By Julie Christensen
Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides), with its beautiful, heart-shaped foliage, is the darling of the annual shade garden (though some varieties are adapted to full sun). If you’ve never grown coleus before, you’ll be surprised by the stunning variety of colors and foliage. Although coleus does produce flowers in late summer, it is grown chiefly for its foliage, which comes in brilliant shades of fuchsia, lime, pale yellow, dark green, purple and even black.
Coleus, also known as flame nettle or painted leaf, is a tropical plant, hardy only in U.S.D.A. plant hardiness zones 10 and 11. Elsewhere, it is used as a fast-growing annual. Plant it in the spring after the last frost and it quickly attains its mature height of 1 to 2 feet, depending on the variety. Some cultivars have a trailing habit, making them ideal for container culture.
Plant coleus in containers as an accent plant for other annuals or use it as a bedding plant in shady areas. Coleus is generally grown from nursery transplants, but you can also start it from seed — an economical choice if you want to fill a large area. Start seeds 6 to 8 weeks before the last expected frost. Sow the seeds in slightly moist, light potting mix, but do not cover them with soil because they need light to germinate. Cover the seed tray with plastic wrap and store it in a warm location. Seeds germinate within one to two weeks at 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Another option is to take soft cuttings in late summer before frost nips the plants. Cut a 6-inch piece from the youngest part of the plant. Remove the leaves from the bottom 3 inches and dip the bottom of the stem in rooting hormone. Place the cutting in a pot filled with sand or vermiculite and keep it warm and moist. New roots should form within a few weeks, and the plant can be planted in pots. Plant young plants outdoors only after the last expected frost, as they are very sensitive to cold temperatures.
Coleus Growing Tips
Coleus grows best in a light, well-draining soil. Plant it in sun or shade, depending on the variety. Immediately after planting, keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Coleus doesn’t tolerate wet feet. Once the plant becomes established and puts out new growth, cut back on the moisture. Water coleus only when the top 1 inch of soil is dry.
Fertilize coleus monthly during the growing season with a liquid fertilizer. Dilute it to half the amount recommended on the label. Pinch it back frequently to encourage compact, leafy growth and remove any blossoms. If flowers are allowed to remain, the plant dwindles and becomes straggly.
Coleus is fairly disease-resistant, but does suffer from root rot, which is evidenced by stunted growth and browned, muddy-looking leaves. Prevent this disease by planting coleus in well-draining soil and avoid overwatering it. Drip irrigation is preferable to overhead sprinklers. Aphids sometimes bother these plants, although the damage is rarely severe. Spray them with a steady stream of water or apply insecticidal soap or oil to both sides of the leaves. Make these applications on cloudy days, though, because sunlight can scorch the leaves.
For sunny locations, try ‘Alabama Sunset,’ an old favorite with southern gardeners. This plant is sterile and produces few blooms. It has pink to fuchsia leaves and grows 12 to 18 inches tall. ‘Burgundy Sun’ grows 2 feet tall and produces deep burgundy leaves. ‘Pineapple’ has brilliant lime green leaves with a burgundy edge. ‘Solar Eclipse’ has bright red leaves with black margins, while ‘Plum Parfait’ has serrated, ruffly leaves in deep purple.
In dappled to full shade, try ‘Dark Star,’ a black coleus, or ‘Fishnet Stockings,’ which has lime green leaves covered with purple veins. ‘Freckles’ has green leaves with red spots, while ‘Japanese Giant’ has large pink and violet leaves.
Part of the fun of growing coleus is experimenting with new colors and varieties. Coleus can be formal and traditional or downright playful, depending on the cultivar and planting technique. Try a few this season to enliven your containers or annual beds.
Common Questions and Answers About Coleus
by Erin Marissa Russell
Are blue coleus real?
The flowers on a coleus plant can be blue, in addition to purple or white. The foliage is available in shades of brown, green, orange, pink, purple, and yellow. Some of the coleus with purple foliage that tends toward indigo is referred to as blue coleus.
Are coleus plants invasive?
Though coleus is easy to propagate and is related to mint, it is not normally considered invasive. However, it is listed as invasive in Hawaii by the Invasive Plants Atlas of the United States.
Can coleus be grown in full sun?
