Coleus

A Gator coleus, by Dr. Dave Clark

Gator Glory coleus, developed by Dr. Dave Clark, UF/IFAS

Coleus is a beautiful landscape plant prized for its colorful foliage, which comes in shades of green, yellow, pink, red, and maroon.

Coleus varieties can range from one to several feet in height. They can be used in hanging baskets, containers on patios, or in landscape beds.

These heat-tolerant, durable annuals have very few disease and insect problems. Most will grow best in part shade, but there are many new varieties, some of them developed by the University of Florida, that thrive in full, hot sun.

Coleus plants do best in well-drained soils amended with lots of organic matter. Pinch the growing stems of young plants frequently to encourage dense foliage. Remove flowers as doing so appears to keep the plants from going to seed and declining.

Propagation: Coleus Cuttings

It’s easy and affordable to turn one coleus plant into many by taking stem cuttings. Start with a healthy, disease-free plant. Use a sharp, clean knife to cut off a four- to six-inch section of stem. Trim the stem a half-inch below the bottom-most leaves and remove those leaves. Then just put the stem in a glass of water or a sterile media like vermiculite.

Then, wait—within a few weeks, small roots will appear. Once your cuttings have a healthy amount of roots, transplant them to a loose, rich potting soil. This technique is a great way to overwinter coleus in colder parts of the state.

UF/IFAS Sites

UF/IFAS Publications