Potted Coleus Care: Tips On Growing Coleus In A Pot

Pink-Green Potted Coleus Plant
(Image credit: Brittany Tande)

Coleus is a fantastic plant for adding color to your garden or house. A member of the mint family, it’s not known for its flowers, but for its beautiful and vibrantly colored leaves. On top of that, it’s extremely well suited to growing in containers. But how do you grow coleus in pots? Keep reading to learn about potted coleus care and how to grow coleus in containers.

Caring for Coleus in Containers

Growing coleus in a pot is an ideal way to keep it. It won’t grow larger than the container it’s in, but if moved to a bigger container, it will fill it out, reaching as high as 2 feet tall. Since they will stay compact if need be, coleus in pots pair well with other plants. You can plant them as shorter ground cover in large pots featuring a tree or tall shrub, or you can plant them as the main tall attraction surrounded by other trailing plants around the outside edge. They also work very well in hanging baskets, particularly the trailing varieties.

How to Grow Coleus in Pots

To keep your coleus in pots from getting gangly, pinch back the new growth. Simply pinch back the very ends of the stems with your fingers - this will encourage new shoots to branch out on the sides, making for an overall bushier plant. Plant your coleus in a sturdy container that won’t tip over if it does get to be 2 feet tall. Fill your container with well-draining soil and fertilize moderately. Be careful not to over fertilize, though, or your coleus in pots may lose their brilliant color. Water regularly, keeping the soil moist. Keep them out of the wind to avoid breakage. Coleus will not survive a frost, so either treat your plant as an annual or move it inside when temperatures begin to drop.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.