On Coleus in Hanging Baskets
There are well over 1,000
types of coleus on the market today, in an overwhelming selection of
colors, sizes, and shapes they make a great addition to any hanging
basket or planter.
They can be top planted into your basket to create a stately
centerpiece or as shown in the photo below if side planted into your
hanging basket or planter they will create balls of spectacular foliage.
Trailing and mounding coleus do well with the good dappled light
(they prefer to be out of direct sun for any more than 2-3 hours). They
need plenty of air circulation to help them stay healthy.
Too much shade is not good for your coleus basket either.
Shade will not encourage good color and the growth can become spindly
as the coleus reaches for more light. One good thing about hanging
baskets is that if they don't seem to be doing well they are easy to
Pinching and cutting the flower spikes off helps them keep their shape
and stops them from going to seed while making the plants more lush and
This new coleus from Burpee seeds brings bold drama to partially
shady corners of your garden.
The High-voltage contrast provides drama to the partially shady
corners of the garden. Velvety chocolate leaves are each perfectly
dotted along the rim with bright mint green, for a luminous look.
For more info
Choosing The Right Coleus for Your Hanging Basket or Planter
There are trailing and mounding verities of coleus.
Trailing varieties tend to have a nice weeping habit, where as the
mounding coleus are much more upright. Mounding coleus are found at most
garden centers and stores like Home Depot or Lowes. Trailing varieties
are less common so are best sourced from a specialist garden centre, or
over the internet as plants or seeds.
Try to hang your coleus basket where it is convenient to water one or
more times a day. A hot, breezy summer day, even if the basket is
hanging under the eaves of a building in a patio or conservatory, will
require you to water more frequently than a cloudy, rainy day.
Coleus are good indicator plants there leaves will droop when they
need water. Try to avoid this as having the plant run out of water
places it under stress and it will want to produce more flowers for
seed, than colorful leaves.
Planting Your Basket
Many of the prettier coleuss especially the trailing type ideal for
hanging baskets can only be ordered by seed.
Sow coleus seeds in well-drained soil and keep them moist until
sprouted we suggest putting them in a morning sun situation and
somewhere where you will see them on a daily basis. They need care right
now for if the soil dries out to much you will damage or even loose your
Once spouted, coleus leaves begin to show color in two to three
weeks. They grow into a bushy leaf plant with leaves in green, yellow,
maroon, and other colors. Coleus grows easily from cuttings. A cutting
stuck into a glass of water or damp lightweight potting soil will root
in 2 to 4 weeks. When new leaves show, it can be planted in a larger pot
or the garden see more on growing from seed below.
If your garden center has coleus for sale bedding plants then these
plants are ready for planting. In early spring if purchasing bedding
plants it pays to let them harden off for a few days prior to planting
into your hanging baskets or planters. Often they will have come
straight out of a greenhouse so need a few days to adjust to a cooler
range of temperatures.
Coleus grow best in warm climates with partial shade.
Their colorful leaves are great in the garden and in hanging baskets.
Grown in masses on their own they can make for a riot of color, or mixed
in with other plants they can be used to provide contrast, for example
to ferns and other dense green foliage.
Indoor Uses Conservatories, Patios or even as House Plants
Coleus grow well indoors as long as the plant has well-drained soil
and receives some sunlight. The smaller coleus plants are low
maintenance, requiring only occasional fertilizer, water and pruning.
Mounding Coleus are popular for in terrariums, snifter and other
glass container gardens so popular in the 1970s and now making a
Trailing coleus grow well in sunroom hanging baskets, in baskets in
conservatories or hanging in patios.
Upright coleus can be pruned and trained as a small tree shaped
ornamental which looks great in planters.
Feeding & Care
Coleus needs fertilizer high in nitrogen to produce thick, color-rich
Your hanging basket or planter should be left to dry out between
watering or the plants can become infected with fungus disease.
Root rot leads to death of the leaves and eventually the whole plant.
Coleus are vulnerable to some pests such as whiteflies, mites and
aphids. The aphids also spread fungus that looks like black soot. These
pests are controlled with organic and chemical insecticides.
Slugs and snails enjoy the shade of the coleus and will quickly
infest the plant unless controlled. New coleus hybrids are more disease
and insect resistant than traditional plants
How to Grow Coleus from Cuttings
Growing coleus from cuttings is easy (and free!).
Cuttings are also a great way to save coleus plants over the winter.
You can grow the plants as houseplants during the colder months and then
plant the big plants outdoors in spring. Taking cuttings of coleus is a
very simple propagation technique, even for beginning gardeners. Here's
how to do it!
Things You'll Need:
Sharp knife (like an Xacto) or a razor blade
Plastic planting tray
Chopsticks - optional
Four inch pots
Select a healthy, non-flowering stem that is about 4 inches long and
has at least three leaf nodes-the swollen spot where the leaf adjoins
the stem. Use a knife to remove the stem. Make the cut right below a
node. Remove any leaves from the bottom inch of the cutting.
