A tender perennial but they are usually considered an annual plant by growers and seed producers. Coleus plants should not be set into the landscape until the minimum outdoor temperature is 50 degrees.
Although Coleus plants will usually survive in full sun, the foliage color tends to intensify in light shade when they are grown outdoors.
Plant them twelve inches apart in rich, moist, well-drained soil.. Feed monthly with a liquid 10/10/10 fertilizer.
Pinch the center stems out when the plants are 4 to 6 inches tall to induce bushier growth, and be sure to pick off the flower spikes as they form. Coleus are easy to propagate by taking cuttings. When I pinch mine back I usually take the part I pinch off and plant in soil and keep it watered or moist and it will start a new plant.
Coleus have historically been considered a shade plant, and Coleus do grow well in dappled or partial shade, but no coleus will do well in deep shade. Coleus need a certain amount of light to maintain the proper level of pigment in the leaves. The deeper the shade, the more washed out the colors will be. Deep shade may also cause lanky, contorted growth as the plant stretches towards light, and damp soil may cause disease.
It is best not to place Coleus plants outside for the season until they have been hardened off and the average overnight low temperatures stay above 60 degrees. This might be a few weeks after your last average spring frost date.
NCSU Plant Fact Sheet
- Mealy Bugs/mealybugs look like tufts of white fuzz on the stems, leaves, and leaf axils. They are very slow moving and can be eliminated by a cotton swab dipped in alcohol or by an insecticide.
- White Fly/Another pest you might encounter is whitefly, which are very tiny and fly out from under the leaves, especially when the plant is disturbed. Whiteflies are attracted to the color yellow, and a yellow sticky-trap (available in garden centers) can sometimes be used to control them without pesticides.
- Slugs and Snails/Commercial slug bait or making your own slug traps using beer are both options. A circle of diatomaceous earth powder around your plants can make a deadly barrier for slugs to cross as it will puncture their skin and cause them to dehydrate. Copper barriers will also create an uncomfortable situation for slugs.
- Aphids/ treated by spraying them with water, wiping them off the coleus or spraying with an insecticide. Spider Mites can be identified by the tiny webs that form on the underside of leaves and the presence of poppy-seed sized
lady beetles, lacewings, and predatory wasps do a great job of policing insects on these plants for natural care. Insecticide sprays may include insecticidal soap, pyrethrum sprays, or all-purpose houseplant or ornamental sprays available at garden centers.
Season of Bloom
1-4 feet tall.
USDA Zones 2-11. as annuals.
pink, lavender, red, gold, green, many mixed colors.
well-drained, slightly alkaline and medium fertile soil.
Morning sun or dappled shade.
stem cuttings, propagation can be made from a leaf or tip cutting or start from seed.
Facts about growing Coleus
Growing Coleus from Seed