Coleus Plant Care

Tips for Successfully Growing Coleus

Coleus Garden Plants

A garden plant that I have grown to love over the years is coleus, coleus is so beautiful and just simply amazing. These garden beauties come in an array of colors that is so stunning, what makes these plants even more unique is the variegated leaves which means you can have a colorful garden all year long.

The burst of colors which these plants produce WOW I am telling you, you will be so happy that you made the investment with these garden beauties.  I have worked with coleus on several garden projects and have never been disappointed with the results.

Driving around the country the presence of coleus can be seen as they grace many gardens and landscape designs with their beauty these plants are truly a gardener’s choice. So if you are on the hunt for garden plants that can work wonders giving that much-needed flavor then look no further your search is over because you have found what you have been looking for. Come go with me as we take a closer look into the world of coleus.

Planting Location

Coleus grows their best in partial shade although some varieties perform well in the full sun.

Soil Type

The soil type for these garden beauties is well-drained soil.

Watering Methods

When watering your coleus give them a good soaking especially during summertime and allow the soil to dry out before giving them another drink of water.

Fertilizing Methods

The use of a balanced fertilizer such as triple ten or 10-10-10 will keep your coleus in tip-top shape. Be sure and read the manufacturer’s label before applying.

Garden insect pests of coleus

Garden pests can wreak havoc on garden plants but to keep them healthy and thriving keep and out for these pests.

  • Snail
  • Aphids
  • Spider Mites
  • Mealybugs
  • Fungus Gnats
  • Whiteflies

Aphids, spider mites, mealybugs, and whiteflies can be controlled with the help of insecticidal soap. Before applying insecticidal soap read and follow the manufactures label.

Fungus Gants are flies which are black and tiny they love moisture and can be found hovering over soils which are moist, to control fungus gnat create an environment where your coleus is getting proper air circulation, monitor the amount of water you are giving your plant and also applying a thin layer of gravel around the plant will prevent them from laying their eggs.

Snails present another problem by eating the plant parts, the use of snail baits or handpicking and dumping them into a bucket of soapy water will eliminate them.

Coleus plant diseases

Plant disease can really do a number on garden plants leaving them weak and far from healthy-looking and if the proper measure is not taken it is possible to lose that plant. Keep your coleus growing their best by keeping an eye out for these diseases.

  • Downy Mildew
  • Root Rot

Downy mildew is a fungus disease that spreads by airborne spores. Signs show up as leaf distortion accompanied by spots which can be found on the leaves also if the disease is allowed to persist leaf drop will follow.

This disease is encouraged by high humidity and overhead irrigation. The use of a fungicide along with watering your coleus from the ground or soil level will offer help. If the condition is served then remove your coleus and properly dispose of it.

Root Rot is caused by overwatering, a sure sign that your coleus may have contracted root rot is the yellowing and browning of the leaves. Monitor the amount of water you are giving your plant and cut back if you discover that you are giving your coleus too much water. Also, ensure that the soil is well-drained soil.

Ideas on where to install coleus

Here are just a few ideas on where to install coleus.

1. Coleus can be used as a border plant.

2. Can be planted throughout a garden plant bed.

3. Coleus can be installed along a garden walking pathway.

4. These garden beauties can be grouped and planted as a specimen plant.

5. Can be installed in containers and the containers can be placed on either side of your front door or on your porch or patio.

6. Install them alongside a fenced area.

7. Plant them alongside a wall.

Container grown coleus

Growing coleus in a container is a great way to care for these garden beauties, when installing them in containers use a container that has drain holes in order for the water to find a way of escape. The soil should be well-drained soil for water to drain.

Place the container in an area that gets partial to full sun, give your coleus a good drink then allow the soil to dry out somewhat before giving them another drink. Fertilize and keep an eye out for diseases and garden insect pests as stated earlier.

Pruning Methods

Coleus can get pretty leggy, I have seen many in this condition and to be honest with you it was not a pretty sight. To keep your coleus full and beautiful pinch the stems just above the node or bump where the two leaves meet the stem that has one axillary bud.

The flower spikes should also be pruned or pinch back to the leaf node, this will cause your coleus not to set seeds saving its energy for a fuller or fluffy plant. Also, remove plant parts that are overgrown and diseased.

The final word

Coleus is a great investment as stated earlier, the spice and the flavor they bring is so amazing these plants can bring that WOW to your garden and landscapes, what a great way to invite the spring and summer months it is clear these are the plants for you so go ahead and plant some these plants will give such a delightful treat.


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About the author

+ posts

Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.

7 thoughts on “Coleus Plant Care”

  1. Hi Norman,

    You will be my go-to plant expert. I’ve learned so much just by browsing your site. I recently bought a Chinese Elm Bonsai because of it’s resilience, trunk structure and beauty. I love it.

  2.  Your website just amazed me. These are the pieces of information I was looking for many days. Your explanations are very satisfying and you are definitely a pro in this.

    Happy to gain knowledge about coleus plant care like location, watering, soil, and more. I was always worried about the diseases that affect the plant. It is good to know that coleus has a tendency to produce revenue.

    I will definitely come back to your website to gain more knowledge.

    Also, your website is well designed and your points are very clear that no one can ask you about something is not clear. Excellent job and keep doing the good work.

    Thank you.

  3. Wow!  I thought the angel trumpets were beautiful!  I really like the Coleus, especially how it changes color.  You’ve have given some great ideas for my memory garden. A couple questions, though.  How tall does the Coleus get and how wide does it grow?  I have limited space so I want to see if i have enough room.  This is a great plant.

    Thanks, again!


    • Hello, Lynn so happy to see you and thanks for commenting. Coleus is a great choice and will do wonders for your garden these plants can grow anywhere from 1-3 ft with about the same in width hope this helps and wishing you the best of gardening success.

  4. That was a very good lesson on the coleus. I remember I used to love these plants as my dad would use them around his decks and patios. They are very pretty plants, and i recall seeing some plants that were in some of the disease states you were speaking of. 

    The yellow leaves, and the holes from where insects would eat them. I thought the insect bites gave the plants character because they would never really die from the bites. They’d just look like cigarette burns. I began a compost heap and I would love to start planting my garden. I will be using your site as a reference. 

    Thanks for  posting,


    • Hello Shannon so happy to meet you, coleus is truly amazing and are some of my favorite plants which can really brighten up a garden. Thanks so much for sharing and I am so happy that I could help. All the best to you and have a good day.


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