Light-Colored Coleus (Plectranthus Scutellarioide) Plant Care Guides

Difficulty Level: Low Key
Low Key

What is the Light-Colored Coleus?

Common names for Coleus are painted nettle, poor man’s croton, and mayana. A petite houseplant that is technically an evergreen perennial, but primarily grown as an annual because of its frost sensitivity. They have a preference for warmer climates making this a great indoor houseplant! Coleus grows in a mound shape, typically reaching the height of two to three feet.

Coleus has an upright stem, tubular roots, with teardrop shaped variegated leaves. Leaves boast multiple colors such as green, cream, pink, yellow, even maroon. Leaves grow to three to six inches long. Petite pale purple or blue colored flowers bloom from spikes. Typically, this rad plant is collected for its quick growth, showy leaves as opposed to its blooms. If you want the beautiful foliage to hang around longer, cut off flower spikes in the late summer. Coleus can easily be propagated from seed or by cuttings and shared with friends!

Light CareLight Care

Coleus is a bright light loving plant that does best avoiding direct sunlight or its delicate leaves may burn. When finding placement for your plant, find a window, or garden spot that receives direct morning light, but shady indirect sunlight midday. Some direct sunlight is okay, except during hot summer sun which can cause leaves to burn. Tip to remember: too little sun can cause leaves to have low vibrancy and its leaves to drop, while too much sun will scorch or fade the leaves. During winter, it may be beneficial to use artificial light for your Coleus plant.

Water CareWater Care

The biggest care requirement for Coleus is its watering! As a thirsty plant, make sure it stays watered during warm weather spells as it is susceptible to drought conditions. Take care to not over water, Coleus doesn't like standing in soggy soil, consider a pot with drainage holes. These are some dramatic plants - quick to wilt but will stand back up within an hour of a deep soak. Many have even made timelapses of their plants popping back up! If planting outdoors, make sure to water your plant daily during heat waves. As an indoor plant during heat waves, water every two to three days. Decrease watering during colder winter months.

Food GuideFood Guide

Coleus is a quick growing plant that will benefit from fertilization, although it’s not a necessity. Your best choice is to add slow release pellet fertilizer while potting or planting to provide extra nutrients. During the growing season, add diluted liquid fertilizer once a week or every other week to help promote growth. Cut back on fertilizer during the colder winter months, this is the plant's dormant season. Fertilizers high in nitrogen and lower in phosphorus are a great choice, it promotes foliage and suppresses flowering.

Staff Holy Grail Tip:

To keep your Coleus looking sharp - make sure to prue! Removing dead leaves and flowers will help keep your plant healthy and happy. Seeing as Coleus is a quick grower, if it's beneficial to prune throughout the season. During the winter months, an indoor Coleus may be reaching for sunlight, causing it to become leggy. At this point, trim the leggy growth, it will help stimulate a fuller plant. If you notice flowering, pinch buds to prevent flowering or plant will go to seed and die.