Plectranthus hadiensis var. tomentosus (Vicks Plant)
Plectranthus hadiensis var. tomentosus (Vicks Plant), also known as Plectranthus tomentosus or Plectranthus tomentosa, is a perennial, semi-succulent…
7 Tips on How to Grow Coleus in Your Garden This Summer
Oh Coleus, how I love you so. You are colorful, you are bold, you are one of the easiest plants to grow in the whole world. And because we live under so much shade, you are the perfect plant for us.
If you have some space to cover in your landscaping, coleus is the perfect plant for getting the job done.
If you aren’t too familiar with coleus, no worries. Take a look at 7 tips on how to grow coleus below, so this can quickly become your favorite gardening plant too.
How to Grow Coleus:
1. Choose seedlings over seeds.
This is one of my favorite tips on how to grow coleus. Because I live in the Midwest, I tend to prefer seedlings over seeds.
Our planting season isn’t very long, so planting from seedlings helps me see results quickly. For coleus, I advise that you too opt for seedlings over seeds so you can start designing your garden and landscaping quicker.
Should you have a longer growing season and want to try seeds, you can find a package of 800 Mixed Rainbow Coleus Seeds for less than $4 here.
2. Opt for shade.
Coleus love the shade and can handle partial to full shade quite nicely. It can be hard to find colorful plants that do well in the shade, but coleus is one of them.
Their bright purples, reds, and greens will look fantastic even in some of the darkest spots of your yard.
3. Choose the right soil.
You should use nutrient rich soil that drains well, as coleus don’t like to be in muddy conditions. Loosen your soil well before planting so that the coleus can stretch their roots and expand as needed beneath the soil.
A planting mix stirred into the soil (or organic matter or compost) can help enrich the soil as well.
4. Remember, they grow quickly.
Don’t be tempted to crowd your coleus as they grow and spread out quickly! Don’t crowd your coleus and instead plant them a good 6 inches apart.
This way they can fill out nicely and you don’t need to worry about them smothering each other.
Take care of your plants by preparing compost now. See how you can make a mini compost bin here.
5. Watch for the shoots.
Some varieties of coleus will produce tall shoots. You can leave these, or you can pinch them back which helps the plant bush out more and look more full.
6. A little food goes a long way.
A slow release liquid fertilizer will be well received by your coleus. Consider feeding your coleus when you plant them and about 3-4 weeks after planting.
The food can encourage growth and color. One of my favorite plant foods to use is this one by Jobes. It is a great value and works wonders.
7. Feel free to bring them indoors.
Coleus is an annual plant, so it will not survive the winter months. Instead, as the weather starts to cool dig the plants up and pot them.
They are perfect for growing indoors and a nice way to enjoy live plants during the cold winter months.
Want to start your coleus indoors? Here is a cool Aerogrow pod kit idea. You can find these pods and start growing indoors no matter what the season. Find your pods here.
Are you ready to give these 7 tips on how to grow coleus a try? This truly is one of my favorite summer time plants, and I think you will like it too.
You can literally plant it and just let it do its thing. It is one of the easiest, low maintenance plants there is.
Want more gardening tips? Check out some of these other helpful gardening posts below:
Hardy to Zone 10, but can be overwintered indoors in colder areas.
Varieties 6 inches to 3-1/2 feet tall and 1 to 3 feet wide.
Full sun to shade, depending on variety.
Coleus plants will bloom with racemes of tiny white or bluish flowers any time of the year. However, plants that have been propagated from cuttings won’t flower as often, if at all.
Color & characteristics:
Coleus plants have a wide range of color variation, from bright chartreuse to hot pink to near-black, and any number of combinations. Coleus leaves range from one to six-inches long, and also come in many different shapes and sizes. Coleus plants also have unique, square semi-succulent stems.
Coleus are non-toxic to humans, but the sap can cause minor skin irritation. The essential oils they contain are toxic to dogs, cats and other animals.Planting ColorBlaze® Dipt in Wine
Plectranthus Species, Cuban Oregano, Succulent Coleus, Vicks Plant
Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)
Where to Grow:
Can be grown as an annual
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Soil pH requirements:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
Allow seedheads to dry on plants remove and collect seeds
This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:
Altamonte Springs, Florida
On Oct 2, 2014, iahishade from Glenwood, IA wrote:
I LOVE this plant! Living in Iowa, it is a house plant that summers outside on my north-facing porch, where it gets lots of morning sun. I take small cuttings before the end of the season and stick them in water to root. They root easily if the cuttings are small. A rescue nursery near me didn't know the plant and had no luck with large, woody cuttings with flowers still on. She will try my method, then pot up the rooted cuttings to overwinter inside. I've had this plant about 5 years now and it always delights.
