Coleus plant, also known as Painted Nettle, is often grown outdoors as an annual because it is frost-tender. But it’s easy to grow indoors if you can provide bright light. Distinctive leaf shapes, intricate patterns, and rich colors rival some of the showiest foliage plants.
Coleus are one of the rare plants that are grown almost exclusively for colorful foliage. In this regard, they’re like crotons, but they’re smaller and perhaps somewhat easier to grow inside. Coleus are truly in their glory in masses—their leaves are available in green, purple, orange, red, yellow, and in a striking array of patterns. Coleus are also fun plants to propagate; new plants grown from seed will be new creations. Although I’ve given directions to grow them year-round, coleus are often grown as annuals and discarded once they become leggy.
Planting and care
Light: Bright light, avoiding direct midday sunlight. Too much sun will wash out the colors in their leaves.
Water: Keep soil continuously moist throughout the year, but reduce watering in winter. High humidity is preferred.
Temperature: Above 60ºF is preferred in the summer. In winter, above 50º is best.
Fertilizer: Feed in spring with slow-release pellets or weekly during growing season with liquid fertilizer.