Annual Overview: Coleus



Coleus Stats at a Glance

Botanical Name: Coleus x hybridus

Height: 8-18 inches

Soil Conditions: Fertile, moist, well-drained soil

Sun: Partial to deep shade

Soil pH Conditions: 5.5-6.75


Best use: Coleus is the perfect choice to add color to the garden in areas of shade where other plants would not perform well. Gorgeous in containers and window boxes.

Starting Coleus from Seed

Start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks prior to planting. To start indoors, fill individual peat pots with a fertile commercial soil starter and moisten. Sprinkle the seeds on the surface of the soil, as they need light to germinate.   Place in a room with a constant temperature of 75-80°F.  Cover with clear plastic wrap to maintain the soil moisture and temperature.  Keep the soil moist.  When seedlings appear, remove the plastic wrap and move to a sunny location.


Days to Emergence: 7-14


You can start hardening off seedlings when temperatures reach above 65°F.  For the first few days place in a protected area for a few hours gradually increasing the length of time they are exposed to the elements.


Sowing seeds directly into the garden is usually unproductive.

When to Plant Coleus

Coleus will not tolerate frost so do not plant until all danger of frost has passed.

Where to Plant Coleus

Plant in partial to full shade in an area of the garden that consists of fertile, well-drained soil.

Some varieties will tolerate sun.

Coleus will tolerate full sun in areas that are humid as long as they are watered well.

Coleus Plant Spacing

Can be planted in mass 12-18 inches on center.

Coleus Care and Maintenance

Coleus requires moisture but are damaged by overwatering.

Pinch growing shoots to encourage compact growth and branching.

Coleus Diseases

The most common diseases associated with Coleus include leaf spot, and root and stem rot.

Coleus Pests

The most common pests associated with Coleus include aphids, mealybugs, scale, and whiteflies.

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