When you need a splash of color in a container or a flower garden, perhaps the bright and bold color of coleus foliage can serve instead of a standard blooming plant. The leaves of the coleus plant range in color from pale greens with variegated contrasting colors in pinks and maroons and even yellows. Coleus plants can tolerate either sun or shade, although your plants will show more color if you plant them in the shade. Plant coleus seeds to start your own colorful display of coleus plants.
Fill the seed-starting tray to the top with potting soil. Mist the top of the soil lightly with water from the spray bottle to moisten it.
Scatter the coleus seeds lightly over the top of the soil. Because the seeds are very small, you don't have to space the seeds carefully. You will thin them later.
Sprinkle approximately 1/8 inch of potting soil over the seeds and stretch a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the tray to keep the seeds in a humid environment.
Place the tray in a location with temperatures between 65 F and 75 F where they will receive bright (but not direct) sunlight. Approximately 2 to 3 feet back from a southern or western exposure window would be an ideal location.
Peel back the plastic wrap each day and spray the soil with the spray bottle to keep the soil moist. Watch for the seeds to germinate within one to two weeks.
Remove the plastic wrap after the seeds sprout, and continue to keep the soil moist.
Thin the seedlings when they reach a height of 2 to 3 inches by pulling the weakest seedlings out of the soil and discarding them. Fill the peat pots with potting soil, and transfer the seedlings to the peat pots when they are 3 to 4 inches high.
Transfer the entire peat pot with the seedling to a permanent growing location when the seedlings are 5 to 6 inches tall. For outdoor planting, wait to place the coleus outside until after the final frost of the spring.