Coleus can grow well in pots or the ground, making them a versatile addition to an outdoor space. The colorful foliage of Coleus will brighten up a patio, porch, or balcony. When grown in a container, the plant can easily be moved to a spot in need of color or an area that provides more favorable conditions. Potted Coleus do not necessarily require special care, but they may need to be watered more often than plants grown in a garden bed.
Planting Coleus in Pots
Coleus can be grown in pots year-round. The plant will be at home in a sunny to a partially shady spot outdoors during the spring and summer. Coleus are not cold-hardy, so when winter rolls around, the container can be brought indoors, or plants in the ground can be transplanted into a container to winter-over inside.
The best material for the planters when it comes to growing Coleus is glazed ceramic or plastic. Coleus has high water requirements, and porous materials like terra-cotta will allow the soil to dry out more quickly. You can plant Coleus in terra-cotta or porous pots, but the plant may need to be watered more often.
The ideal planter will be a few inches larger than the root ball and have drainage holes. While Coleus like plenty of water, they do not like standing water, so drainage is necessary to prevent overwatering.
Best Soil For Coleus in Pots
The best potting soil for Coleus, when grown in a container, will be well-draining soil. Coleus prefers soil that is neutral to slightly acidic. Typically a pH of 6.0 to 7.0 is suitable. You can amend the soil to create the ideal pH or address the pH needs with fertilizer.
Caring For Coleus in Planters
Coleus requires similar care when in a container as when planted in the ground. The plant requires medium to bright indirect light and will need water when the top inch of the soil is dry. Coleus in planters tend to become leggy, which means the stems may feature sparse leaf growth. Increasing the amount of light the plant receives can prevent the Coleus from becoming leggy. The plant can be pruned to create a more lush and bushy look. Sections removed while pruning can be propagated.
Watering Coleus in Pots
Coleus in pots needs to be watered when the top inch of the soil is dry. Keep in mind that the plant will get rainwater when grown outdoors, but container plants dry out more quickly, so you should still make it a point to check the soil and water the plant when necessary.
Fertilizing Coleus in Pots
You can fertilize Coleus plants in containers using a 10-10-10 balanced fertilizer. Make sure to follow the instructions on the container when using fertilizer. Potted Coleus can be grown in soil that includes a slow-release fertilizer.
Winter Care For Coleus in Pots
Coleus is a perennial plant that can survive outdoors in zones 10 and 11. The plant may require extra protection when spending the winter outdoors if there is a chance the temperatures could turn cold. In most areas, Coleus can survive winter indoors when grown in a pot.
Can Coleus Be Grown Indoors
Potted Coleus should be placed in an area of your home that receives bright indirect sunlight and has medium to high humidity. Coleus may experience a dormancy period which is just a time for the plant to rest and recoup for the upcoming growing season. The plant can be brought back outside in the spring after the frost threat has passed.