Growing Coleus Plant Indoors

Botanical Name: Coleus blumei (aka Solenostemon scutellarioides)

Coleus plant, also known as Painted Nettle, is often grown outdoors as an annual because it is frost-tender. But it's easy to grow indoors if you can provide bright light.

Distinctive leaf shapes, intricate patterns, and rich colors rival some of the showiest foliage plants.


Boundless varieties of coleus are available. Foliage colors include red, maroon, brown, cream, yellow, orange and green in dramatic combinations and designs. Leaf edges may be scalloped or ruffled and have a contrasting color.

Pinch your plant. Coleus plants can get leggy. Pinch growing tips often to encourage them to branch out and stay bushy and full. Also pinch off flower spikes as soon as you notice them because they will detract from the beautiful foliage.

Keep it moist. Coleus leaves will wilt and may fall off if the soil is too dry. You'll have a much healthier-looking plant if you keep the soil moist at all times. Use a pot with drainage holes and water thoroughly.

Coleus Varieties

coleus plant, coleus plants, coleus blumei

Stunning new hybrids make choosing just one nearly impossible.

I replace my coleus plants when they get tall and leggy. This garden favorite is inexpensive. Besides, I like to try new varieties each year.

It's also easy to propagate -- just cut off a stem and stick it in a glass of water.

Coleus Plant Care Tips

coleus plant, coleus, coleus blumei

Origin: Southeast Asia

Height: Up to 2 ft (60 cm)

Light: Bright light. Some direct sun is ok, except intense summer sun which will scorch the leaves. Too little light dulls leaf colors and may cause leaves to drop.

Water: Keep soil evenly moist. Leaves will wilt if thirsty.

Humidity: Moderate humidity. Set pot on a tray of wet pebbles.

Temperature: Average room temperatures 65-75°F/18-24°C

Soil: Any good potting mix

Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks spring and summer with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half.

Propagation: Sow coleus seeds in spring. Take 3 in (7 cm) coleus stem tip cuttings in spring or summer. Stem tip cuttings root easily in water or moist soil.


Green Thumb Tip

Careful with that water!

Avoid getting the velvety leaves wet. Hard water will cause white spots and they won't come off.

Always use room-temperature water when watering houseplants.

Buying Tip

More than 200 varieties of coleus are available. They're easy to grow from seed.

coleus plant
coleus plant
coleus plant

Need a Container?

Check out the stylish self-watering pots available now. It's just the thing to keep your coleus from wilting this summer.