Coleus is a genus of annual or perennial herbs or shrubs, sometimes succulent, sometimes with a fleshy or tuberous rootstock, found in the Old World tropics and subtropics. The relationship among the genera Coleus, Solenostemon and Plectranthus has been confused. Coleus and Solenostemon were sunk into Plectranthus, but recent phylogenetic analysis found Plectranthus to be paraphyletic with respect to other related genera in the subtribe Plectranthinae. The most recent taxonomic treatment of the genus resurrected Coleus, and 212 names were changed from combinations in Plectranthus, Pycnostachys and Anisochilus. Equilabium was segregated from Plectranthus, after phylogenetic studies supported its recognition as a phylogenetically distinct genus.
Coleus are cultivated as ornamental plants, particularly Coleus scutellarioides (syns. Coleus blumei, Plectranthus scutellarioides), which is popular as a garden plant for its brightly colored foliage. This plant prefers bright, but indirect sunlight. If direct sunlight touches the plant’s leaves, the colors become less brightly colored. Outside this plant needs total shade or only the most mild morning sunlight.