Coleus is suitable for growing in areas ranging from full sun to medium shade. Planting coleus in full sun will result in the most vibrant colors in its foliage, though an excess of sunlight can cause foliage to fade. Some cultivars of coleus are developed especially to be grown in sunny areas, such as “Alabama Sunset,” “Amazon,” “Pineapple,” and “Solar Shadow.” Other varieties, such as “Black Magic,” “Fishnet Stockings,” or “Sunset,” are developed especially to thrive in the shade. As a general rule, the lighter the color of a coleus plant’s foliage, the more shade it should get (and, on the other hand, darker-colored coleus plants need more sun).
Can coleus be grown indoors as a houseplant?
Yes, coleus can be grown indoors as a houseplant as long as it gets bright sunlight. Avoid direct midday sunlight, however, to prevent fading the vibrancy of coleus’ foliage. Soil should be kept continuously moist, though watering should be reduced during the winter dormant season. In the summer, coleus should be kept at temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and in winter, it should be kept above about 50 degrees. Nourish coleus plants in spring with slow-release fertilizer pellets, or feed weekly with liquid fertilizer, during the growing season. In winter, give coleus a time release fertilizer at half strength. If you keep coleus for more than one growing season, you may choose either to prune it back after winter and refresh the soil but keep it in the same container, or you may upgrade the container by one size. Pinch back new growth regularly to encourage coleus to grow bushy and full. Snip off flowers if they appear to help the plant focus on its foliage.
Can coleus live in water?
Not only can coleus be propagated by placing a cutting in water, it can be grown in exclusively in water (without soil) for months at a time. Coleus growing in water should be placed on a sunny windowsill in a room that’s 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. A coleus plant growing in water will develop roots and may also bloom. If flowers do develop, pinch them off as coleus that put energy toward blossoming tend to see decline in foliage. If your tap water includes fluoride or chlorine, grow your coleus in bottled water. The water in the container should be replaced with a fresh supply on a regular basis.
Can coleus live year round?
Outdoors, coleus can live year-round in USDA hardiness zones 10 through 13, which have the mildest winters. Some gardeners have success growing coleus in sheltered outdoor locations in zone 9b when plants are protected from frost. In other zones, coleus can live year-round if it’s grown indoors as a houseplant. Coleus should be protected from temperatures lower than 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold damage starts to happen at 30 degrees, and coleus dies at 25 degrees. When coleus is protected from frost, plants can live for several years. It is also grown outdoors in zones chillier than 10 through 11 as a spring-through-fall annual.
Can coleus survive winter indoors?
Yes, in zones where weather gets too cold for coleus in the winter, it can be overwintered indoors. Coleus should be protected from frost and temperatures 30 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. At 30 degrees, cold damage can occur, and at 25 degrees, coleus will die. If your coleus is planted directly in the soil and you need to bring it inside so it can survive the winter, dig it up and place it in a container with a well-draining soil high in organic matter, with the soil already moist. Keep soil consistently moist, bearing in mind that coleus needs less water in the winter than it does the rest of the year. Find a spot for your coleus plant where it will get plenty of bright sunlight, though it’s best to avoid bright midday sun to prevent sunscald and the possibility of sun-faded foliage.
If your coleus plant flowers, cut it back to avoid the spindly, leggy growth that can follow a blooming period. Deadheading coleus like this also encourages fuller, bushier, more compact foliage. If your area won’t freeze over the winter and instead gets low temperatures of 45 or 50 degrees, you can overwinter coleus outdoors by using a covering to protect plants at night, removing the covering during the day to let plants get plenty of sunlight.
Can I grow coleus in water?
In addition to propagating coleus cuttings in water, the plant can be grown in water alone (without soil) for several months. Choose a location for coleus where it will get plenty of sun (like a sunny windowsill) and the temperature is 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid bright midday sunlight, however, as it can result in sunscald or cause foliage to fade. If your tap water contains chlorine or fluoride, you should use bottled water to grow your coleus plant. Replace the water your coleus is growing in on a regular basis, exchanging it for a fresh water supply. Coleus will develop roots when it grows in water as well as possibly blooming. If your coleus plant blossoms, pinch or cut off the flowers to avoid the leggy growth that can result from blooming and encourage fuller foliage.
Can you cut back coleus?
