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How to Grow Coleus

Annuals

Coleus are easy to grow. Gardeners grow them both outdoors, and as indoor houseplants. Originating in Africa and Indonesia, Coleus tolerates shade well, making them a great indoor houseplant. They do well in shade gardens, pots and containers, and growing in hanging baskets.

While Coleus plants produce flowers, most people grow them for their rich, colorful leaves. Leaf colors are enhanced if shaded from hot, afternoon sun.

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Plant Propagation:

Coleus can be grown from seeds. We recommend an indoor start in seed trays, or individual pots and containers. A heated germination mat is useful. Spread seeds thinly and cover lightly with soil. Then water lightly. The seedlings will germinate and grow rapidly, if the soil temperature is kept at 70 degrees or higher.

Coleus can also be propagated by taking cuttings. Take a stem or leaf from an existing plant, and root it in moist. soil.  Use young, growing shoots. You can root the cuttings in water, too. But, they can rot in water.

How to Grow Coleus Plants:

Coleus thrives in a range of sunlight conditions. They grow best in partial and indirect light. They also need a rich, soft soil that drains well. If planting in containers, make sure there or holes in the bottom of the container for drainage. Use plenty of peat moss so the soil will be loose and light.

Keep soil moist. Frequent watering is important to healthy growth.

For optimum growth and leaf color, apply regular applications of fertilizer. Use solid fertilizer in gardens once a month during the growing season. In containers, apply liquid fertilizer every two weeks or more.

Leaf drop is common when moving Coleus indoors into reduced light. Try to make the reduction lighting gradual. This helps the plant adjust to lower light levels. More on Plant Leaf Drop.

If planting in your flowerbed, space plants one foot apart.

Coleus are tender annuals. They will succumb to light frosts. Bring them inside in early fall, well before frost is predicted.

Insect and disease:

Insect and disease problems occur on occasion.

Treat early with insecticides,  repellents, or fungicide as needed..

More Information:

Leaf Drop - how to minimize

Heating Mats- for an overall healthy start for your seedlings.

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