4 Varieties + How To Plant & Care For Them

Different coleus varieties have different lighting needs. The original Old World plants tend to do best in the partial shade, Pangborn says, while the newer cultivars have been bred to tolerate more sun. “Check the tag to determine whether the coleus you are buying has a strong preference for shade or is adaptable to sun,” she recommends.

Once the last frost has passed and temperatures in your area are staying above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, you can plant your Coleus seedling or plant out in the garden. For full sun varieties, choose a spot that gets at least six hours of direct sun a day. Partial shade varieties can get away with three to six hours of direct sun daily. Place them in a spot that’s shielded from the wind if possible.

After a few weeks in the ground, take your gardening gloves and a pair of shears and pinch back your flowers to encourage fuller growth. (Here’s a guide to how that’s done.)

While they’re technically perennials, only those who live in USDA Hardiness Zones 11-13 (Hawaii and steamy regions in Southern California, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and Arizona) will be able to keep their coleus plants alive year after year. That’s because, once winter hits, most U.S. climates will be too cold for them.

You can either let your coleus die off once it gets cold or keep them as container plants and carry them inside to stay for the winter.

Indoors, aim to give them two to six hours of direct light daily and keep their surrounding temperatures around 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t place them near vents or drafty windows; remember, this plant hates the cold! Satch notes that a warm sun porch would be a good spot for it to ride out the winter.