You are currently viewing Coleus Plant Care

Coleus Plant Care

Versatile Coleus

Coleus, with its kaleidoscope of foliage colors and patterns, is a popular choice for adding a touch of whimsy and vibrancy to any garden. These easy-to-care-for plants thrive in warm weather and are perfect for filling containers, borders, or adding a pop of color to shady areas.

Learn a little coleus plant care and you will be able to enjoy these colorful leafy flowers that do great in shade as well as in the sunny areas of your garden.

Coleus is a great all-around plant. I am sure you’ve seen it in your local nursery or garden section, the colorful, leafy, underused, lonely plant.

It comes in a myriad of colors. Although most people go for “just flowers”, you can’t beat Coleus for that eye catching “pop” in a garden.


It is relatively cheap, grows very quickly, and is extremely versatile. It’s a great filler plant as it can be easily pinched to produce very full area covering color.

If you would like to learn how to propagate coleus from cuttings CLICK HERE.

You can watch an easy to follow instructional video on how to propagate coleus from cuttings HERE.

Some will get two or three feet tall and can be a vibrant focal point, or an extreme contrast to your favorite specimen plant. They also do really great as a container plant . The uses are really endless.


Sunlight Requirements

As with any plant, you need to read the label about sunlight requirements. You will see with most plants, its all about location!

The majority of Coleus can take full sun, but in my experience, a little shade is a game changer. If your colors get washed out, it’s too much sun usually.

To get that deep color you saw in the nursery, move this guy to a shady spot or at least to a location that doesn’t get beaten by the harsh afternoon sun.


  • Sunlight: Coleus thrives in partial shade. Choose a spot that receives morning sun and afternoon shade for the best color display. Some newer varieties can tolerate full sun, but be sure to check the plant label for specific needs.

Think of it this way: Coleus loves a little sun to wake up in the morning, but prefers to relax in the shade during the hottest part of the day. This helps them maintain their vibrant colors.

  • Soil: Coleus prefers rich, loose, and well-draining soil. Amend your garden bed with compost or organic matter before planting. For containers, use a high-quality potting mix with good drainage.

Imagine: Coleus wants a comfortable bed that’s fluffy and doesn’t get soggy. Adding compost or organic matter helps create a healthy environment for their roots to thrive.



  • Timing: Wait until the danger of frost has passed and the soil temperature reaches at least 60°F (15.5°C) before planting coleus outdoors.

Be patient: Coleus are like little sunbathers, they don’t like the cold! Wait until the weather is warm and the soil is nice and toasty before planting them outside.

  • Spacing: Plant spacing depends on the variety. Generally, space plants 12-24 inches apart.

Think of the variety: Some coleus are like social butterflies and love to grow close together, while others prefer a bit more space. Check the plant label for specific recommendations.

Watering Coleus Plants

They like to be kept in moist soil and if they’re in full sun, usually need to be watered often, as their tender leaves lose moisture rather quickly.

If your soil drains well, you can water them every day during summer. During Spring and Fall, once established, they can go days without water.

In the South, they’ll last throughout the growing season; Spring to early frost .

Think of it like a sponge: Coleus like their soil to be damp but not soaked. Water them regularly, but let the top layer dry out before giving them another drink. Mulch helps keep the moisture in, like a cozy blanket for their roots.



  • Feed coleus every two weeks with a balanced fertilizer during the growing season. Avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to less vibrant foliage.

Give them a little boost: Coleus love a bit of fertilizer to help them grow strong and healthy. Think of it like giving them vitamins to keep their colors bright and beautiful. Just don’t go overboard, as too much can be bad for them.


If they’re in their happy spot, Coleus will get huge and and can easily take pruning regularly. Sometimes if they get too tall,  the limbs will get so big that they break under the weight, which will give you a great opportunity for cuttings. 

Pinch back the stem tips regularly to encourage bushier growth and prevent legginess. Remove any flower spikes that appear, as they can detract from the foliage display.

Think of it like a haircut: Pinching back the stem tips helps coleus grow full and bushy, like a beautiful, leafy head of hair. And don’t forget to remove the flower spikes, so they can focus all their energy on producing those stunning leaves.


  • There are countless varieties of coleus available, each with unique colors and patterns. Choose varieties that complement your existing plants and garden design.

Think of it like a paint palette: There are so many amazing coleus varieties to choose from, with colors and patterns that range from fiery red to cool green and everything in between. Pick the ones that you love and create a stunning color display in your garden.

  • Coleus is relatively pest- and disease-resistant, but watch out for common garden pests like aphids and whiteflies.

They’re pretty tough: Coleus don’t usually get bothered by too many pests or diseases. But keep an eye out for common garden visitors like aphids and whiteflies, and take care of them if needed.

  • For year-round enjoyment, bring your coleus indoors before the first frost and grow it as a houseplant.

Bring the color inside: If you live in a colder climate, you can still enjoy coleus all year round! Just bring them indoors before the first frost and grow them as houseplants. They’ll add a touch of vibrant color to your home.

With its easy care and vibrant foliage, coleus is a perfect addition to any garden. So, get creative and add a touch of color and personality with these versatile plants!

coleus, growing coleus

Leave a Reply