How to Care for the Coleus Plant

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Color rarely fades on the coleus, which is another attribute that makes this beautiful plant so desirable.
Color rarely fades on the coleus, which is another attribute that makes this beautiful plant so desirable. (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Coleus is an annual or tender perennial with vibrant foliage that lasts until the first frost. Most varieties tolerate direct sun or shade, which makes coleus a good choice for the beginner or advanced gardener. New plants can be started from seed or transplanted, and they make beautiful houseplants. The different selections available make this plant a top pick.

Things You'll Need

  • Seed starting pots
  • Shovel or hand trowel
  • Liquid plant fertilizer

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If you're starting coleus from seed, you can grow transplants indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost date.

Plant seedlings in the spring. The soil must be warm for coleus to grow so don't plant too early because a late frost could kill your plant. Coleus can grow in fertile to poor soil as long as its moist and well-drained.

Depending on the variety, sun and shade are tolerated by this vibrant plant. Strong, indirect sunlight or filtered shade is best coleus.

The coleus plant needs plenty of watering to establish, but dislikes overly wet roots. Water only when the soil feels dry to a depth of 1 inch.

Apply a liquid fertilizer diluted to half-strength.

Pinch stems often to encourage branching and vigorous growth.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pinching stems often will encourage branching and removing flower buds ensures vigorous growth.
  • When planted in a planter or hanging basket, coleus makes an excellent full plant indoors or outdoors.
  • Color rarely fades on the coleus, which is another attribute of this beautiful plant.
  • Strong, indirect sunlight or filtered shade is best for these plants.
  • A late frost will kill coleus.

References

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