. Choose an option depending on the number of seeds you are planning to germinate.
- Fill the container with a well-drained potting soil specifically made for coleus plants. Also, please check that the soil has a pH in the range of 5.6 to 7.5.
- Using a pencil or your index finger, make small pits on the top layer of the soil mixture. Make sure that each pit is separated by at least 2 inches of space so that plants won’t feel suffocated.
- Place the clean seeds inside each pit and close the pit with a loose potting mixture. The seeds need air to breathe, so make sure that you are not completely closing the pit.
- Place the container in a spot where it gets bright indirect light. And, make sure that the temperature in the region is in the range of 70 to 75oF.
- Using a plastic sheet, cover the container so that the conditions are moist and warm. Also, make sure that the plastic sheet is not touching the soil.
If the conditions are perfect for germination, then you can expect the first growth in 10 to 15 days.
Transplant the plant only after the first two leaves are out of the juvenile phase.
Black Dragon Coleus Care
Coleus black dragon is an easy-to-care plant that thrives in sub-tropical conditions. They require warm 70 to 75oF, humid (greater than 50%) conditions with partial to full shade. Water the plant more often in summer and spring to keep the soil moist. Also, make sure that the soil mixture you use is well drained and highly nutritious.
1. Black Dragon Coleus Temperature & Humidity
The ideal temperature range for the black dragon coleus plants is 70 to 75oF (21 to 25oC).
But still, based on a greenhouse study conducted in Australia, these plants were recorded to tolerate slightly higher (85oF) and lower (60oF) temperatures respectively.
If you are keeping the black dragon coleus indoors, then make sure that there are no air conditioner vents nearby. The cold air will give temperature shock to the plant and may damage the leaves in the long run.
For growing black dragon coleus plants outdoors, you must reside in any of the regions that fall under USDA zones 4 to 10. In other regions, depending on the seasons, you might have to move the plant indoors.
Just like temperature, the moisture content in the air also affects how healthy a plant is.
Coming from the sub-tropical region, black dragon coleus plants prefer medium to high humidity throughout the year. The same greenhouse study mentioned above recommends a humidity of more than 50%.
2. Black Dragon Coleus Light
Black dragon coleus enjoys bright, indirect light when grown indoors. The ideal location for them is a windowsill that receives light in the morning or early hours of the day and shade in the late afternoon when the sun is at its hottest.
If you cannot provide them with suitable natural light, don’t fret. These plants thrive well under artificial lighting as well. Make sure that you are placing the black dragon coleus plant under a full spectrum grow light for at least 5 to six hours a day.
Even though they prefer indirect sunlight, for the most part, they can tolerate a maximum of 2 hours of direct sunlight. In such cases, make sure that you are watering your plant more often to reduce any dehydration.
3. Coleus Black Dragon Soil
Just like any other sub-tropical plant, the black dragon coleus plant prefers a well-drained potting mix that is high in organic matter.
There are a couple of coleus-specific potting mixes available in the online market.
If you cannot find a coleus-specific soil mixture, purchase any of the commercial potting soil mixes containing peat moss, bark chips, coco peat, etc.
As I already mentioned, coleus black dragon wants a well-draining mix. So, to improve the aeration of the commercial mix, you should add a part of either perlite or vermiculite.
Another thing to note is the pH value of the soil mix. For black dragon coleus plants, soil mixtures with a pH value in the range of 5.6 to 7.5 are recommended by experts.
For those who want to mix their potting soil, the following combination works the best.
- Peat moss (60%) – provides nutrition
- Perlite (10%) – improves drainage
- Compost (15%) – provides nutrition
- Pine bark (15%) – holds required water
4. Black Dragon Coleus Watering
Setting up a watering schedule for your black dragon coleus plant is region specific.
Coleus black dragon plants prefer slightly moist soil during their growing season (spring and summer months).
If you are keeping the plant indoors under average room temperatures, then watering twice or thrice a week is enough for optimal growth. However, for coleus sitting outdoors in direct sun for a couple of hours a day, you must water once a day to prevent any dehydration issues.
Among all the care parameters, watering is the one that needs to be done very carefully. Improper watering can kill your black dragon coleus plant in a few weeks due to root and stem rot. So, properly analyze the climatic conditions in your region before fixing a watering schedule.
