Here are some easy tips for how to grow Coleus plants.
Coleus grows well in moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Give Coleus a sheltered spot and lots of water during dry spells. If planting by seed, scatter on surface of soil; seeds sprout in 72- to 75-degree weather. If planting by stem cuttings, first put a cutting in a 4 in. pot. Allow 1-2 wks. for roots to grow. Then put these new plants in the ground 12-24 in. apart. If growing in a container, put 3 or 4 plants in a 10-12 in. pot (or a single plant in a 6-8 in. pot). Indoors, use a soil-based potting mix; put Coleus in bright to medium filtered light. Water freely. Fertilize about every 2 weeks during active growth. In winter, keep soil just moist; repot in spring.
Description: These hardy, fast-growing plants are grown not for their flowers, but for their leaves. Mound-shaped Coleus plants have leaves in almost every color, solid or variegated. These evergreen perennial plants are also grown as annual plants. Coleus grows 18-36 inches tall and 9-12 inches wide. Flowers in late summer.
Common Name: Coleus (KO-lee-us)
Origin: Asia, Africa
Propagation: By seed or stem cuttings
Sun Needs: Newer varieties do well in full sun; other types will have better color in shade.
USDA Zones: Hardy in 10-11
Diseases: Downy mildew (causes curled, twisted leaves); Thrips (make shiny, silver-colored leaves); Mealy bug; Scale; Whiteflies
Maintenance: Low. Coleus gets leggy as it ages; pinch off flowers to keep mound shape. If allowed to go to seed, the plants will start dying.
Fertilizer Needs: Time-release fertilizer (follow package directions). Soil additives (crystals that swell into a jelly-like shape) will hold water and help on very hot days; add these about 2 in. below the soil. Root-stimulating products that add mycorrhizae (healthy fungus) may help these annual plants. Your nurseryman can help you choose the best products for your Coleus plants.
Display: Hanging baskets, containers, flowerbeds
Wildlife Value: Attracts butterflies and bees