This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
This is a most useful plant for the dinner-table, and has much to recommend it: first, it is very easy to cultivate where a stove or warm frame is at hand; secondly, it may be had at any time of the year by a little forethought in striking; and, thirdly, its beauty is improved by candle-light rather than otherwise. One way of growing this Coleus is to pinch it at every joint (or nearly so), but I have generally found it ready enough to break out into the pyramidal shape without any pinching whatever. This shape I consider looks best on the table, and the leaves are a much larger size than when pinching is resorted to. Where plants are required for the table at all times of the year, it is a good plan to strike a few cuttings very often, say every two months; they will strike standing about in the stove or in a dung-frame. As soon as they are rooted, pot off into small pots; and as soon as the pots are nearly full of roots, shift them to the size pot you use on the table - 4-inch pots are large enough; keep them near the glass, and never shade after they are rooted, or they will not be so dark in colour as when fully exposed to the sun.
Loam, leaf-mould, and dung in equal parts, with a sprinkling of silver-sand, is a good mixture for them; and when their work on the table is done, if shifted to larger pots they will soon make very large plants. I have tried about a dozen of newer varieties with the same result, but like the Verschaffeltii best.