Coleus Black Dragon Pruning
Coleus black dragon plants do not require a lot of pruning. If there are a lot of dead, pest-infected, or yellow leaves, then you can prune them off to keep the plant attractive.
Other than that, if the plant is not aesthetically pleasing due to irregular shape or longer stems, then you can prune them, particularly in the early spring so that it can trigger new growth along the cut points.
Always use sterilized pruning shears, knives, or scissors to prune these tropical plants to avoid cross-contamination.
Coleus Black Dragon Propagation
Similar to other coleus varieties, black dragon coleus can be propagated by either seed or stem cuttings.
If you are a beginner, then I recommend propagating through seeds. Not because the stem cuttings approach is harder, but seed propagation has a higher success rate than stem cuttings.
Seed propagation is the same as what we have explained in the above section – How To Germinate Black Dragon Coleus Seeds?
For those who want to try the stem cuttings approach, make sure that you have a mature black dragon coleus plant.
Here are the steps to follow,
- From the parent plant, cut 3 to 4 inches of stem with at least 4 or 5 leaves. Make sure that you are cutting below a leaf node.
- Remove two or three leaves from one end so that roots can grow from the nodes.
- Dip those leaf nodes in a rooting hormone to trigger the rooting process quicker. Rooting hormones are available in powder or liquid form.
- Place the stem cutting in a jar with water (rooting in water) or a small container with potting soil that is customized for coleus black dragon plants.
- For the initial days, the humidity and temperature play a very important role in rooting. So, make sure that you are placing the plant in a spot where it gets high humidity and temperature in the range of 7o to 75oF.
If everything goes well according to the plan, then you can expect roots to grow in two to three weeks.
If you are rooting in water, then change the water once every week to prevent bacteria and other fungal infections.
Coleus Black Dragon Toxicity
Coleus black dragon plants are considered to be mildly toxic. If the leaves or any other part of the plant is eaten, it can cause slight discomfort in the stomach.
These effects apply to your pets like dogs and cats.
If you are prone to allergies, then there is a small chance of a mild allergic reaction in the form of dermatitis or a red rash upon touching the plant.
Other Coleus Varieties
Coleus is a large group of ornamental plants from the Lamiaceae family. Some researchers say there are more than 200 different varieties of coleus plants available in the wild.
And, here I’m going to share some of the commonly grown coleus varieties that look marvelous and are very easy to get in local stores.
- Rustic Orange Coleus
- Coleus French Quarter
- Inferno Coleus
- Redhead Coleus
- Henna Coleus
- Salmon Pink Coleus
- Kiwi Fern
- Big Red Judy
- Wizard Mix
- Trailing Plum
Some sellers provide seed coleus seed packages with multiple varieties. If you want to grow different varieties at a time, then these seed mixes are a good option.
Black Dragon Coleus Care – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
In this section, I will be responding to some of the most frequently asked doubts (on gardening forums) about growing and caring for the black dragon coleus plant.
Is black dragon coleus rare?
Black dragon coleus plants are not considered to be rare and they are abundant in the wild. Not many people know about this plant and that is the reason why it is not easily available in local nurseries.
Are black dragon coleus and black dragon sansevieria the same?
No, they are completely different plants despite having a similar name. Black Dragon Coleus is from the Lamiaceae family whereas black dragon sansevieria belongs to the sansevieria family. Black dragon sansevieria is commonly called a black dragon snake plant.
What is the scientific name of black dragon coleus?
The scientific name of the black dragon coleus is Solenostemon Scutellarioides Coleus. It is sometimes referred to as black dragon flame nettle in plant references.
Where to buy the black dragon coleus plant?
The best place to buy black dragon coleus plants is rare or specialty plant nurseries. If you cannot get them locally, then you can buy from genuine online sellers in marketplaces like Etsy, Facebook, Amazon, etc. You can buy grown plants or seeds depending on your preference.
To back up the information we provide in our articles, the Plantials team only uses high-quality sources published in peer-reviewed university or scientific research journals.
- Landscape Performance of Sun Coleus in Southern Mississippi, American Society For Horticultural Science.
- Photosynthetic Efficiency, and Photodamage by UV and Visible Radiation, in Red versus Green Leaf Coleus Varieties, Oxford Academic Journal
- Disease Management Coleus Cultivars and Downy Mildew, American Floral Endowment.