Yes, cutting back coleus helps the plant to grow fuller and stronger, creating a bushier shape. Most gardeners grow coleus for its vividly colored foliage, so if their coleus plants flower, they pinch or cut off the blooms to encourage the plant to focus its growth and development on foliage instead. Pinching back spent blooms also corrects the tendency for coleus to grow spindly and leggy after flowering. If you’re pinching back your coleus to remove flowers, remove them by pinching just below the flower bud. In other cases, cut or pinch wherever two stems or two leaves branch out from the main stem, and two new stems will sprout from the pinched spot.
Can you eat coleus leaves?
Some species of coleus have edible leaves and roots. These include the species Solenostemon rotundifolius and Coleus forskohlii. Solenostemon rotundifolius may also be called Coleus rotundifolius or Plectranthus rotundifolius, with a variety of common names, including Coleus potato, Hausa potato, Koorka, Madagascar potato, Patata de los Hausas, Ratala, or Sudan potato. These edible species can be difficult to track down, and gardeners should ensure they have an edible variety before ingesting coleus.
Solenostemon rotundifolius is most commonly grown for the edible roots, but the young stems and leaves are also edible. Coleus forskohlii’s foliage can be eaten as an herb, and the roots may be pickled or used in a powder or extract form as a dietary supplement. According to the New York Langone Medical Center, people should consult their doctor before eating coleus, as the forskolin contained in Coleus forskohlii has a broad range of effects.
Can you plant coleus in the ground?
Coleus can be planted in the ground and live successfully for years in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11. Choose a location with moist soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0 that drains well. (If you aren’t sure of your soil’s pH level, click here to read about how to test your soil’s pH. Choose a spot for coleus that is shaded to protect against the bright afternoon sun, as too much intense sunlight can burn its foliage with sunscald. Different varieties have different sunlight needs, with some preferring full or partial shade and others thriving in full sun. Temperatures under 50 degrees Fahrenheit are a threat to coleus plants, so once the thermometer dips to 50, coleus should be brought indoors or placed in a sheltered spot outdoors (like a shed). For this reason, if your area is likely to see temperatures of 50 or below, growing coleus in containers is recommended.
Do butterflies like coleus?
Yes, coleus plants are known to attract butterflies. Butterflies are primarily attracted to the blossoms of the coleus plant, which are small blue flowers in a spike formation that appear in late summer. Not only butterflies are enticed by the blooms of the coleus plant. Coleus flowers also appeal to hummingbirds, bees, and other garden pollinators.
Do hummingbirds like coleus?
Hummingbirds are attracted to coleus’ flowers when it is in bloom, and they’re also drawn to the pink and red hues of its foliage year-round. Coleus produces spikes of small blue flowers in late summer. In addition to hummingbirds, coleus blooms will attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators to your garden.
Do coleus plants come back every year?
Gardeners in frost-free areas can enjoy coleus year-round, and it will survive for several years in their outdoor gardens. Coleus is suitable for outdoor cultivation year-round in USDA hardiness zones 10 to 11. Gardeners in zone 9 can grow coleus outdoors, but should consider doing so in containers so the coleus plants can be brought indoors or taken to a sheltered outdoor spot (like a shed) if temperatures drop too low for them. Coleus plants do not tolerate temperatures under 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Do coleus plants have flowers?
Coleus plants blossom with spikes of miniature flowers in white or shades of blue. However, most gardeners cultivate coleus for its striking foliage instead of for the flowers. Coleus has a tendency to grow leggy and spindly after flowering, so many gardeners pinch off the flowerheads after the plant blossoms to direct its energy into developing foliage instead of blooms.
Does coleus die in winter?
Your climate will determine whether coleus you planted outdoors die during the winter. Coleus should be protected or brought indoors once temperatures drop to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold damage begins at 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and coleus dies at 25 degrees. Gardeners in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11 can cultivate coleus outdoors year-round. In colder zones, coleus should be grown in containers so gardeners can simply pick plants up and move them indoors or to a sheltered outdoor area once cold weather blows in.
If you want to overwinter the entire plant instead of only a cutting, you’ll want to prune your coleus before bringing it indoors. Use shears sterilized in a teaspoon of bleach diluted in two cups of warm water. Cut the foliage back by half before you dig your coleus up, if they’re planted in the soil instead of in a container. Plant the coleus you dig up in a container with drainage holes using a soil-free peat mixture.
