Coleus Plant Care
Coleus' needs when it comes to care are pretty minimal, making it a great introductory plant for novice gardeners or those who just don't have a lot of time on their hands to tend to their plants. Still, there are a few care tips you'll want to keep in mind to help your coleus plant thrive in a container. First thing's first: Make sure your pot is large enough to comfortably accommodate the mature size of the coleus. Choose something that the plant can "grow into"—coleus is fast-growing, and you don't want to have to be replanting it constantly when it outgrows its Conteiner. From there, maintain moist soil conditions consistently and keep the plant out of the sun.
Generally speaking, coleus is a full shade plant—while recent cultivars have made it more tolerant of sunlight, it still does not like direct, sustained sunlight and needs either shade orpartial shads in order to thrive. If you notice the colors of your coleus plant look washed-out and dull, that's a good indicator that it might be getting too much sun. Likewise, if your plant starts to lose leaves, it usually means that it's in a spot that's either too dark or too cold.
When it comes to growing coleus in containers indoors, a lack of light is usually not a problem. However, during cold winter months, coleus plants grown indoors may have trouble getting just enough light. To help, place your pots somewhere where they'll receive filtered sunlight through windows, or provide them with supplemental lighting.
One of the reasons that coleus plants grow so well in containers is because they prefer the loose texture of potting soil versus more dense ground soil. When potting, use a high-quality mix, and make sure that your pot has good drainage to help prevent root rot (soil that is too heavy or dense can also cause the roots to rot). Additionally, coleus plants thrive best in soil that is neutral to acidic, specifically with a pH level between 6 and 7.
Temperature and Humidity
As a tropical plant, coleus loves warm weather. It does not tolerate cold weather or cold soil well, so keep your plant indoors until temperatures reach at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If you notice the leaves of your coleus blackening, chances are it's beginning to die because of cold temperatures and you should take it inside. Indoors, keep your coleus plant in a warm room with ambient sunlight, away from any harsh breezes (like in front of an air conditioner). If your space tends to have dry air in the winter months, a humidifier can go a long way in keeping your tropic-loving coleus happy.
Like many plants with colorful foliage, coleus plants need regular feeding. To keep your coleus thriving, mix a slow-releas fertilizer into the potting soil when you are starting your plant's container. Then, feed it a diluted liquid fertilizer every week or two as it continues to grow. Because the plant needs frequent watering, any nutrients you provide it with are typically washed away quickly and it will need more frequent feeding than it would in a garden bed.