Light - The Coleus plant grows in sun to partial shade and requires a fair amount of water. Give the dark-colored Coleus varieties light shade while the newer, brighter types do best with considerable sun.
Soil - The soil for all Coleus should be of rich to average fertility, humus rich, moist and well drained.
Starting From Seed - Place the seeds in a refrigerator for one or two days before planting them on the soil surface. Cold temperatures will assist in breaking their dormancy. They need light to germinate. The seed germinates in 10 to 14 days at 70 to 75 degrees. For details about starting seeds indoors and out, see Starting Plants From Seed and check out Seed Starting Equipment and Supplies in Yardener’s Tool Shed.
Planting Seedlings - Seedlings will be green at first, but leaf variegation will develop as the plants mature. When seedlings are about three pairs of leaves high, pinch off the tip so the plants will begin to branch out. Set plants outside after the weather has warmed; about 12 inches apart or 12” from other plants. High light intensity is needed for best leaf color. For planting tools see Hand Tools For Digging and Planting in Yardener’s Tool Shed.
Propagation - Coleus is easy to propagate from stem cuttings, and in doing so you can ensure that you have a group of plants with the same leaf markings, shapes or colors. The cuttings should be about three leaf pairs long. Make the cut just below a leaf pair, and then remove the two bottom leaves. Plant the cuttings in pots filled with a soil mix intended for starting seeds. Keep the soil moist but no soggy. The plants should develop roots within a couple of weeks. For information about propagation equipment go to the Plant Propagation Equipment section of Yardener’s Tool Shed.