Is Coleus a Good Houseplant?


Coleus is a gorgeous plant that is characterized by bold and colorful foliage. Coleus is native to Asia and Australia,  belongs to the mint family, and often is used for medical purposes.

The plant comes in various colors and pigmentations including green, pink, white, cream, yellow, purple, and maroon. They grow pretty fast and can form seeds around the age of one month.

Those green beauties are often planted outdoors and are treated similarly to the annuals, however, it does not mean that they can not be grown inside as a houseplant.

Yes, Coleus will make a very good houseplant and can be wonderful decor for your living room or office. However, if you want your plant to thrive indoors, you will eventually need to know its care requirements.

Coleus plants normally respond pretty fine with living in the pot. If you plan to have this gorgeous plant indoors, these care tips will be a great help and if done properly, your greenery will eventually thrive.

How To Care For Coleus That Is Indoors

Coleus is a plant that has a very hardy nature and is pretty tough. It comes in different shapes, sizes, hues, and colors, however, all of them have one thing in common and that is their hardiness.

The plant survives inside pots under weight conditions, including enough light and humidity. Some species grow like little shrubs and are unsuited for indoor situations.

Coleus is frequently cultivated as an annual and is then removed when it grows lanky. Although It can be grown year-round indoors using the growing instructions provided here.

Light Requirements

Although coleus plants prefer strong light, It is better to avoid the noon sun because it might burn the leaves. The ideal option is to place coleus on a windowsill or another area of your home that receives strong, filtered sunlight in the morning and direct sunlight in the afternoon.

There will need to be some balance because too much sun will fade the plant’s vivid leaves while not enough sun can result in muted colors.

During the winter, you might need to use artificial lights in addition to natural lighting. Observe the plant carefully. Try providing the plant with a bit of extra light if it is dropping the leaves.


The Coleus plant loves water and humidity. Keep the potting soil wet, but not soggy at all times during the spring and summer’s busy growing season.

The soil should not be excessively dry or damp for coleus plants to grow. Reduce watering a little in the winter when growth is slower. Before giving your plants a drink, wait for the potting soil’s top half-inch or so to totally dry up.

Avoid putting water on the velvety leaves because it can cause damage and fade beauty. Water stains from hard water are extremely impossible to remove. It is recommended to not use too cold or too hot water, The lukewarm water will do perfectly fine. 

Rainwater or distilled water is the best option you can give. However, if those are not possible to get, you can set the tap water out for a day and once it is free of chloride, give it to your coleus houseplant.

Soil Preferences

Coleus plants prefer soil that dries up rapidly and gives the roots adequate aeration. Due to these characteristics, one of the best options to use is an all-purpose commercial potting mix. Avoid products designed expressly for a certain plant kind, such as those for succulents or acid-loving plants.

Commercial potting soil is mainly made from coconut coir, pine bark, perlite, vermiculite, and peat moss.

Therefore, this kind of mix would work just fine with your coleus plant. However, before getting this soil, make sure that there is a very minimum (or no) amount of coconut coir and peat moss. Those ones hold too much water and therefore, can cause root rot.

Humidity Level And Temperature

Coleus enjoys being in areas with humidity values between average and high levels. The perfect option is from 50% to 75%. Coleus plant care indoors can be a little complicated because of the low air circulation and low humidity level. For your coleus plants to truly grow, you’ll need to create a pocket of moist air.

You can raise the humidity level indoors by clustering plants together or placing your plant in a tray with pebbles and water. Additionally, the humidifier will also do a great job. The signs that the plant lacks humidity are brown tips or crispy edges, those are symptoms that the air is too dry.

Actually, coleus plants prefer the same temperature range as people, tropical houseplants thrive indoors.

For the best result, avoid any rapid dips in temperature and maintain your plants in a room where the temperature is between 65°F / 18 °C and 75°F / 24 °C, they can also withstand temperatures as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit / 32 °C. In winter, Coleus can tolerates temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit / 10 °C.



During the growing season, if you want to provide your plant with additional nutrients, give them the fertilizer. Half the strength of water-soluble or liquid all-purpose fertilizer will do just fine.

You can give the food to the coleus plant once every 2 weeks. However, make sure to avoid the N:P:K that have equal ratios such as 10:10:10 fertilizer. Fertilizing the coleus plant is not recommended in the winter.


The coleus plant grows pretty fast and therefore, most likely it will outgrow from the container. When this happens, you can replant it in the larger one. If the container is too small, it will cause the roots to be bound together and slow down the plant development.

The best time for repotting is early spring. The new container must be 1 or 2 inches larger than the previous one. While repotting, you can tease the roots with the finger if they are tangled and loosen them up.

If you want to have a compact plant and not a grown one, then you can leave it in the first container, but make sure to change the soil every year.


Coleus HousePlant Care Tips

Coleus is often started from the seed and needs about months and a half to sprout and grow. It reaches maturity in 6 to 9 months.

Once you start growing the Coleus plant, there is no coming back. This plant will make you fall in love with it. However, there are some tips, which will help you to make them especially happy and pleased.

  • After the blooming starts, do not let it continue all the way. Remove the blooms, because it draws all the energy from the plant. The process of growing seeds will harm the plant and most likely cause its death.
  • If your plant gets a scraggly look, this means that it has aged and it is time to start a new plant.
  • In order to keep the bushy look of the plant, pinch the tips once in a while.
  • If the plant grows too long and leggy, you can remove up to one-third of the plant foliage.
  • Keep a regular watering schedule to make sure that the soil has moisture all the time. Never let the soil dry all the way and additionally, never let it get too soggy.

Bottom Line

So is Coleus a good houseplant? Coleus plant is mostly seen outdoors, in the garden, however, it can also be a very good indoor houseplant. Those gorgeous gifts of nature come in different shapes, colors, patterns, and foliage.

Therefore, having several of them together will create a very beautiful decor. With the simple care instructions provided above, you can grow the coleus varieties at home and make them thrive. 

Peride Beradze
Peride is an avid planter, Tour Manager and freelance writer. She is a plant collector who mainly focuses on succulents. She loves studying cultures, traveling and learning new languages.

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