As an alternative to moving coleus containers indoors for the winter, gardeners can overwinter their coleus plants by taking cuttings. Use clean, sharp gardening shears or a knife sterilized in a teaspoon of bleach mixed into two cups of water. You should take your cutting before the weather drops to 50 degrees at night. Cut below a leaf node (leaf nodes are the bumps new foliage sprouts from) at an angle. Dull tools, or tools not made for gardening, can damage stems by crushing them. Plant your cutting in a container filled with a sterile, well-draining potting mixture, such as a soil-free peat mix.
You may choose to overwinter coleus in a container filled with water (no soil). Coleus will stay alive in water without soil for months at a time. Use bottled water to fill the container if your tap water contains chlorine or fluoride. Clean the container and fill it with fresh water on a regular basis.
Keep the container on a sunny windowsill or other location where it will get plenty of sunlight and the temperature will stay between 70 and 75 degrees. Avoid locations that get direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day, as coleus is susceptible to sunscald and fading foliage if it gets too much intense sunlight. If you don’t have a location for your coleus cutting that gets appropriate sunlight, you can substitute either a grow light or a combination of incandescent and fluorescent lights.
Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Nourish coleus with a time-release fertilizer at half strength during the winter. Your plants are ready to move back outdoors when nighttime temperatures no longer fall to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Does coleus grow all year?
Coleus planted outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11 can survive the winter and live for several years. In other zones, coleus may either be grown in containers and brought indoors for the winter or grown indoors year-round as houseplants. Some gardeners grow coleus outdoors and overwinter cuttings of coleus to grow new plants from in the spring. Bring coleus inside when temperatures drop to 50 degrees Fahrenheit overnight. Cold damage begins at 30 degrees, and coleus will die at 25 degrees.
Does coleus grow in shade?
All coleus varieties need at least some shade to really flourish. The heat of the midday and intense afternoon sun can fade coleus foliage or cause sunscald. Dappled shade from midday to afternoon is helpful, and some varieties of coleus do well with even more shade. In general, the lighter the color of a coleus variety’s foliage, the more shade it prefers. Coleus cultivars that enjoy the shade include “Black Magic,” “Fishnet Stockings,” and “Sunset.”
Does coleus like sun or shade?
Different varieties of coleus have different preferences. As a general rule, coleus should be planted in a sunny spot that gets at least dappled shade in the hottest part of the day. While coleus does need plenty of sun, it can’t tolerate the most intense rays directly. Varieties that are lighter in color need more shade, while darker-colored varieties need more sun. “Black Magic,” “Fishnet Stockings,” and “Sunset” are shade-loving species of coleus, while “Alabama Sunset,” “Pineapple,” “Amazon, ” and “Solar Shadow” enjoy the sun.
Does coleus need a lot of water?
Coleus needs to be kept consistently moist, especially young plants. Soil should provide plenty of drainage and must not be allowed to get oversaturated and waterlogged or to become bone dry. Those in containers will require more frequent watering than those planted directly in the ground, as containers will not hold moisture quite as well as the soil does. During hot weather, expect to water your outdoor coleus one or two times each day, and anticipate watering indoor coleus every two or three days (unless your indoor air is very dry).
When you water coleus, water it deeply—for container plants, keep watering until moisture drips from the drainage holes. It’s time to water coleus again when the first inch of soil is wet. You can test moisture level by inserting a finger into the soil near your coleus plant. If earth clings to your skin, the soil is still damp, and you shouldn’t water just yet. Overwatering coleus can lead to problems like fungal disease or root rot.
How big do coleus plants get?
When they’re cared for well, coleus plants can grow up to 36 inches tall.
How do you fertilize coleus?
In winter, give coleus a time release fertilizer at half the strength directed in the instructions. During the growing season, you can opt for slow-release fertilizer pellets or a weekly application of liquid fertilizer.
How do you get seeds from coleus plants?
After flowers have faded and dropped their petals, seed pods should be plump, dry, brown, and ready to harvest. Use shears sterilized in a teaspoon of bleach diluted in two cups of water. Cut off the brown seed pods, and store them in a paper sack in a cool, dry location. Shake the sack daily to prevent seeds from sticking together. Let the seeds dry for at least two weeks , and check for dryness by using your fingernail to press a seed. Dry seeds will break or crack. Once seeds are dry, sort through them to remove leaves and other plant debris. Store them in a paper envelope labeled with the plant type and the date. Do not store seeds in plastic, such as a plastic bag, or they will rot.
