Bedding plants

Colorful nettle in the garden, tubs and rooms


Colored nettles are charming leafy ornamental plants in the garden, tubs and rooms. You can find out more about location and care here.

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It is not always the breathtaking flowering perennials that give our gardens a magical flair. It is often charming leaf colors and shapes that achieve an equally enticing expression. I am thinking directly of the common nettle (Solenostemon scutellarioides), which with its striking properties contributes to the staging of a lively and colorful plant spectacle in the home garden.

By the way, the colored nettle comes from the tropics of Asia. For our climatic conditions, the Solenostemon-Scutellarioides hybrids are not winter-proof in the field. However, the evergreen perennial as a container and houseplant has excellent opportunities for a perennial crop.


The colored nettle is known as a herbaceous leaf ornament. It belongs to the labiate family. The colored nettle flowers from June to October, but they appear rather inconspicuous. The attraction of this plant comes from its colored, wavy or slotted leaves. Depending on the type and variety, the leafy ornamental plant can reach a height of 30 to 80 centimeters.

Cultivate the colored nettle ...

    1. ... in the garden as an annual plant. If you cut cuttings in summer or autumn, you can multiply them in the pot for the next year.
    2. ... in a bucket for the terrace or balcony. After a cut in autumn, the tub plant can be wintered in a bright place in the room.
    3. ... as a houseplant. If you look after them lovingly, you will have a colorful room decoration at home for years.

    ➔ Tip: Young plants as well as colored nettle seeds are available from gardening shops and from the online plant shop.

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    Colored nettle - the right choice of location

    The location of the leaf ornamental plant is decisive for leaf coloring. Whether in a bed, in a bucket or as a houseplant, the colored nettle wants a bright location. Therefore, it is best to offer your colored nettle a sunny spot without the blazing midday sun. When choosing the location, also make sure that the shrubby plant is in a wind-protected location. This way you avoid a possible wind break of the growth-loving plant.

    Optimal soil for beds, pots and pots

    All three cultivars of the Solenostemon scutellarioides thrive in well-drained, humic, nutrient-rich and moist soil. It doesn't harm the leafy plant, even if the substrate is slightly acidic. The decorative plant does not like lean, calcareous soil at all.

    Pour with lime-free water

    If possible, use rainwater for watering. The plant does not tolerate limy tap water. In summer, water the Solenostemon scutellarioides daily, except on rainy days.

    If your colored nettle is in a sunny position in the room, i.e. at the window, the moisture in the substrate evaporates quickly. Therefore, you should keep the houseplant moist regularly - but avoid waterlogging. This also applies to the leafy ornamental plants in the tub on the terrace.

    Make sure there is sufficient humidity. So you can spray the pot and tub plants regularly with lime-free, not too cold water.

    Nutrients for the colored nettle

    • Colored nettles in the bed are already supplied with a slow-release fertilizer for flowers during planting.
    • Give the colorful jewelry in the bucket liquid green plant fertilizer once a week during the growing season.
    • As a houseplant on the windowsill, fertilize with a houseplant fertilizer every two weeks.

    Before hibernation, stop fertilizing your tub culture from the end of August and only start again in March. How often you supply your leafy ornamental plant with nutrients in the room during the rest phase can be found in the dosing instructions of the houseplant fertilizer.

    Solenostemon scutellarioides is cut tolerant

    With a plant cut you can keep the colorful nettle in good shape. Here are some tips:

    1. Trim the young plant so that it stays nice and bushy.
    2. You can safely remove old and bare shoots, the fast-growing rarity has soon returned to its lush shape.
    3. Remove the inconspicuous inflorescences. Otherwise, the plant will put all of its energy into developing the flower and seed heads and weakening the growth of the ornamental leaves.

    Hibernate container plants

    If you want to hibernate your decorative leaf ornamental plant in the tub, then you have to bring it into the house. After all, the tropical crop needs a minimum temperature of around 12 ° Celsius. Before doing this, cut back the colored nettle by about two thirds in autumn. Then put the bucket in a bright place in the room. Don't forget to water the plant every now and then. The root ball must not dry out. At the end of hibernation, with the beginning of budding, the plant gradually gets more moisture.

    Diseases and pests

    Maintenance errors affect the health of the colored nettle and cause pest infestation.

    Root rot due to waterlogging

    So waterlogging usually leads to root rot. If you notice that your house or tub plant is ailing, then check the plant substrate in the pot or tub. If it has an unpleasant smell, the root is attacked. Carefully remove the crop from the pot and clear the root ball from the soil. If it is only slightly infected, you can gently remove the diseased root parts and re-plant the Solenostemon scutellarioides in new soil. However, if a large part of the root is damaged, then dispose of the diseased plant in the household waste.

    Spider mites through dry air

    In places with dry air, spider mites like to settle on the leaves - mostly affects houseplants. Isolate the infected nettle from other indoor cultures. Then shower off your leafy plant and wrap it in a clear plastic bag. The humidity that develops in the spider mites dies after 14 days at the latest.

    The colored nettle completes the colorful spectacle in the garden. The plant is kept in the bed for one year, cultivated as a houseplant or in a tub, it develops into a perennial, evergreen plant. This tropical leaf plant, which originates from the tropics, favors a bright location. The plant is watered regularly and only with rain water. Container plants can hibernate indoors. These need a temperature of at least 12 ° Celsius.