Coleus Plant


A Coleus plant (Solenostemon scutellarioides) is a fast- growing plant in the Lamiaceae (Mint) family. These extremely versatile plants are native to southeast Asia and all the way south to Australia. Coleus plants were very popular during the Victorian era but fell out of favor for a while because of the poor plant quality being sold. Today a Coleus plant is once again very popular both as an indoor and as an outdoor plant.

Coleus Description

The bold colors and patterns on the leaves can be a mixture of lavender, cream, pink, maroon, yellow, red, bronze, and various shades of green. The color patterns can be marbled, stripped, or dappled. The leaves range in size from 1 to 6 inches (2.5-15 cm) and are usually oval with serrated edges; though some like the Kiwi Fern Coleus have long, narrow frilly leaves.

Quick Care Tips for A Coleus

There are a few secrets to successfully growing  a coleus as an indoor plant.

bright lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light. is the key if you want dramatic, vibrant leaf color, but avoid afternoon sun or the bright colors in the leaves quickly fade.

Coleus plants like to be warm, so keep the temperature above 55°f (12.8°C).

This is a thin- leafed plant so it needs to be watered more often than a succulent plantLearn the definition of a succulent plant and why they are called a "fat plant." that stores water in its thick leaves; but be careful not to over water and cause root rot.

Aggressively prune if you want a coleus to stay full and bushy.

A coleus plant is easily propagated from the Stem CuttingsLearn how to propagate plants using stem cuttings, leaf cuttings, cane cuttings, and branch cuttings. left over from pruning

Coleus Plant Problems

Leggy stems – not enough light or stem tips need to be pinched more aggressively

Mushy, drooping stems when soil is damp – overwatering

Leaf Drop – Soil has gotten too dry


If you have a very bright area in your home that calls for a colorful plant, then a coleus is perfect. This inexpensive, fast growing plant can sit on a table or look beautiful in a hanging basket; and it is safe to have around small children, cats, dogs, and other pets.



How Do I Care for My Coleus Plant So It Won’t Be So Thin and Leggy?

There are several things you can do for your coleus plant if it is thin and leggy. Aggressively prune your plant; depending how bad the plant looks, you can even go as far down as the soil line. After pruning, move your coleus to a brighter location or place it under some florescent grow lights if you don’t have enough natural light.

Why Is My Coleus Plant Droopy When the Soil Is Wet?

A coleus plant droops when the soil is wet because the plant is over-watered and all or some of the roots have died. Take your coleus out of the pot and allow it to sit out over night bare rooted. Re-pot using new dry soil. Hopefully there are still a few roots left that will allow your Coleus plant to start growing again.

Why Do the Colors in the Leaves of My Coleus Look Faded. I Have It Hanging in a Huge South Facing Window and It Gets Plenty of Sun.

The colors in the leaves of your coleus are fading because the plant is getting too much direct sun light. Move your plant to an area that gets bright indirect or filtered light but no direct sun. The colors in the new leaves should be vibrant once again.

Can I Move My Coleus Outside for the Summer?

You can certainly move a coleus outside for the summer, just be careful that it’s not sitting in direct sunlight. Be sure to bring your coleus inside before temperatures go below 55°.

Should I Leave the Flowers on My Coleus or Cut Them Off?

I recommend cutting the flowers off of a coleus plant as soon as they appear. The flowers slow down the growth of the beautiful, colorful leaves.