How do you keep coleus plants over winter?
Coleus can stay outdoors all winter in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11. Gardeners in other zones can grow coleus in containers and bring it inside during cold weather, or they can grow coleus as a houseplant. Cuttings may also be taken from coleus and overwintered indoors to start new plants in the spring. Coleus plants should be brought inside once temperatures drop to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. They will begin to experience cold damage at 30 degrees Fahrenheit, and coleus will die when temperatures drop to 25 degrees.
How do you propagate coleus in water?
Using clean shears sterilized in a teaspoon of bleach and two cups of water, take cuttings four to six inches long by cutting just below a leaf node. Strip all the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting, and if desired, treat the bottom end with rooting hormone. Place cuttings in a container of water somewhere that they will get bright indirect light. Refresh the water in the container every other day. You will be able to see the roots once they grow. When roots have developed, you can plant the coleus cuttings in soil.
How do you prune coleus?
Cut with clean, sterilized shears, or pinch coleus back with your fingers, just above a node in the place where two leaves meet the stem. Pinch off or trim back flowers before they bloom to encourage the plant to focus on growing fuller foliage. Prune stems that have grown leggy or spindly. Also remove any damaged, dead, or discolored leaves as they appear. Water to keep coleus moist after pruning.
How do you transplant coleus?
In the spot where you will be moving coleus, dig to loosen the soil to a depth of eight to 10 inches. Add two to four inches of manure or compost. To dig up coleus from its existing spot, insert your spade into the soil four to six inches from the coleus plant. Tilt the spade back and forth to release the plant from the soil along with the clump of soil surrounding its roots. Dig a hole in the new planting location at least twice as wide as the coleus plant’s roots. Plant at the same depth as the coleus had in its old location to avoid smothering the plant and causing rot. Fill in soil around the plant and press the soil firmly to fill in the hole. Water right after planting to a depth of six inches, watering to keep the soil around coleus moist for the next seven to 10 days. After that, water whenever the top inch of soil becomes dry. Add one to two inches of mulch around the coleus plant to keep soil moist and cool.
How long do coleus take to grow?
Starting from seeds, coleus takes 10 to 20 days to germinate. Timelines will vary depending on the cultivar of coleus one is growing, but generally, they mature in about 50 days.
How long do coleus cuttings take to take root?
It takes coleus cuttings between two and three weeks to take root.
How long will a coleus live?
Coleus can life for several years when cared for properly and living in a zone that’s comfortable for them. However, the visual look of the plant changes after it matures. After a few years, even the most well maintained, scrupulously pruned coleus will begin to sprawl and look leggy. You may choose to propagate a new plant from a cutting if this happens to your coleus.
How much sun does a coleus need?
Some varieties of coleus enjoy more shade than others. Generally, choose a sunny spot for coleus that gets some protection from sun during the heat of the day, such as dappled shade. Lighter-colored varieties of coleus need more shade, and darker-colored varieties thrive in more sunshine.
How often do you water coleus plants?
Keep soil where coleus is growing moist but not wet or waterlogged. Coleus needs water when the top inch of soil has dried out. You can test the soil by sticking a finger into it, and if dirt clings to your skin, the soil is still moist. In the hottest seasons, coleus may need to be watered twice a day. Coleus grown indoors usually needs to be watered every two or three days, except when the air indoors is particularly dry.
How tall does coleus grow?
When cared for properly, coleus can grow up to 36 inches tall.
Is coleus a perennial or annual?
Coleus is a perennial in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11. In other zones, it must be brought indoors during the cold season to be grown as a perennial. Otherwise, it is grown as an annual.
Is coleus a shade plant?
All varieties of coleus enjoy some shade to protect them from the heat of the day. Varieties that are lighter in color prefer more shade than those that are darker in color. The cultivars “Black Magic,” “Fishnet Stockings,” and “Sunset” are especially shade-loving.
Is coleus a succulent?
Coleus is not a succulent. It is an evergreen perennial, though in many zones it is grown as an annual.
Is coleus in the mint family?