On Feb 10, 2011, madelinep from Fresno, CA wrote:
My plant didn't make it through the winter very gracefully, I have tried taking stem cuttings and getting them to root without much success. I was wondering if any one has any more detailed advice on how to propagate this plant.
On Sep 17, 2010, super_ape from Saint Paul, MN wrote:
there seems to be much confusion on the infernets about this plant. I bought the plant pictured as Cuban Oregano which in most places is said to be Plectranthus Amboinicus. Another plant that I bought as Puerto Rican Oregano which I think is the real Plectranthus Tomentosa. It has smaller leaves with no stems. Anyone able to clear this up?
On May 16, 2010, Snobear2 from Saco, ME wrote:
I recently purchased this plant from a nursery in Canada. I love it! I potted it up in a mix of potting soil, coir fiber and a tsp. of water crystals. It is growing like crazy. I was told by someone that it was a member of the mint family so I put it in a window box with my mints. It gets watered when they do.
I do thank you for the input on how to propagate it. I was wondering if I could take stem cuttings like the mints. I have it on a porch that gets 3-4 hours of direct sun and then 4-5 hours of bright, indirect light with the temp of 50-75F. I bring it in at night as we still get down into the 30-40's.
On Sep 25, 2008, kdaustin from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
Agree with below, though I grow them in a lightweight potting soil with no extra sand. Used to produce trays of these in the spring for a nursery, really popular novelty plant with general public. Makes an attractive specimen, but frankly, there are far prettier plectranthus. I water mine thoroughly, allow to get very dry, where the soil begins to crack away from the pot, in between. I fertilize mine pretty regulary with no discernable side effects.
On Sep 28, 2007, macybee from Deer Park, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:
Magical can be so many things, but to me, I was thinking fairy garden for Spring.
I love the idea of using succulents, especially because I have a pot of succulents that needed to be repotted. I also like the idea of the pop of color from the toadstools.
You can find more Succulent inspiration and DIYs in my Theme: Succulents board.
This is the Coleus Fairy Garden that I put together last year. It reached a point last year where I stopped cutting off the flowers, and just let it bloom, and I’m actually really surprised at just how long the plant has lasted! The stems started browning awhile back, and I thought the plant would die, but it still hung on. I let it stay in bloom and continued to enjoy the pretty little purple flowers and beautiful variegated leaves until this fairy garden challenge came around.
I left the cactus and succulent that were in the fountain statue, and cleared the rest. You may notice the gap in dirt and top edge of the pot – I filled that with Cactus, Palm and Citrus Soil – this is what succulents like. Succulents like to be soaked in water, but also fast draining soil because they don’t like to sit in the water.
I also cleared out the dirt that had filled this spot on the fountain, and I filled it with the same cactus dirt. My intention was to put the toadstools here, and I wanted a dirt that wouldn’t be so muddy, but dry quicker. We’ll see how it actually holds up.
Then, I grabbed my succulent pot. Poor thing has been needing to be repotted.
I don’t have a tutorial for putting the garden together, but I just trimmed the succulents, and replanted them in my big pot. I even planted the little petals that fell off in the process because they will take root, and grow.
I bought the Aloe plant on the right, and this Haworthia when I was picking up the cactus soil at Home Depot – they’re nice additions to my garden!
Peeking through, look at my sweet frog! He’s from my original Coleus Fairy Garden too. I found him at Dollar Tree last year, and he came with two hooks on the top so he could hang over the side of the pot, but those have fallen off so he’s just sitting in here.
I also planted a couple toadstool’s in the garden! Hehe. These are Faye’s Lightweight Toadstool worked in 100% cotton thread. My original idea for them was earrings, but I think they’re so perfect for this space! Need to add a couple more.
Keep in mind that when you are replanting succulents, they take about 2 weeks to take root so you need to water them carefully in the meantime – I use a spray bottle.
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