Cuttings grow best in light, fluffy soil. To make a nice, lightweight
growing medium, mix together perlite and soilless potting mix in a 1:1
ratio. Pre-moisten this soil by adding water until the mix is damp, but
not soggy. Fill a plastic planting tray (they are available at
nurseries) with the mix, leaving at least a ½ inch of space between the
top of the soil and the rim of the tray.
In the tray, space the cuttings about 4 inches apart in two rows. To
plant, make a hole that is 1 inch deep. Pick up a single cutting by its
leaves and stick it into the hole, making sure that no leaves will be
buried in the soil. Gently press the potting medium around the stem.
Repeat this step until all cuttings are planted.
Place a label in the tray that includes the name(s) of each coleus
variety and the date the cuttings were planted. Place a disposable
bamboo chop stick in each corner of the pot and slide a plastic bag over
the sticks, tucking the edges of the bag under the tray. This helps keep
the humidity high around the cuttings and prevents them from wilting.
Place the tray in a bright south or west facing window. To speed up
rooting you can place the tray on a special seeding heat mat (these are
available at nurseries and online). The mat warms the soil from the
bottom. If you don't want to invest in a mat, no worries, the seedlings
will grow roots without it.
Check the moisture of the soil in the tray daily and make sure that
it stays evenly moist, but not soggy, which could cause the cuttings to
rot. Roots should develop within two to four weeks. To find out if your
cutting has rooted, give it a gentle tug. If you feel a bit of
resistance, roots have probably started to grow.
When your cuttings each have two new sets of leaves you can
transplant them into individual four-inch plastic pots. Fill the pots
with potting soil and water the soil in. Using a chopstick, make a hole
in the center of the pot. Pick up the cutting by its leaves and stick it
into the hole. Gently press the potting medium around the stem and then
water the cutting in. Keep the pots in a bright, sunny window. When the
cuttings have grown three new sets of leaves, you can transplant them
outside or into larger pots (as long as all threat of frost has passed).
Save Coleus Flower Seeds for Next Years Hanging Baskets
Things You'll Need:
Clean glass bowl
Full-sized sheet of newspaper
Clean, empty pepper shaker
Pencil or pen
Carefully cut the dried, brown flower spikes from the coleus and move
them carefully into the glass bowl, taking care to avoid shaking them or
breaking the delicate seed pods on the spikes.
Spread the newspaper sheet across a table or other flat surface.
Pick up a flower spike by the stem, and hold it upside down, over the
center of the newspaper. Starting at the base of the spike, strip the
seed pods from the stem using your thumb and forefinger. Repeat with all
Mash all the pods on the newspaper using your fingers, or squeeze the
pods until they break open. Make sure you work over the newspaper so
that it will catch all the tiny seeds.
Pick up each side of the newspaper, causing the dried pod husks, seeds
and all other material stripped from the coleus flower stems to slide
into the center fold of the newspaper page. Join the two edges and fold
them over at the top.
Pour all the coleus seeds, husks and other dried material from the
newspaper into the pepper shaker. The newspaper fold will serve as a
guide to direct the material into the shaker with minimal spilling.
Put the lid back on the pepper shaker.
Label the envelope using a pen or pencil.
Shake the seeds from the pepper shaker into the envelope. The shaker
head will sort out the seed pods and most of the dried material,
allowing only the seeds to shake into the envelope.
Seal the envelope and store it in a cool dry place.
Germinate Coleus Seeds for Your Hanging Baskets
Things You'll Need:
Seed starting tray
Clear plastic wrap, sheet of glass or plastic
Put seed-starter mix into a seed-starting tray until it is about three
quarters full. Pack down the soil in the tray until it is well-firmed.
If necessary add, or remove, soil from the tray to make sure the soil is
within 1/2 inch from the rim.
Set the seed-starting tray into an irrigation tray or similar
container. Pour water into the irrigation tray one inch at a time until
the growing medium in the seed-starting tray is well-saturated. Then
pour out the remainder of the water from the irrigation tray.
Sprinkle the Coleus seeds across the surface of the soil in the
seed-starting tray. Coleus seeds are tiny--you might want to use
tweezers to pick up the seeds. Try to space the Coleus seeds about 1/2
inch apart. Use the back of a spoon to push the seeds into the soil. Do
not place any soil over the seeds; Coleus seeds need light in order to
Place a sheet of glass, clear plastic or plastic wrap over the
seed-starting tray. If using plastic wrap, make sure it does not come in
contact with the growing medium.
Put the seed-starting tray into a warm and light-filled location. The
temperature needs to be about 70 degrees F. There should be at least 8
to 10 hours of light available, but do not place the tray where it will
receive direct sunlight.
Keep the soil in the seed-starting tray moist. Add water to the
watering tray when necessary.
Remove the plastic wrap, sheet of glass or plastic sheet from the
seed-starting tray once the Coleus plants emerge. Germination of Coleus
seeds can vary from 10 to 15 days.
Transplant your Coleus seedlings when they have a set of leaves. You can
put them into 4-inch pots or into planting cells.
For coleus seed
Upright and trailing