Yes, coleus is an ornamental plant that is a member of the mint family.
Is the coleus plant poisonous to cats or dogs?
The oils in coleus plants are toxic to cats and dogs. If ingested, they can cause diarrhea, vomiting, depression, or loss of appetite. If your pet has eaten coleus, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Hotline at 888-426-4435.
Is the coleus plant poisonous to humans?
Coleus is not poisonous to humans, but it is not edible, and consumption may cause a reaction in sensitive individuals.The sap of the coleus plant may cause minor skin irritation if skin comes into contact with it. If the coleus plant is consumed, this sap may irritate the tissue of the mouth or throat.
Should I pinch or cut off coleus flowers?
Because coleus is normally grown for its colorful foliage and not for its blooms, you can pinch or cut off the flowers to encourage the plant to focus growth on making fuller foliage. Use your fingers or clean shears sterilized in a teaspoon of bleach mixed into two cups of water. Make cuts just above a leaf node, in the place where two leaves meet the stem.
What kind of soil does coleus like?
Coleus needs a fertile, moist soil that offers plenty of drainage. Soil where coleus grows should have a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0 that drains well. (If you aren’t sure of your soil’s pH level, click here to read about how to test your soil’s pH. You can make soil richer by amending it with compost or manure to make it more fertile for coleus.
When can I plant coleus outside?
Plant coleus outdoors once the soil has warmed up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Coleus does not tolerate cold weather or cold soil well, and in fact, will grow its best when temperatures are above 70 degrees.
When can I transplant coleus?
Coleus can be transplanted either in spring or autumn. Whichever season you choose, make sure to do your transplanting on a cool day so that the plant doesn’t experience increased stress from the weather.
Why are my coleus leaves turning yellow?
To keep coleus producing leaves with bright, vibrant colors, make sure that the plant is receiving plenty of light. Coleus needs some direct sunlight during the day and as much indirect light as possible all of the time. Coleus also needs to be kept in a proper temperature, preferably 60 degrees F or higher. Keep it in a rich soil, ideally one rich in loam and sand with a bit of manure. If your coleus has been potted for a long time, introduce it to regular feeding with a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen to help keep the color of the leaves bright and strong.
Why are the leaves falling off my coleus plant?
Several different things can cause the leaves of the coleus plant to fall off suddenly. The main culprit is underwatering, but cool draughts and cold temperatures can also cause defoliation as well.
Why is my coleus losing color?
Too much exposure to direct sunlight will make the coleus fade in color. Older leaves have a tendency of fading in color as well. Pinch your coleus back to encourage healthy new leaf growth and to help your plant maintain a bright, vibrant color. Pinch the oldest leaves down, taking leaves from the backside of the plant. New leaves will sprout up in their place, and they should have the color intensity you covet.
Will coleus come back every year?
In mild-winter areas, such as USDA hardiness zones nine through 11, your coleus plant has a good chance of surviving the winter. In zones 10 through 11, it’s safe to leave coleus in the ground. If you are in zone 9, it’s safer to plant your coleus in a container and move it indoors during the winter. Outside of USDA zones nine through 11, your coleus will serve as a beautiful spring through fall annual. As a tropical plant, coleus can’t bear winter temperatures. It will blacken and die as soon as temperatures drop much below 50 degrees F. If you can’t bear to see it die, bring it inside for the winter and place it in a warm sunny location.
As an indoor plant, coleus will live for many years if placed near a bright window and kept away from drafts or intense heat sources. Water it regularly but don’t allow it to sit in soggy soil. Fertilize it with a liquid fertilizer added to your watering can throughout the spring and summer months at a rate of one tablespoon to one gallon of water. Keep you coleus pinched back to promote healthy, bush-like growth. It’s up to you whether you want to let your coleus flower or allow the plant to focus on its foliage. If you want to add more coleus specimens to your collection, propagation is super easy.
Learn More About Coleus:
Coleus from Clemson University Cooperative Extension
Coleus from Cornell University Home Gardening
Skip Richter with Agrilife.org talks about Coleus in his YouTube video.
When she’s not writing about gardening, food and canning, Julie Christensen enjoys spending time in her gardens, which include perennials, vegetables and fruit trees. She’s written hundreds of gardening articles for the Gardening Channel, Garden Guides and San Francisco Gate, as well as several e-books.