Coleus is known for its stunning, colorful foliage and ability to thrive in shady areas. It comes in endless varieties of bold colors, patterns, and textures, and ranges in shape from tall, mounding, or trailing. A group of coleus can create a beautiful display on its own or nicely complement flowering annuals.


Sun or shade, depending on the variety. Shade varieties do best in bright, indirect light or dappled shade, yet can tolerate a few hours of morning sun. Though shade varieties prefer shade, they can sometimes become leggy in deep shade. Sun varieties do well in either full sun or shade.


Use in containers, borders, or to fill in the garden bed. In containers, place according to growth habit; tall towards the back or middle, mounding as a filler, or trailing toward the edge of the container. Avoid placing in windy locations, as coleus is prone to breaking.


Prefers well-draining soil. Always use quality potting soil in containers, such as our custom soil mix. Our custom soil mix is the same soil we use to grow all of our plants, which we’ve designed to contain a blend of ingredients for optimal nutrient content, moisture retention, aeration, and beneficial microbes. Amend garden beds with compost, if necessary.


Maintain even moisture, allowing soil to dry a bit between waterings. Avoid keeping the soil too wet, which can cause the stem to rot and leaves to drop. Keep in mind that watering needs increase as the plant grows bigger and during periods of high temperature.


Fertilize regularly with a water-soluble fertilizer, such as Miracle-Gro Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food, according to the instructions.


Since the foliage of coleus is what makes it stand out, most gardeners remove the flowers so more energy goes into the foliage, though it’s not necessary. Coleus grows continuously and can become too tall or leggy, so regular pinching helps it bush out and maintain a more compact shape. Pinch just above a leaf or branch junction to the desired size and shape.


Coleus is a tender annual that doesn’t tolerate cold temperatures. Plant outside when danger of frost has passed and overnight lows are above 60 degrees F. It can be brought indoors for the winter, but requires bright light to avoid getting leggy.

Plant Finder

Click here to view some of the coleus varieties available at America’s Best Flowers.