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Plectranthus scutellarioides x Coleus plant: Caring for Coleus plant

The Coleus plant is a gorgeous flowering plant that got its popularity in the Victorian era when it was used as a bedding plant.

Plectranthus scutellarioides x Coleus

This ornamental beauty stands out through its unusual foliage which takes a wide variety of shapes and colors ranging from a bright red to a dark shade of purple. It produces a mix of blue and white flowers and is supported by narrow-looking square stems. 

Native to the Southeastern parts of Asia, it belongs to the Lamiaceae family and goes by many names including the flame nettle or painted nettle. 

Botanical NamePlectranthus scutellarioides or Coleus plant
Common NamesFlame Nettle, Painted Nettle
OriginSouthEast Asia
Plant TypeHerbaceous perennial plant (sometimes grown as an annual)
Full SizeRanges from 6 inches to 3 ½ feet tall and from 1 foot to 3 feet wide
Sun ExposureFull Shade to partial shade 
Soil TypeWell- draining, rich, well-aerated soil 
ToxicityCan be toxic to people and pets when ingested

Coleus Varieties

The Coleus genus is home to over 1500 different plant varieties, a few of the most popular varieties includes;

  • Coleus Black Dragon
  • Coleus  Fairway series
  • Coleus Wizard series
  • Coleus Premium Sun series
  • Coleus Kong series

How To Care For Coleus Plant

It is an easy task when taking care of Coleus plants. All you need to do is ensure you meet its basic light, temperature, soil, and water requirements to ensure proper plant growth. 

How To Care For Coleus Plant

Coleus Light Requirement

The light requirement of the coleus plants varies with each variety of the plant. Varieties like the Coleus Wizard series can be planted and grown under full sun exposure.

However, most Coleus varieties grow well under full shade and that is why they are regarded as shade plants

For the Coleus varieties that do require sunlight, prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can be harmful to the plant, so do ensure you regulate how much sun it takes in. 

A great practice would be to grow the plant in a room next to an eastwards facing window, where it can soak up the early morning sun rays. During midday, relocate the plant to a full shaded area or room. 

Coleus Water Requirement 

You should aim for soil that is always kept moist, not soggy. Achieve this by letting the soil of the potted plant dry a little before the next watering session. 

When growing coleus indoors, ensure you water it during the hot summer season twice a day. The same goes for Coleus care outdoors. 

Cut back on watering during the winter season as it does go into dormancy and ensure that the water used is of room temperature and dechlorinated so as not to stress the plant’s delicate roots. 

Coleus Soil Requirement 

Coleus Soil Requirement 
North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox

The soil type choice doesn’t matter when it comes to coleus plants, what matters is that the soil is rich, well-draining, and loose for the plant’s roots to breathe.\

It can be achieved through a proper mix of rich potting soil, mixed peat moss, mulch (don’t use cedar mulch as it is poisonous to the coleus plant), and some organic compost. 

Keep the soil pH value in the range of neutral to a little acidic with a value between 6.5 to 7.0. 

Coleus Temperature and Humidity Requirement

Coleus plants are tropical plants and as such require you to grow them in hot and humid environments. 

Use a humidifier to provide humidity to the Coleus plant when growing them indoors and keep them away from vents or Air Conditioners.

Temperature levels should be left from 60 degrees Fahrenheit to as high as 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit could spell trouble for the plant coleus. 

Coleus Fertilizer Requirement

Fertilizer should be used once a month if the soil used for planting coleus indoors is poor in nutrients. 

Use a slow-release fertilizer or a liquid fertilizer that has been diluted and ensure you don’t overdo it. 

Coleus Propagation  

Coleus Propagation  
Medicinal Plants

First off, avoid propagation during a cold season or environment. It is best done during the summer or spring season and it can be done through stem cuttings. 

Coleus Pruning requirement

Pruning should be done to keep the plant looking good and vibrant. With that being said, ensure that the tools being used for pruning are sterilized.


Coleus plants are regarded as toxic plants that could be harmful when ingested. Endeavor to keep all Coleus plants away from the reach of pets or children. And call a medical professional if you notice a child or pet has eaten from the Coleus plant. 

Common House Problems of the Coleus plant 

  • Rabbits
  • Groundhogs
  • Mealybugs
  • Aphids
  • Whiteflies
  • Slugs
  • Spider mites

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a coleus plant look like?

The Coleus plant features stunning leaves that vary in color and shape and are carried by slim square stems.

Do Coleus like sun or shade?

This depends on the coleus variety as some varieties are known to like direct sunlight.

Do coleus flower?

Yes, coleus plants are flowering plants that produce blue or white coleus blooms.

Are coleus perennials?

Coleus plants are known perennials that are oftentimes grown as annuals. 

How long does it take for a coleus plant to mature?

Coleus is a fast-growing plant that could achieve full maturity in a maximum of 4 weeks.