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Coleus Plant Care: The Secret to Growing Beautiful, Bright Plants

coleus plant care

Are you looking for a plant that is both colorful and easy to care for? Look no further than the coleus plant!

This beautiful plant comes in a variety of colors and patterns, making it a perfect addition to any indoor or outdoor garden.

In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about coleus plant care, including when to plant, how to care for it, and how to troubleshoot any problems that may arise.

All About Coleus Plant

Coleus plants, also known as Plectranthus scutellarioides, are native to Southeast Asia and Australia. They are members of the mint family and are known for their colorful and patterned leaves.

Coleus plants come in a variety of colors and patterns, ranging from bright greens and yellows to deep reds and purples. These plants are easy to grow and care for, making them a popular choice among gardeners.

When To Plant Coleus

Coleus plants can be planted indoors or outdoors, depending on your climate. If you live in a warm climate, you can plant coleus outdoors year-round.

If you live in a cooler climate, it's best to plant coleus indoors during the winter months or as a houseplant year-round. The best time to plant coleus is in the spring or early summer, when the weather is warm and the soil is moist.

Coleus Plant Care

Light & Temperature

coleus plant care

Coleus plants are colorful plants that grow well in bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can be too intense for these plants, so it's best to place them in a spot that receives bright but filtered light. This could be a window with a sheer curtain or a location that receives bright, indirect light for several hours a day.

In terms of temperature, coleus plants prefer warm environments with temperatures ranging from 60-75°F (15-24°C). While they can tolerate cooler temperatures, they may become dormant if the temperature drops below 55°F (12°C).

It's important to keep them away from cold drafts or air conditioning vents, which can cause stress and leaf drop. Providing them with a consistent and warm temperature will promote healthy growth and vibrant foliage.

RELATED: Top 5 Best Grow Lights For Indoor Plants

Water & Humidity

coleus plant care

Coleus plants need a consistent supply of moisture to thrive but are susceptible to root rot if overwatered. To prevent this, allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering the plant thoroughly.

In terms of humidity, coleus plants prefer a moderate to high level of humidity. To increase the humidity around the plant, you can mist the leaves with water or place a tray of water near the plant.

However, be careful not to let the plant sit in standing water or become waterlogged, as this can also lead to root rot. Maintaining the proper balance of moisture and humidity will help your coleus plant grow healthy and vibrant.

RELATED: Top 10 Watering Cans to Keep Your Garden Thriving


coleus plant care

Coleus plants prefer soil that is well-draining and rich in organic matter. When planting coleus indoors, it is best to use a good quality potting mix.

If you plan to grow them outdoors, make sure that the soil is well-draining and has good aeration to prevent water from pooling and causing root rot. You can improve the quality of your garden soil by adding compost or other organic matter.

RELATED: Dirt Matters: A Guide to Choosing the Right Soil for Your Plants


coleus plant care

Coleus plants are considered moderate feeders, which means they benefit from regular fertilization. Fertilizing provides the necessary nutrients for the plant to grow and thrive. It is best to use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season, which is usually in spring and summer.

You can dilute the fertilizer to half the recommended strength and apply it every two weeks. It's important to avoid overfertilizing, as this can cause burnt leaves and root damage. You can reduce or stop fertilization during the winter months when the plant is dormant.

RELATED: 10 Organic Fertilizers for Optimal Plant Health


coleus plant care

Coleus plants can outgrow their container in a year or two and need repotting. When the plant becomes too big for its current pot, it may start to show signs like wilting or root-bound. Repotting is the process of transferring the plant to a larger container with fresh soil, providing more space for the plant to grow.

It is best to repot in the spring, just before the growing season begins, as the plant will start to actively grow again. Choose a pot that is slightly larger than the current one and fill it with a high-quality, well-draining potting mix. Make sure to gently loosen the plant's roots before transferring it to the new container to prevent root damage.


Coleus plants can be propagated through stem cuttings, which is a simple and effective way to create new plants. To do this, take a stem cutting that is 3-4 inches long and remove the bottom leaves, leaving only a few leaves at the top of the stem.

Dip the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone powder or liquid, which will help the cutting to develop roots more quickly. Then, plant the stem cutting in a pot filled with moist potting soil, making sure that the bottom of the stem is buried about an inch deep in the soil.

Place the pot in a warm, bright location, but avoid direct sunlight which can be too harsh. Keep the soil moist but not too wet, as the cutting can rot if the soil is too wet. Within a few weeks, the cutting should begin to grow new leaves, which is a sign that it has taken root. Once the cutting has established itself in the pot, it can be treated like any other coleus plant.


coleus plant care

Regular pruning is essential for maintaining the health and appearance of coleus plants. If the plant becomes too tall and leggy, or if it starts to produce a lot of new growth, you can pinch back the tips of the stems to encourage the plant to branch out and become bushier.

Additionally, it's important to remove any yellow or dead leaves as they can sap energy from the plant and attract pests.

If you want to maintain a particular size or shape, you can prune the plant accordingly. Use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to make clean cuts, and avoid cutting too much at once. By regularly pruning your coleus plant, you can keep it looking vibrant and healthy all year round.

RELATED: 10 Pruning Sheers that will Give your Garden a Professional Touch

Troubleshooting Coleus Problems

Growing Problems

If your coleus is not growing properly, there may be a few issues to address. First, make sure the plant is getting enough light.

If it's not, move it to a brighter location. Second, check the soil moisture level. Overwatering or underwatering can stunt growth or even kill the plant.

Third, make sure the plant is getting enough nutrients. If you haven't fertilized recently, it may be time to give your coleus plant a boost.


coleus plant care

Coleus plants are generally resistant to pests, but they can still attract a few unwanted visitors.

Common pests that may attack coleus plants include spider mites, whiteflies, and aphids.

You can treat these pests by spraying the plant with a solution of water and dish soap or by using a natural insecticide.


Coleus plants can also fall victim to diseases, including fungal infections and bacterial infections.

To prevent diseases, make sure the plant is not overcrowded and has good air circulation.

If your plant does get sick, remove any infected leaves and treat the plant with a fungicide or bactericide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is coleus toxic to dogs?

Coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides), also known as the Painted Nettle or Coleus Canina, contains essential oils that can be toxic to dogs if ingested in large quantities.

The plant can cause gastrointestinal upset, such as vomiting and diarrhea, in dogs. In severe cases, coleus ingestion can lead to more serious symptoms, including tremors, seizures, and even liver damage.

If you suspect that your dog has ingested coleus, you should contact your veterinarian right away. Your veterinarian may recommend inducing vomiting or administering activated charcoal to help reduce absorption of the toxins.

Treatment may also include supportive care such as intravenous fluids and medications to control seizures or other symptoms. It is always best to keep plants that are potentially toxic to dogs out of reach to prevent accidental ingestion.

What is the benefit of coleus?

Coleus, also known as Plectranthus scutellarioides, is a plant that has been traditionally used for various medicinal purposes. It contains a compound called forskolin, which is believed to have a variety of health benefits. Here are some potential benefits of coleus:

1. May aid in weight loss: Forskolin, found in coleus, may increase levels of cyclic AMP (cAMP) in the body, which can stimulate fat burning and aid in weight loss.