Multicolored Coleus Plants
coleus plants
(Image credit: kekko73)

The shade-loving coleus is a favorite among shade and container gardeners. With its bright leaves and tolerant nature, many gardeners wonder if coleus propagation can be done at home. The answer is, yes, and quite easily. Taking coleus cuttings or growing coleus from seed is quite easy. Keep reading to learn more about how to propagate coleus.

How to Plant Coleus Seed

Growing coleus from seed starts with getting the seeds. Coleus seeds are fairly easy to find and should be available at nearly any store that sells flower seeds. If you are unable to find them at a store, many companies sell them online. Coleus seeds are typically sold as mixed, which will give you a nice variety in the foliage colors. Start sowing coleus seed with a flat or container with a damp potting soil. Lightly sprinkle the coleus seeds over the soil. Mixing the seeds with fine sand before sowing can help you to spread the seeds more evenly with a bit more of a gap between the seeds. After you have spread the coleus seeds, cover them with a fine layer of potting soil. Cover the container with plastic and place in a warm spot in bright, indirect light. You should see seedlings in about two weeks. When you see the coleus seedlings, remove the plastic. Keep the soil moist as the seedlings grow. You will find it is less damaging to the coleus seedlings to water from below. Once the seedlings are large enough to be handled (typically when they have two sets of true leaves), they can be transplanted to individual containers.

How to Root Coleus Cuttings

Equally as easy as growing coleus from seed is taking coleus cuttings to root and grow. Start this method of coleus propagation by finding a mature coleus plant. Using a sharp. Clean pair of scissors or shears, cut off as many coleus cuttings as desired. The cuttings should be between 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm.). Make the cut for the cutting just below a leaf node. Next, remove all of the leaves from the lower half of the cutting. If desired, dip the cutting in rooting hormone. Prepare the soil you will be rooting the coleus cutting in by making sure that it is thoroughly moistened. Then stick a pencil into the soil. Place the coleus cutting into the hole made by the pencil. The soil should cover at least the bottom most leafless node. Push the soil back around the cutting. Place the rooting container in a plastic zip top bag or cover the entire container with plastic wrap. Make sure that the plastic is not touching the cutting. If needed, use toothpicks or sticks to keep the plastic off the cutting. Place the container in bright, but indirect light. The coleus cutting should root in two to three weeks. You will know it is rooted when you see new growth on the coleus cutting. Alternately, another method for how to root coleus cuttings is in water. After taking your cuttings, place them in a small glass of water and place this in bright indirect light. Change the water every other day. Once you see roots grow, you can transplant the coleus cuttings into soil.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.