Home » gardening » plants » Propagate and Grow Coleus

Propagate and Grow Coleus

In my area (Zone 5a) Coleus is an annual, but it’s one of those awesome plants that keeps on giving all summer long. Not only can you bring it inside to propagate it, but also you can pot it up and bring it inside as an indoor houseplant. It’s also easy to propagate and grow Coleus from your mature coleus plants . Coleus is a beautiful tender perennial that ranges in colors from burgundy to pinks and yellows and whites. It also makes a great and fast filler for your landscaping in the ground or in a pot.

Coleus are a great plant to root in water


It’s also one of those amazing, forgiving plants that you can snap a piece off  for use a cutting  and it will grow roots easily in water. The trick to propagating your Coleus successfully is to take a large juicy part of the stems and pinch it off just above a joint (leaf node) where two leaflets are. I use my fingers, but you can also use scissors. The sap can cause skin irritation, so wear gloves if you have any question at all. I always wash my hands right away after handing it. Also, from what I understand the plant is toxic to pets, so use caution in your yard if you have pets.

Snap the stem of the coleus off just above leaflets

When taking a cutting , even though if you pinch the coleus plant off too high, it will still form those leaves underneath, you’ll just have some ugly stems sticking up.

oleus with small leaflets

By doing this, not only will you be able to make new plants over and over again, but it will stimulate your Coleus plant to grow huge and full! Depending on your coleus varieties (and there are so many of them with amazing foliage colors!), they may need shade or can even tolerate full sun.

Coleus in landscaping

TIP: when you see those $5 baskets of coleus with 10 plants in them, make sure to buy them and break them a part! You can use them to fill in all over your garden! In fact when coleus get too tall and leggy, they are on their way to setting seed. This is a great time to snap a good inch or two off and they will branch out and become denser and fuller.

You can see how our front walk looks here all filled out for Fall. I know some of you are lucky that they are either a year round plants or will come back, but our frigid winters take care of that, so they are one of my favorite annuals here.

Hosta and coleus for Fall landscaping

Also, giving it an aggressive pinching back will cause it to fill out beautifully, as you can see in the above picture.

Growing Coleus in Water

Did you know coleus cutting will readily root right in plant water, no rooting hormone needed! Simply  strip off the lower leaves and place your stem cuttings it in water in a jar or bottle in  room temperature water a bright window.

Propagate coleus in water all summer long for new plants

Once the Coleus roots start appearing, you can plop it in some well-watered soil and let it grow. When your propagate and grow Coleus, don’t let the roots get too long, or it won’t transplant well. Did you know Coleus is in the mint family (Lamiaceae)? That explains not only it’s square stem, but ability to root so easily!

Once coleus has roots you can transplant it to soil
Normally in the beginning of the season, I buy some really beautiful large varieties, put them in the ground and start propagating and planting. Normally, just before the first frost hits, I take cuttings to overwinter my Coleus.
You can propagate any variety of coleus in jars and water
 They root and  grow so well in water, I thought I would put them in the sunniest window in the house(which happens to be my downstairs bathroom), in some random jars and vintage milk bottles, and see what happens.
Coleus getting it's water roots on a window sill
I changed the water every week to keep it fresh. Not only do they flourish, but can snapped them off  at a nodes when they get too big and started new ones.I’s perfect because they  are then ready to transplant in the garden in the spring after the last frost date had passed. Who knew a salsa jar could look so good?
Coleus in vintage jars
 It was so nice to have something  so alive inside when everything else is so bleak and barren outside. These cuttings can also be transplanted into potting soil and kept as indoor plants. In the spring you can start the same process again and create cuttings to plant in your yard and put them in after the danger of frost has past.
 I think they look so pretty with their colors against the white and even their roots in the clear water look interesting.
When I change the water once a week I give the roots a quick rinse too.
Rooting coleus for transplanting
If you are reading this post at any other sites or blogs besides Jenniferrizzo.com, your rss feed,e-mail or in your reader this is stolen content.

*This was posted Via Jennifer Rizzo. com




  1. I love what you have done and I love Coleus. They remind me of my grandmother who grew it in her gardens. I, too, have it in mine now. Beautiful photos. Hugs, Deb=^..^=x5

  2. I am ready for spring! I am totally not a winter girl. I need warmth. And I can’t wait to see the flowers bloom. We planted some new daffodils and some bluebells this fall, and they’re going to be so pretty. 🙂
    Hope you have a great day!!

  3. Oh, that makes me happy. We had a lovely coleus plant on our kitchen table when I was little. It was as if I could watch the leaves grow while I ate my cereal. They grow so quickly!

    Your white beaded board makes me happy too!

    : )

    Julie M.

  4. I’m totally dreaming lately…and loving it!

    my sister gave me a live plant arrangement and it’s brightened the whole house with it’s greenery…

  5. How delightful, it is nice to have something green and growing in your home despite the outside temps. Thanks for sharing the inspiration.

  6. Hey Jen!
    This is just gorgeous with all the colors. Love that little chandy, too.
    I wanted to thank you for all my goodies from Heidi’s giveaway. So, I posted about it today. Appreciate all the extras. I’ve gotten so many compliments on my necklace. You are so very talented 🙂
    Becky C

  7. What a great idea! I love coleus. When we lived in CA our neighbor had a whole side yard full of them. Thanks for the idea. Now to find a coleus plant here in Colorado in winter….-:)

    1. Mine do fine, when it is time to go back in the ground, I actually do a new cutting and do fresh roots,when they are less than 1/4 inch long, they go right in the dirt.

Comments are closed.